South Surrey woman vying for international title
For the scoop on Job's Daughters – from what it's about to where it originated to pretty much any other query you can think of – 20-year-old Melissa Seselja is the one to ask.
"It goes back as far as Mozart," Seselja noted of the organization during an interview at her South Surrey home.
And next month, as a result of winning the title of Miss BC Job's Daughters this past spring, she'll be giving those answers and more to some pretty important people in Baltimore, Md., hoping to become the next to wear the organization's international crown.
The trick to winning, Seselja believes, will be to simply play things straight.
"I want to go there and be myself," she said. "I'm confident with myself and if I try to be someone I'm not… I'll falter with my presence."
This confidence is a characteristic that her mom, Jane, credits Seselja's involvement with Job's Daughters. The Masonic-sponsored youth development organization teaches leadership, teamwork, respect and democracy – among other things – and her daughter ran with it from the get-go, she said.
"(She) just grew up positive, strong, able to speak, stand on her own," Jane said. "Confidence is oozing out of her now. A lot of things she'll do I think, I would never do that. She has no problem standing in front of a crowd."
Bethel Guardian Peggy Dowling described Seselja's B.C. win as "a really big deal," and agrees that involvement with the organization has helped Seselja "become just an amazing young person."
Seselja joined Job's Daughters when she was 11, after learning about it while playing ringette.
Eligible to join through her family ties to a Master Mason, her participation in its activities over the years ran the gamut – from learning how to budget and lead meetings, to playing sports and fundraising for the Hearing Impaired Kid's Endowment (HIKE) Fund.
Seselja said one aspect she has always enjoyed is the focus on equality.
"No one stands out. Everyone's equal in their white robes. You can't look around and say, 'she's richer than me.'"
The variety Seselja experienced was much like that in her life outside of the local JD bethel: through high school, Seselja was active playing multiple instruments, and an enthusiastic rugby player; she's currently got more than four years work as a cashier under her belt; and has her sights set on a career as DJ.
"It's just who I am. I like a little bit of everything in my life," she said.
She began studying last June for the B.C. competition, putting "a lot" on hold – including rugby – to focus on the goal.
As Miss BC, she is honing her knowledge for the international competition, while carrying out her duties as the province's Job's Daughters representative. She has already visited several JD bethels, and is intently fundraising for her Baltimore trip by selling coffee, tea, pins and other items.
To contribute to Seselja's fundraising efforts, or for more information on Job's Daughters, email firstname.lastname@example.org