Emily Dyer represents Jobs Daughters on a world stage
By Jennifer Eisenbart
For 17-year-old Emily Dyer, a dream came true earlier this summer when she entered the Miss Wisconsin Job’s Daughter competition – and won.
So when she went to the Job’s Daughters Supreme Session in Baltimore in August for the Miss International Job’s Daughter pageant, she had no expectations.
“When I won Miss Wisconsin, I thought, ‘Wow, this is the best thing in the world,’” Emily explained.
Little did Emily know how big “the best thing in the world” would grow. Dyer was named Miss International Job’s Daughter at the Supreme Session – an international meeting of various Job’s Daughters groups, called Bethels – Aug. 9 in Maryland.
She will now spend a year promoting Job’s Daughters all over the country – and at various international destinations as well.
When Emily joined the Burlington Bethel at age 11, she pretty much had to be talked into the experience.
“Back then, I wasn’t the ideal child,” she explained. “I was the typical 11-year-old saying, ‘I don’t want to do that, I don’t want to do that.’”
However, Emily’s mother, Anne Perry, would not let her daughter out of what she considered a wonderful opportunity so easily, and Emily finally agreed to give it a try.
Job’s Daughters is for girls ages 10-20, and operates through the Masonic Lodge. Emily is a fourth-generation Job’s Daughter, with the legacy started with her great-grandmother and continued down to her.
However, while her great-grandmother’s Bethel in Milwaukee was large – hundreds of young women – the group in Burlington, at least when Emily started, had less than 10 members.
“When Emily started, it was one of the smallest in the state,” said Anne Perry. “Now it’s the largest.
“And they’re very, very active.”
Through Job’s Daughters – which operates more or less independently of the Masonic Lodge, though with adult advisors – Emily has completed numerous community service projects. Job’s Daughters run their own meetings, plan their own events and generally get a chance to operate as adults.
Through Job’s Daughters, Emily has worked on Adopt-A-Highway, through The Transitional Living Center adopting families for Christmas and Thanksgiving, and recently planned a raffle so they could donate money to TLC.
While people sometimes see the Masonic Lodge – and Job’s Daughters – as something of a secretive organization, it really isn’t.
According to International Job’s Daughters website, “Job’s Daughters help those who may not be able to help themselves. Through charity and service projects, we give back to the community.”
Early this year, Emily decided she wanted to compete for Miss Wisconsin’s Job’s Daughter. She has served as Honorary Queen – the highest job within her Bethel – and wanted to promote the mission of Job’s Daughters.
However, she went into the state pageant – which isn’t a beauty pageant, but involves a certain degree of pageantry – with low expectations, especially considering there were many girls returning who had more experience.
Once she was named the state winner, though, Emily was committed to compete for the International Job’s Daughter title. The winner is a liaison between the adults of the Masonic Lodge and the youngsters within the organization.
The Miss International Job’s Daughter pageant is held during the group’s Supreme session, which is an international session of the Bethels who can attend it.
The pageant choses one woman to be a liaison between the adults and youngsters within the organization.
“It’s not a beauty pageant,” Emily said. “A lot goes on behind the scenes before the pageant.”
There is a written test to gauge a candidate’s knowledge on the organization and its history, and there is a private interview with a panel of five judges.
There is also memorized recitation of one of the five parts of the initiation process for Job’s Daughters – which tells the story of Job from the Bible.
“You don’t know which Messengers’ part it is until you walk in the room,” Emily explained.
On pageant night, candidates are judged on stage presence – which Emily says “makes sure you are graceful in front of an audience.”
This year, there were 28 contestants, narrowed to a field of 10 finalists. Those 10 answered a final question in front of the audience, this year about 400 people.
Emily was asked, “If you could spend a day with anyone you admire, who would it be?”
“My great-grandmother,” said Emily, who noted the woman was a high-ranking member of the Milwaukee Bethel. “I would talk to her and find out how Job’s Daughters influenced her life, and tell her how Job’s Daughters influenced my life.”
After the final question, four runner-ups were named, including a first runner-up from British Columbia and a second runner-up from Philippines.
Emily thought, “OK, I’m done, it was fun being here.” But she also added, “I was praying, please let me get it!”
Her mother, Anne? “We were thinking it was her.”
The announcer gave out the contestant number first. Since Emily’s was the only one remaining with the number the announcer said, it was clear.
“I couldn’t see anything. I was just bawling,” said Emily.
A year of travel
Now comes the challenge for Emily, and her family, too.
She will be at Burlington High School for the first four days of classes this week, but then will begin travel as Miss International Job’s Daughter.
She will home-school most of her senior year, though she will be at the school for gym classes – all four or five days of the month she is home.
In the meantime, she will be all over the United States and Canada – plus the Philippines, Australia and Brazil.
“I’m supposed to promote the organization,” said Emily, who added that she wants increase visibility for the service organization and those involved.
A senior at Burlington High School, she is looking at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, UW-Green Bay and UW-Eau Claire for college, possibly for international studies, Spanish or teaching.
About the only scary part of the title for Emily and her family will be the expenses. Donations are accepted to help defray the costs of traveling, but have to be sent to Miss International Job’s Daughters in Nebraska, specifically earmarked for the travel fund.
If interested in contributing, donations can be sent to: Job’s Daughters International, Miss International Travel Fund, 233 West 6th Street, Papillion, NE, 68046.
For anyone interested in joining Job’s Daughters, contact Kay Beix at email@example.com or (262) 534-6227.