Former Princess Program Manager Kati O’Brien Gives Her Take on 5 Commonly Asked Questions About Being a Princess

As you may have heard, 500 Festival Princess Program applications recently opened and the applications are already rolling in! It’s an exciting time for us at the 500 Festival, but there are a lot of questions regarding the Princess Program. Here are the five most frequently asked questions about being a 500 Festival Princess in 2018:

What does being a 500 Festival Princess mean?

500 Festival Princesses are ambassadors for the 500 Festival, their hometowns, their colleges or universities, and Indiana’s greatest tradition, the Indianapolis 500. In the months leading up to May, Princesses volunteer in their communities and give back through what we call outreaches. These outreaches can be anything from visiting elementary schools, serving food at a homeless shelter, spending time at Riley Children’s Hospital, leading Habitat for Humanity builds, visiting senior living communities to meeting with Girl Scout Troops. In May, Princesses attend and volunteer at all 500 Festival events.

But being a Princess is so much more than outreaches and being an ambassador. Serving as a Princess means you are ready to push the boundaries of your comfort zone and try new things. It means you prioritize making a difference and giving back to your community. It means you want to make lifelong friendships with 32 other like-minded young women from across the state, community leaders, 500 Festival board members, and staff. The 500 Festival Princesses are college-aged leaders who are ready to take the next steps in their civic engagement.

 

How are the Princesses selected?

500 Festival Princess selection is based on communication skills, commitment to service, leadership, scholarship, and professionalism. Applicants will meet an independent panel of interviewers in January. In February, 66 applicants will have a second-round interview. After the second round of interviews, 33 applicants will be selected to serve as 500 Festival Princesses.

 

What is the time commitment?

500 Festival Princesses are busy. They are full-time college students that are already heavily involved on campus and in their communities. Extracurricular involvement and commitment to service are part of the application and selection criteria. While most Princesses plan outreaches in their hometown and college towns, there is also a fair amount of travel to Indianapolis for events. Before applying for the Princess Program, I would suggest reviewing the 2018 Expectations and Duties and make sure to take note of the mandatory and encouraged event dates.

But this is one of the most rewarding parts of the program! You’ll look back on your Princess semester and think, “If I was able to juggle all of those commitments, I can do anything.”

As we head into spring, there will be hundreds of additional encouraged outreaches for Princesses to attend. You’ll be surprised how you will find time for rewarding things that you are passionate about. It’s just like anything in life; you get out what you put in. You only get to be a Princess once, so make it count!

 

What are the benefits of the Princess Program?

Each 500 Festival Princess will receive a $1,000 scholarship, made possible in part by the 500 Festival Foundation and Marlyne Sexton, an Indianapolis philanthropist and president of The Sexton Companies.

500 Festival Princesses will participate in the 500 Festival Leadership Development Program, presented by BKD, which empowers participants to make a profound impact within their community and the state of Indiana. Key components of the program include:

  • Discussions and learning opportunities, led by business and community leaders, on topics including: goal setting, office etiquette, personal branding, budgeting, professionalism, time management, leadership, and community engagement
  • Professional development events with 500 Festival Princess alumnae, members of the 500 Festival board of directors, community and business leaders

In addition to the scholarship and Leadership Development Program, serving as a 500 Festival Princess provides young women with once-in-a-lifetime experiences, lifelong connections and too many memories to count.

 

What is your advice to women applying for the program?

As cliché as this may sound, my best piece of advice is to be yourself. The 33 Princesses are from across the state. In 2017, 13 colleges and universities and 22 hometowns were represented. The Princesses all have different backgrounds, interests and majors, and there is no “one size fits all.” The Princess Program celebrates uniqueness, individuality, and encourages applicants to just be themselves.

If this answers your questions and you are interested in applying for the 2018 500 Festival Princess Program, complete the online application by Sunday, January 7, 2018.

Still have questions? Click the button below to learn more, or email Laura Bliss at LBliss@500Festival.com.

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