The Cherry Blossom Princess Program
The Cherry Blossom Princess Program - "Aspiring Leadership and Empowering Young Women" is a weeklong opportunity for young women from across the U.S. and around the world to come together and network. Since 1948, state and territorial societies, as well as the international embassy community, have selected accomplished young women between the ages of 19 and 24 for their academic achievement, exceptional poise and appearance, excellent interpersonal communication skills, leadership, interest in social, civic, community and world affairs with a strong desire to serve others through community service, maturity and responsibility, and to:
• Represent the National Conference of State Societies and Cherry Blossom Princess Program by actively supporting these organizations’ mission, values, and goals.
• Serve by attending and actively participating in NCSS and Princess Program community outreach initiatives as well as by serving at required events and social functions.
• Learn by taking advantage of opportunities for broadening personal development, volunteerism, and community involvement.
• Have fun and make new friends through festival volunteerism – one of the most rewarding and enjoyable aspects of participation in the National Cherry Blossom Princess program.
These young women representatives are called “Cherry Blossom Princesses.” Today more than 3,000 young women have participated in the NCSS Cherry Blossom Princess Program - "Aspiring Leadership and Empowering Young Women" since 1948, including daughters of presidents, congressmen and senators. The princess program continues to inspire women of accomplishment. The Pi Alpha Kappa Cherry Blossom Princess Sorority includes Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Shannon Vinson, a Captain in the USAF.
The mission of the program is to have the Cherry Blossom Princesses participate in educational, leadership, and cultural activities as they serve their nation and respective state, territory or embassy in a “Washington Classroom,” by introducing the princesses to many government, cultural, military, business leaders, and female role models, who work in the nation’s capitol. In the past decade, the princesses have met with First Lady Laura Bush; former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi; Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson; Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton; Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; Naval Commander Yvette Brownwhaller; Brig. Gen. Wilma Vaught; Red Cross President and CEO Dr. Bernadine Healey, among others.
The United States Cherry Blossom Queen is chosen by a random spin of a wheel of fortune by the Japan Ambassador in Washington, D.C at the Official Cherry Blossom Grand Ball. The following morning, the newly crowned U.S. Cherry Blossom Queen and her Japan counterpart, along with the State, Territory, and International Princesses are invited to participate in the National Cherry Blossom Parade® and the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival.
Every year since 1948, the United States Cherry Blossom Queen has been selected at the Official Cherry Blossom Grand Ball and Cooronation of the United States Cherry Blossom Queen from among the Cherry Blossom Princesses representing the states and territories. Every year since 1973, the NCSS-sponsored U.S. Cherry Blossom Queen has been officially invited, by the Japan Cherry Blossom Association (JCBA) to visit Japan in May. 2013 celebrated the 65th Anniversary of The Cherry Blossom Princess Program - "Aspiring Leadership and Empowering Young Women".
In 2014, Rainey Sewell of Oklahoma was selected as the 2014 United States Cherry Blossom Queen. Ms. Sewell will visit with the Japan Prime Minister, the Speaker of the House, Members of the Diet, cabinet officials, and several governors when she visits Japan in May. Rainey currently works in the office of Congressman Frank Lucas on Capitol Hill and is a recent graduate from the University of Oklahoma where she majored in Communications and minored in Spanish. Ms. Sewell looks forward to representing the United States this coming year, always remembering the people, community, and state that make her who she is.