Jona Green was somewhat of an anomaly in the Honey Queen competition. She was neither a beekeeper nor a member of a beekeeping family. Instead, when there were no applicants to be the Pennsylvania Honey Queen, the woman who chaired the selection committee (a friend of hers) asked her if she wished to become the Pennsylvania Honey Queen. She said that the program sounded like fun so she agreed to give it a shot. This was 1995. She lived in Lancaster, PA and was studying public relations at an undergraduate institution.
To get started, Ms. Green took a few weekend-long beekeeping “short courses” and read a lot to gain the knowledge needed to be a good Honey Queen. She started traveling in Pennsylvania and met many beekeepers. They were all knowledgeable and helpful and were willing to help her learn.
In January of 1996, she headed to Portland to the National Honey Queen competition. Her friend, the chair, told her to just have fun. There had never been a National Honey Queen from Pennsylvania before. She was told that Pennsylvania wasn’t a big enough beekeeping state and that it didn’t have the right political connections to earn a National Honey Queen. She went ahead, despite these inklings and had a good time at the week-long conference. She exited the interview that was the culmination of the competition feeling great. At the end of the competition, she was crowned the new National Honey Queen.
Ms. Green proceeded to take a semester off of college to travel the country as the Honey Queen. She was able to get some college credit, labeling her experience as an “externship”, even though she ended up graduating a semester late. She ended up traveling to 26 states, even making it up to Alaska. She really enjoyed the opportunity to travel and meet people from all over the country. Even though she went from Alaska to Florida to Massachusetts to Texas, she really saw the connecting ties that we have as Americans and as people. With her efforts, she and her Honey Princess were able to raise $200,000 worth of advertisements with a budget of only $20,000.
Ms. Green’s time spent as a Honey Queen was very valuable to her. It helped teach her interpersonal skills and problem-solving. It even helped her get on to Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, a television game show. She made connections and learned to trust people . She was also given executive-level media training which helped her on her career path of public relations and higher education. She now works for a non-profit organization that deals with the rights of people at the ends of their lives. She is happy that she had the chance to be a Honey Queen and encourages all young people to get involved in representative programs, agriculturally based or otherwise!