Monday, September 29, 2008


Pictured above are the current officers of New Jersey Senior America Cameo Club. In the center is: Delores Puzio, President. To her left is Cathy Clark, Secretary, and on the right is Lyn Gibson, Vice President. In the second row is Doris Criscione, Treasurer.

Since the New Jersey Senior America Cameo Club was founded by Dr. Al Mott, it remains today the first and oldest club in Senior America, Inc. Consequently its mission, purpose and goals are the same.
The NJSA Cameo Club boasts to having the oldest member, who, at age 94, still gives a stellar performance every time she appears in the Cameo Showcases.

The NJSA Cameo Club is designed to be a continuing contact between the pageant and former contestants, and State and national queens, and helps by assisting the State Pageant Director as much as possible. Its members give emotional and financial support to their State queen during the year of her reign.

Recently, one of our most valued and beloved members wrote a poem, that was published in the New Jersey Senior America 2008 Pageant booklet. Norma McGhie, Ms. New Jersey Senior America 1995, sums up most poignantly the purpose of NJSA Cameo Club and its national affiliates:

The Cameo Club

Kindness, love, respect and caring
Is what the Cameo Club is all about.
We're a sisterhood that believes in sharing
Our talent, our ideas, our wisdom, our clout.

To support Senior America in every way
To support each other in everything we do.
To cope with problems that may come our way
In doing so, goals will be achieved and dreams come true.

To have a positive attitude in our sisterhood
Spreading good will, motivating and doing good.
We're at an age when certain things are important to us
A fond embrace, a kind word, a sincere feeling of trust.

To be elegant in more ways than one.
To work together to get the job done.
To be what Sr. America wants us to be
And live up to their philosophy.

To improve our image and that of others too
To be involved and have purpose in what we do.
These are the principles that we must heed
Loyalty, integrity, and serving others is our creed.

Well said. Thank you Norma!

Saturday, September 27, 2008


"The Age of Elegance"
Pictured above is the Senior America Cameo Club logo. The story of how it came to be is as follows: in his youth, Al Mott's singing teacher had a display of cameos in her studio. Years later, he remembered how elegant they looked. So, he chose the cameo for the logo, and then coined the phrase, "The Age of Elegance" to describe women 60 years and older.

Dr. Al Mott believed that women who participated in the State and National Senior America Pageants should have the opportunity to continue to display their God given talents, and, at the same time volunteer their talents for the betterment of society. So, in 1972, along with the first Pageant, he established the Senior America National Cameo Club.

Today, there are State Cameo Clubs wherever there are State pageants, and mature women showcase their performing talents, in nursing homes, adult and assisted living communities, veterans and childrens hospitals, and other community and charitable organizations. These smiling "Ambassadors of Love" don their crowns and banners, and give stellar performances wherever they go, thus enriching the lives of their recipients, and improving their quality of life as well.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


The dictionary defines a "visionary" as a person with unusual powers of foresight. It is easy to see how Dr. Al Mott falls into this category. During the 1960's Al saw how bleakly older Americans, were percieved by the media as being fragile, non productive and a burden upon society. He set out to change that image, and in 1971, created Senior America, Inc., to promote instead, the positive aspects of aging.

Dr. Mott's goal for the first Senior America Pageant in 1972, was to create a public awareness of the continuing social contributions of senior Americans, and by 1983, his idea spread to States from coast to coast.

Each year since then, women across the country, who have reached the "Age of Elegance", compete first in their State for the title, and then go on to nationals to see who will be Ms. Senior America. Dr. Mott calls the Pageant a "rite" of passage, in which women can achieve their individual dreams and aspirations. Over the years, he has witnessed how the Pageant has changed the lives of many people, and how America's seniors have moved ahead to become our greatest national treasure.

Dr. Al Mott joins the ranks of other visionaries who have broken still another "glass ceiling", which has resulted in closing the gap between generations, AARP, Elder Advocate, Silver Foxes, to name a few.

His quest continues.... Dr. Mott has gone global, by creating Senior International. He has reached out to countries worldwide, encouraging them to honor their senior women by having Pageants. Ms Senior America would then compete for the title of Ms Senior International.

To learn more about Dr. Al Mott, please visit:

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Johanne with husband Adeo

Johanne as Ms New Jersey Senior America 2006

The popular English composer Elton John wrote a song called "The Circle of Life". The meaning of the song suggests that life is like a circle, whose continuity is preserved and replenished by the outgoing constantly preparing the way for the incoming. Thus the continuity of the Ms New Jersey Senior America Pageant has been preserved, with the appointment of Johanne Santori. This is Johanne's first year as Ms New Jersey Senior America State Pageant Director, who succeeds Louise Ferla, who after 13 years, had decided to retire.

Johanne, who is no stranger to the pageant industry, served as hostess for the Miss America Pageant for many years. During that time, she met several industry professionals, whose friendship she maintains to the present day. It was these ladies who guided her in the planning of the 2008 Ms New Jersey Senior America Pageant that was held on June 25th.

As well as being Ms New Jersey Senior America 2006, Johanne has been vice president and treasurer of the Atlantic City Women's Chamber of Commerce, member of the Metropolitan Business and Citizen's Association of Atlantic City, the Atlantic City Hotel Lodging Association, and on the committee for Atlantic City's 150th Birthday Celebration.

She devotes much of her time to her family, but still has time to play tennis, golf, down hill and cross country skiing, and she has won tournaments and awards in all.

Johanne was born, raised and educated in the Province of Quebec, Canada, and is a graduate of the University of Montreal with degrees in teaching Home Economics and Music. A talented singer, she performed major roles with a regional theater group, and also gave organ and piano recitals. As member of the Ms New Jersey Senior America Cameo Club, she continues to sing with the "sisterhood" all around the Garden State.

Senior America, Inc. needed to find a new home for the national and State pageants, and Johanne was instrumental in securing Harrah's in Atlantic City for both. Johanne ushered in a new era of management in which she organized people with various skills into committees, and trusted them to carry out their tasks. The end result was an original, elegant and glamorous Ms New Jersey Senior America Pageant 2008 that was enjoyed by all.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Louise Ferla, won the title of Ms New Jersey Senior America in 1993. Three years later, she was appointed New Jersey Senior America Executive Director, and Vice President of Ms Senior America, Inc. Here she is with husband Bob.

One of the highlights of the Ms New Jersey Senior America Pageant 2008 was when Louise Ferla came onto the stage at Harrah's in Atlantic City, to give her farewell address. A woman of grace and poise, her speech was eloquent as it was sentimental. It was a retrospective narrative, and one couldn't help but to be impressed by her humility and dedication to this organization that she served so well for 13 years.

Due to health concerns, she decided that it was best to retire at this time, and wished Johanne Santori, the new State Director much love and success. Louise will, however continue to work with the national organization, Senior America, Inc.

All of us who know Louise, can rest assured that she will never be far away to lend a helping hand. She will continue to perform with her Cameo Club Sisters in Showcases throughout the Garden State. We will always cherish her friendship and great talent!

Please visit our parent website, Once there, navigate to the section "About Us", and there you will find Louise Ferla's biography.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Pictured directly below is Jo Ann with former
New Jersey State Queens. To the right, she
is with the other 4 finalists. Left to right are:
Joan Kaplan, Bernadette Dudek, Joan Cooney,
Frances Lundeen. At the bottom are 2 photos
of our lovely Queen.

The Queen reigns, long live the Queen! A capacity crowd filled the Concert Venue Theater at Harrah's in Atlantic City, on Wednesday, June 25th, where 14 fabulous ladies graced the stage to compete for the coveted title of MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2008, and lovely Jo Ann Gordon won. A retired public school teacher of 38 years, Jo Ann taught in the Neptune Township School System where she learned sign language in order to participate in the hearing impairment and special education programs.
A big band style singer, she has sung backup for Paul Anka, toured Europe, and has recorded CDs. For her talent, she sang an arrangement of a Nat King Cole standard, "Orange Colored Sky" that rocked the house!

National finals to determine who will be MS SENIOR AMERICA 2008 will also take place at Harrah's during the week of October 19-25, and Jo Ann will represent the Garden State. Jo Ann says she is looking forward to meeting other talented delegates from around the country. She believes that women over 60 who live in the "age of elegance"can make a big difference in people's lives both younger and older than themselves. Good luck, girl. Your New Jersey Cameo Club sisters are very proud of you!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


The cameo pictured here is the logo for both State and national organizations, as well as our philosophy which reads: The Ms. Senior America Pageant is the world's first and foremost pageant to emphasize and give honor to women who have reached the "Age of Elegance". It is a search for the gracious lady who best exemplifies the dignity, maturity, and inner beauty of all senior Americans.

The Ms, Senior America Pageant philosophy is based upon the belief that seniors are the foundation of America, and our most valuable treasure. It is upon their knowledge, experience and resources that the younger generation has the opportunity to build a better society.

Our odessy will begin with the Ms New Jersey Senior America 2008 Pageant. To learn about past State and national pageants, please log on to the Senior America, Inc. website: Another blog of interest is: