Saturday, July 23, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011 Girls Nation

Life in the Government Office

Last night I was sitting in the Government office and I was surprised at how silent it was. The copier which had faithfully cranked out 4,000 copies for me earlier that day was getting some well deserved rest. The computer monitors were casting their glow, the printer silently hummed in its hibernation, and the piles of legislative packets were stacked neatly in the corner. It really reminded me of Christmas.

Perhaps that sounds odd as we are in the middle of 100 degree heat wave. But last night I had that quiet anticipation that I associate with Christmas Eve. In fact, like a young child, I even found it a little hard to fall asleep last night! Surely you have experienced that same that feeling on Christmas Eve. You know the one I mean. You’ve been working hard for weeks to decorate, cook, wrap presents, and ensure that everyone you meet gets just the perfect dose of Christmas cheer. In much the same way, the Girls Nation staff is anticipating the arrival of this year’s Senators. The entire staff has been working so hard to get everything ready for these girls. Our tinsel and garland are hanging in their glamorous red, white, and blue. We don’t have milk and cookies either, but the ice cream machine in the cafeteria is sure to be put to good use.

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is getting to spend time with family. To me, the Girls State staff and the Girls Nation staff are a part of my family. We don’t see each other all the time, but the time we spend together is filled with love and laughter. Staffers share smiles, tears, late night chats, and early morning meetings together. We come together from across our states or country and for at least one week – I have the greatest group of mothers, sisters, cousins, grandmothers, and of course, Crazy Aunt Jane. Although none of them have really met before, this years Senators are going to form the same bond that the staff shares. Their communities will become their families – just you wait and see.

But perhaps everyone’s favorite part of Christmas is the exchanging of gifts. There is a joy that comes from seeing a child open a present and their eyes light up with excitement. Well, the staff hasn’t wrapped any presents this year. You can search the entire conference site and never find a shiny package with your name on it. However, I know that the girls this year will receive the greatest present we can give them. Their lives will be changed forever. We will give them experiences they will never again be able to have. They will gain more than one would think is possible. They will meet people, see sights, and create memories that simply can’t fit in a box. But if it could, we’d put a large bow on it and give it to you.

Merry Christmas Girls Nation 2011!

Katie Cochran
Government Staff

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