Friday, July 27, 2012

Reflections from Georgetown

A month ago if you told me that a void of judgment and an incubator for encouragement existed, I would have laughed at you and continued on doubting people around me. However, after spending just a few days with my fellow senators in the heart of change and activism, I have seen firsthand a place filled with open minds, innovative ideas, and above all, the desire to make the world a safer, more righteous place. People don’t frown here. They smile even when they disagree. ALA Girls Nation has been one of the most memorable experiences of my life because the girls smile no matter your religion, political opinions, and personality. We come here as senators because we want to facilitate a discussion of ideas that will change the world, and this intention is more than I could have ever hoped to be surrounded by. –Caolinn Mejza, Senator, Nevada

All ninety-eight girls serving as senators at ALA Girls Nation truly want to be here and are excited about the opportunity. This simple fact may seem obvious to many, but to be in a group of such involved girls that never succumb to the plague of apathy that many teenagers are affected by is a unique environment. This environment encourages sincere connections and friendships to be made between girls of all different backgrounds, political views, religions, and interests. In addition, the girls here are thrilled to engage in real discussions about real issues facing our country. Despite the fact that these bills are being applied to a mock nation, the girls are just as passionate and thoughtful about these issues, if not more, than actual United States senators. ALA Girls Nation has made me think, laugh, question my own views, consider my future, and appreciate the nation in which I live. –Alice Barsky, Senator, Georgia

To be in a group of ninety eight girls who are dedicated, opinionated, but most importantly, passionate about current events and our nation is without a doubt one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had. Before coming to Girls’ Nation I had not even met girls from all of the states in our country, let alone met so many people with such different fascinating political ideologies, and diverse outlooks on life. Being here, among the best and brightest of girls whom I have ever had the pleasure to work with and laugh with, among the future leaders of our nation and of our world, I cannot help but be impacted forever, possibly in ways that I will not even realize for years to come. I have come to question, learn from, and love my girls here at Girls’ Nation. This experience is unbelievable, and I am so grateful for every opportunity. –Anna Linton, Senator, Wisconsin

Each day I meet someone new, learn a little more, and become a little more involved. Each of the girls here has in a way benefited each other to debate, and most importantly break out of our shells. We have become so close to one another. The best part about these past days, I must say, was planning for our political party rallies, it was so much fun. Next would be debating each one of the bills, some of the bills were really controversial, but what I loved about everything was that all the girls were trying their best to be respectful and courteous of each other’s feelings. I’m so glad to be blessed with this opportunity to meet such influential people that have changed the way I view politics forever. –Dynasty Winters, Senator, North Carolina

I thank God for this amazing experience with these 97 other senators from all over this beautiful country. He has truly blessed me with people I believe may be lifelong friends and even one day fellow advocates, lawyers, and politicians. The atmosphere and experience here has truly reinforced my desire and ambition to become a public servant. I love how we can have very polar opposite views, have a true discussion, not a debate, and smile at the end of it knowing that it’s okay for someone to think differently than you do. I wish all of these senators well in their future, whether in public service or politics or not. God & Country. – Angela McKinney, Senator, South Carolina

“Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself” –John Adams
Our generation takes many things for granted. We take our technology, our economic security, our sovereignty, our freedom of speech, and our right to practice our own religion as rights granted to us by the United States. These are not without toil though. Democracy is not passed down in our blood stream, or given to us at birth. We must teach it, earn it, and most importantly fight for it. I have learned this week that there are people in my generation capable of completing the task at hand. ALA Girls Nation senators have an uncanny fervor and passion for current issues and politics. However, the faith each girl has in our system of democracy is unending and unyielding. This is what we must take home with us. We will be the ones to teach democracy; we will be the ones to make sure it never dies. – Libby Wuller, Senator, Oklahoma

A year ago, if you said I would be at ALA Girls Nation, I wouldn’t have believed you. If you said that I would have friends in every state in the country, I would have said you were crazy. And if you said that I would grow to love parliamentary procedure, I would have called you delusional. It’s definitely been a week of surprises. We’ve learned invaluable lessons in patriotism, citizenship, and teamwork, and my fellow senators have l every step of the way. But now, as we approach the end of our week together, we must remember to take what we’ve learned back to our own communities. ALA Girls Nation has lit the fire in us; now it’s time to let our light shine. – Anjali Fernandes, Vice President, Missouri

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