Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Wonderful World of ALA Girls Nation

Welcome to the 68th American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation session! We know it hasn’t officially started, but we wanted to be among the first to welcome you. To the 98 girls who will be arriving soon – buckle up, it is going to be a wild whirlwind of a week.

Perhaps one analogy to use (which seems fitting as our Girls Nation national chairman is from Kansas) is that you are about to enter the world of Oz. The beginning will be much like the tornado that Dorothy experienced. Your tornado-ish schedule will be filled by registrations, convocations, choir rehearsals, reflections, Senate sessions, and of course, ice cream. But just as she found herself in a whole new world, so will you.

Although you are arriving with brains, heart, and courage…this week you will get more of each. Hopefully, throughout the week you will find yourself gaining more knowledge about how our federal government works. You will be learning about our nation’s history. And, through the daily Senate sessions, you will be learning more about issues facing our nation and our world.

For heart? Following this week, you should find yourself becoming a more passionate and compassionate person as you meet a Holocaust survivor, veterans at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and your community, who becomes a family.

Who can forget the cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz? He discovers that he had courage all along, and so will many of you. Your courage might be traveling hundreds of miles from home for the first time, or it could be when you give a speech in front of all of ALA Girls Nation. Either way, we hope you find an inner strength and that you take that back to your schools and home towns.

We hope that there are no visits from the Wicked Witch of the West or her flying monkeys…but we will be graced with wonderful munchkins who have been working for months to prepare for this session: the office staff, the PR staff, the good witch Glenda (whom you may know as Ariel), the junior and senior counselors, the transportation folks, the IT miracle workers, and all the others.

Collectively, we will help you on your journey through Oz. It seems so far away now, but when you are ready to head home on the 26th, we hope you realize, there is no place like home – but, there is also no place like ALA Girls Nation.

The Great and Powerful Oz (but please pay attention to the ladies behind the curtain!!!)
AKA the 2014 Government Staff (Jane, Katie, Kelly, Yumi)

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