The first day of ALA Girls Nation 2016 was the beginning to what will no doubt be a fantastic week filled with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to grow in knowledge, wisdom, and character, and create relationships with the best and brightest nationwide. Much of today was spent traveling across the country to meet the other ALA Girls Nation senators in Washington, D.C. Eagerly keeping my eyes open for bright red bandanas, I tossed my suitcase onto the plane and my kept my expectations high — I was not disappointed. The five other girls on my flight came from Hawaii, North Dakota, and Wyoming. After landing late afternoon we were greeted by the smiling faces of ALA Girls Nation staff and met up with other delegates. Though I’ve met more girls and learned more names in the past few hours than I will ever remember, I already feel at home and relaxed in the company of these girls that share the same passion and excitement for our government.
After a quick change into our cherry red, ALA Girls Nation polo t-shirts and black bottoms we hurried to dinner and then to flag ceremony. Despite the heat and humidity, the colors were swiftly retired. We then attended the Opening Convocation. During the ceremony, we were introduced to and greeted by the fantastic ALA Girls Nation staff comprised of fantastic role models and leaders within the American Legion Auxiliary and our nation. We learned about the ALA’s impressive history, got to know the rules and our junior counselors through humorous skits, and solemnly created the poppy wreath that will be placed at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery later in the week. After a quick choir rehearsal, we gathered in our communities (shout out to Spring Valley!) to get to know each other a little better as well as reflect on the age old Proverb, “Honesty in the best policy.”
My day was filled with eye-opening conversations with other girls, laughter, and astonishment at the capabilities of the strong, bold, and wildly intelligent young women that surround me. I’m honored and excited to be here and cannot wait to see what this week holds. It will undoubtedly be a life-changing experience for each girl involved.
Alexa Holsten, Colorado