Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Civic Engagement

Cora Funke and Emily Tardie

       Civic engagement and the importance of government are a main emphasis of ALA Girls State. Throughout the week, we have learned about different elected positions, the voting and campaigning process, and how our system of democracy works. We were lucky enough to hear from Kerin Stackpole, who gave us a presentation about the importance of using civic engagement to create positive change. Kerin currently works at a law firm in Vermont, but she was able to work in Washington, DC for several years after attending college. She is passionate about the importance of civic engagement, especially for women, and there were many lessons we learned from her presentation.
            First, we learned a bit about what it means to exhibit civic engagement and be a socially responsible citizen. Kerin touched on the ideas of being educated on important issues and speaking out about them, potentially in the form of civil disobedience. It is also important to talk to legislators and petition the government when necessary. In addition, understanding how our government functions is an essential aspect of being a civically engaged citizen, as is getting involved in campaigns for candidates that you feel strongly about. Showing up to vote is another critical aspect of civic engagement. For young people especially, voting is an extremely important right and responsibility that is often not utilized. Less than half of all eligible voters ages 18-29 turned out for the 2016 presidential election and this trend has existed for decades (Census). This is currently the largest age group in the nation and therefore, a vast amount of political leverage is lost. The suggestions that Kerin gave us will help us become more involved in our political system and can be implemented by each ALA Girls State delegate in her daily life.
Kerin also left us with some lasting advice. She emphasized the importance of surrounding yourself with as many diverse perspectives and types of people as possible. Something can be gained from every voice and incorporating a variety of perspectives into decision making is essential. Also, as women, we need to focus on lifting each other up in the workplace instead of pushing each other down. Society and the workplace can be extremely harsh, especially as a woman, and empowering the women around you creates a more inclusive and successful environment for all. Most importantly, Kerin stressed the vitality of actually showing up. Following through and putting in the work is the only way to truly create change. The lessons in civic engagement that were learned during Kerin’s discussion at ALA Girls State were really valuable, and we will take them with us into the world.

2018 ALA Girls State Citizens: Spirit to Spare

Olivia Anderson, Lily McMurtrie, and Hunter Delaney

ALA Girls State citizens are known for their leadership, intelligence, and energy. 2018 is no exception, with each town exhibiting more than their fair share of enthusiasm. Here, we chronicle each of the four towns, including the decorations, the people, and most importantly, the spirit. Quotes have been lightly edited for clarity.

“I love my town because we really try to work together. We try to spread positive vibes, work together as a team, build each other up, and support each other. We just want to be ourselves and have a good time.” -Ava, Berrio

“We have a really good balance of opinions. We do a good job making sure everyone is heard. We have an amazing, inclusive spirit; everyone is involved and there are no cliques. We mesh together as one, which I think is really unique.” -Mary, Kleepsies

“Our town is more like family. We’re super close. The best part is how we communicate with each other and how open we are about our personal feelings.” -Liz, Norton

“The spirit of ALA Girls State is civic duty, engagement, patriotism, and friendship.” -May, Blue shirt

The research shows that no matter what town you’re a part of, you’re having fun because you’re at the ALA Girls’ State. A special thanks goes out to Sarah Butson, who is leaving us as director this year. We look forward to seeing her accomplish great things. Remember: each town is a model town, and you can always find home at ALA Girls State.

Why You Should Attend ALA Girls State

Cellan Hogan
ALA Girls State is a wonderful opportunity for civic minded young women to get together and create change with respectful discourse. ALA Girls State is a remarkable way to encourage leaders and show young women that they can thrive in positions of power. It presents the opportunity to learn about the legislative process and act as a real town and state government. Every young women that attends ALA Girls State is passionate and hardworking and has great ideas for policies and laws. In a world that does not always celebrate young girls’ confidence, ALA Girls State does the opposite and encourages them to become catalysts for change. ALA Girls State brings the delegates out of their comfort zone to try new things. Among other things, this program creates friendships that last a lifetime. ALA Girls State provides girls a voice and advice about college and the future. It focuses on personal development and inspires girls to be brave and honest about their views. ALA Girls State creates a refreshed appreciation for the true sacrifices that veterans make for our country and further emphasizes women in politics. The counselors are approachable, kind, and are a great resource to use for advice. Overall, ALA Girls State is not only a transforming program, but one in which girls can explore the true strength of their voices and become involved in their communities. So, when asked why someone should attend ALA Girls State, I respond, why not?

Election Process - Entry #2

Jacqueline Palaza and Lena Boudreau
    The primary election was held yesterday afternoon and the candidates have been elected for each party. In the Federalist Party, Sarah was elected governor, Sydney was elected Lt. Governor, Secretary of State is Emma, Attorney General is Macy, Treasurer is Makenna, and Eleanor is Auditor. In the Nationalist Party, Rory was elected for governor, Lt. Governor is Abby, Secretary of State is Emily, Attorney General is Emily, Talari was elected Treasurer, and Auditor is Ava. The whistle stop campaigning will occur later today and the General Election will take place on Tuesday Morning.

            Before the upcoming election, candidates shared their thoughts and feelings about future campaigning events. Rory is the nationalist party candidate for the governor position. She chose to run for this specific position because her counselors (Katie and Brianna) encouraged her to put herself out there. She hopes that individuals will grow during their time at ALA Girls State as well as build bonds as a united group. Sarah, the Federalist candidate for Governor, wants to incorporate everyone and hear all of their thoughts. The people here, both counselors and delegates have inspired her to run and speak out.

            The Federalist candidate for Lt. Governor, Sydney, was inspired by her counselors to run for office. She decided to run for this specific position because of her interest in presiding over the senate. She hopes to get people involved and have more chances to meet other delegates during the whistle stops.

            Secretary of State for the Federalist Party is Emma H. She was inspired to run after her roommate said, ‘Why not?” She chose the position of secretary because she believes that the tasks are important, specifically the role of conveying information to policymakers. The Secretary of State for the Nationalist Party is Emily J. She has been a secretary in a lot of different organizations, specifically Future Farmers of America. If she wins, she wants to see what happens behind the scenes.

            The whistle stops are later tonight and all of the candidates are excited to talk to other delegates and express themselves. Good luck to all of the ALA Girls State candidates!


 Abby Palaza
    Red as the blood that had soaked the soil beneath rows of white crosses, poppies stand. A symbol of sacrifice and hope, it is the red poppies that speak greater than words.  Men and women who served and died for their country deserve to be remembered for the greatest gift of freedom at the greatest cost of sacrifice. It was the barren landscape of WWI that was transformed by blooming wild poppies. It is the future youth generations that must remember those who gave them their freedom and advocate for the rights that were earned for their country. “To you from failing hands we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high!” (“In Flanders Fields”). 
    The tradition of the red poppies was inspired by WWI colonel, John McCrae as he looked at the graves of soldiers who died at Flanders Fields. Overcome with grief looking amidst the sea of red poppies, McCrae wrote the poem “In Flanders Field.”  Two women, Anna E. Guerin and Maria Michael, were later inspired by the poem and initiated the sale of poppies to help orphans and others left suffering from war.  In 1922, there was the first nationwide distribution of poppies and the VFW adopted the poppy as its official memorial flower.  The poppy sales continue to employ veterans to produce the artificial flower and ask volunteers to help participate. In remembrance of those who fought for our safety and the democracy of the United States, the poppies continue to provoke individual meaning and significance in every citizen.
    Each young woman at ALA Girls State learns the importance of civil activism in becoming a responsible citizen. We are “the larks, still bravely singing.” We are the ones that must “fly” (“In Flanders Fields). It has become our duty to exercise and use the rights and freedoms we are awarded. ALA Girls State has not only emphasized this distinction, but has encouraged and given us confidence to become more active. Red as the blood that had soaked the soil beneath rows of white crosses, the red poppies stand and ALA Girls State stand with them.

Girls State Moment

Check out a podcast by our very own, Mary Batsie! Wondering what's happening? Hear her perspective! 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Girls Going Places

Emelia Palmer and Taylor Krupp
Our reporters are at it again! Check out the link to see the wonderful things our citizens want to do when they travel the world!