Champlain Valley Union High School senior Caroline “Cally” Braun is one of 98 young women attending the 67th American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) Girls Nation in Washington, D.C. July 20-27. Two outstanding citizens, known as “senators,” are selected at the 49 ALA Girls State sessions held across the country to represent their state at ALA Girls Nation. This premier leadership conference is designed to provide practical insight into the workings of government, to instill a sense of pride and loyalty in America, and to create friendships and memories that last a lifetime.
During her week at Vermont Girls State, Braun was elected a state senator. She has participated in many activities in her school and community including Varsity Nordic Ski Team, French Club, and was the 2013 winner of the Bernie Sanders’ Annual State of the Union Essay Contest. Braun is also active with the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program.
A key component of the ALA Girls Nation program involves mock senate sessions complete with caucusing and debating of bills that range in topic from personal to political interests. Campaigns are held to elect party officials and an ALA Girls Nation president and vice president.
In addition to their legislative forums, the senators hear distinguished guest speakers and visit the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, the White House, and other memorials in the area. Their visit to Capitol Hill includes meetings with their respective senators and representatives and the opportunity to meet President Obama.
“The ALA Girls Nation experience is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for young women across our nation,” said Martha Corriher, ALA Girls Nation national chairman. “After attending their local ALA Girls State program and then ALA Girls Nation, the girls come back to their communities filled with patriotism and pride.”