Jennifer Scotti of Warwick is one of only 98 young women attending the 66th American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) Girls Nation in Washington, D.C. this week. 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. The leadership conference is designed to provide practical insight into the working of government, to instill a sense of pride and loyalty in America and to create friendships and memories that last a lifetime.
Scotti, who is a student at Warwick Veterans Memorial High School, has been active in the community, participating in numerous volunteer projects, including work with the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick’s Parade in West Warwick and the Impossible Dream Playground.
She has also been highly involved in school, playing on the varsity field hockey team and being treasurer of her class. She has also worked to fundraise and plan school events such as prom while on the school’s executive committee.
Scotti hopes that the conference will offer her new opportunities to learn.
“The conference will expand my knowledge and connections to the world around me, open so many opportunities for college and my future career path, and immerse me in an environment filled with patriotism and intelligent people with similar interests and ideologies as me,” she said.
The conference offers a variety of opportunities for the girls, including this year’s new event. The senators will host a Wounded Warrior Barbecue at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md. The young women will provide dinner, company and entertainment for the wounded soldiers staying at the medical center.
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 a 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 Kathy Dungan, American Legion Auxiliary 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.”
Founded in 1919, the American Legion Auxiliary is the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization. With a membership of nearly 800,000, local Auxiliary units have a strong presence in more than 9,500 communities nationwide. The Auxiliary’s mission to serve veterans, their families and their communities is carried out through its hundreds of outreach programs delivered by its members, volunteers and National Headquarters.