7/11/2013 10:58:00 AM Girls State sends CF "Senator" to Girls Nation
by Sue Sullivan
Of the 400 Minnesota juniors who attended the American Legion Auxiliary's Girls State in June, Megan Bauer, daughter of Tim and Ginger Bauer of Cannon Falls, was chosen to be one of the two "Senators" from Minnesota who will go to Girl's Nation from July 20 - 27. "I was humbled and honored to be chosen," said Megan.
After a qualifying test including current events, those who applied for Girls Nation drew a question from a "fishbowl" and with no preparation answered in front of the entire assembly, challenging them to speak concisely and accurately.
As Megan explained Girls State, "I was a little arrogant going in thinking I would probably learn just a couple of things, but that attitude was quickly changed by the high caliber of all the other girls there. I crossed paths with some outstanding girls. For me it was an opportunity to connect to peers with whom I have many things in common.
Applying to go to Girls State is one of the best decisions I have made and I would encourage others to apply to go if they can." Delegates bring with them a desire to learn and lead, and their backgrounds play into the experiential learning atmosphere. Next year Megan hopes to attend Girls State as a junior counselor.
Ranked first in her class going into her senior year at Cannon Falls High School with an impressive resumé of volunteer and school activities, notwithstanding, Megan is affable, articulate and pleasant.
At State, the girls were divided into 13 cities of about 30 girls each in their Bethel University dormitories. The "cities" combined to form counties with elected officials at each level. They were assigned to a political party of either Federalists, the conservative group, or Nationalists, the liberal camp. Though Megan holds more liberal views, she was assigned to the Federalist party. "That was an eye-opener," stated Megan. "I began to understand some of their reasoning." Platforms for each party were developed, and elections held for each office of state government including the election of a Governor.
"We did one thing that Boys State didn't," Megan said with a broad grin. "We actually went to the Capitol in St. Paul and held our senate and house meetings in the State Chambers. At the end of the week, the actual State Supreme Court Chief Justice swore us in!" she exclaimed. The girls attended the inauguration in prom dresses and business suits.
Self motivated, her mother explained that Megan has always worked hard for her success. A teacher in third grade commented to Megan's parents that she was a deep-thinker, a comment that resonated with them. Her dad said she had first lettered in speech in seventh grade.
Minnesota State Senator Amy Klobuchar is a role model for Megan. "During her campaign she did not attack the opposing candidates, nor could they attack her - there just wasn't anything for them to attack. She ran a really clean campaign."
While in Washington for Girls Nation later this month, Megan will have the opportunity to meet leading law makers including the President. "I'm actually more excited to meet Amy Klobuchar," she said with a giggle. In addition she will, in committee, try as do the members of Congress, to pass a bill with bipartisan support, which will be a crowning achievement.
Close to her family, including a younger brother and two older sisters, Megan may opt to stay in Minnesota for college, choosing a state school such as the University of Minnesota, to pursue a degree in anthropology with minors in business administration and political science.
She will promote Girls State next year as editor of the Lantern, the CFHS newspaper. Among the selection criteria, girls who apply for the American Legion Auxiliary Girls State must "have completed their junior year in high school, be keenly interested in government and current events, have high moral character, show strong leadership abilities, and be above average in scholastic achievement.