Grant Union senior Reagan Shelley, who attended Girls State earlier this year, said she and the other girls kept busy and had little sleep, but “it was very much worth it.”
Shelley was recognized at the Nov. 13 meeting of the Ellis Tracy Unit and Post No. 77 of the American Legion and Auxiliary Unit.
She was ill and unable to attend the meeting, so the Eagle caught up with her at the American Red Cross blood drive Nov. 15 at Grant Union where she was signing in students.
While taking on the role of lobbyist at the June 11-17 session of Girls State held at Willamette University in Salem, Shelley said she had the opportunity to observe the House in session for a few minutes.
During the week of Flag Day, the young women also met with veterans who showed them how to properly dispose of an old flag.
She said the event was worthwhile and she made many friends.
“It prepared me for taking government this year,” Shelley said. “It gave me a background on the topics we talk about.”
Female empowerment was another focus at the event.
“The camp was not only to teach you about government but that females can have as much importance in their role in government,” she said.
Shelley was the only Grant Union girl signed up for Girls State this year, and no boys signed up for Boys State, which runs during the same week.
Girls State advisor Tammy Bremner and Boys State advisor Art Pereira both said they’d like to see more sign up next year.
“It is an amazing program and a wonderful opportunity,” Bremner said. “It makes you stand out. They learn a lot about leadership and a greater respect for people who served this country.”
Sponsors for Girls State this year were Carl Lino and Bonnie Gause.
Lino’s late wife, Sondra, was involved in Girls State for many years.
Carl said when he was young, only one boy and one girl were chosen to go to the event, and now more are able to attend.
“It was a huge honor to be the Boys State and Girls State representatives,” he said. “I encourage all the girls to go to Girls State and the boys to go to Boys State.”