President Obama meeting with delegates of Girls Nation from across the country in the East Room of the White House. Kodiak’s Clara Farley is in the second row, fifth from right. Photo courtesy Clara Farley
A little over a month ago, KMXT’s Brianna Gibbs interviewed KHS seniors Clara Farley and Brandy Berg after they returned from Girls State, a political boot camp that gives Alaskan youth first hand experience in state government. The program was entirely funded by the American Legion and in the end two girls were selected to go on to Girls Nation in Washington D.C.
Farley was selected, along with a girl from Anchorage. The girls recently returned from D.C. where Farley experienced the excitement, tension and humidity of the nation’s capitol.
— (Girls Nation 1: :09 sec "It was so much fun … running everywhere.")
The trip made plenty of time for sight-seeing, but the bulk of Girls Nation focused on teaching the girls about government on a national level.
— (Girls Nation 2: :30 sec "We had party caucuses …and that sort of thing.")
Farley was in the Nationalist Party, which was in the majority of the mock senate. At the end of the week, the girls held an election and their president and vice president were able to nominate girls for various roles. Farley was appointed attorney general, which was the position she held at Girls State.
She said one of the highlights of the trip was an afternoon she spent with veterans and wounded warriors.
— (Girls Nation 3: :53 sec "We went to the Walter Reed … they’re kids.")
She said one of the major adjustments on the trip was learning to cope with the heat. The 95-degree-weather took a toll on the morning the girls were scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama. The bus they were travelling on didn’t have clearance to visit the White House, so the girls had to walk.
— (Girls Nation 4: :18 sec "So we walked … funny sight to see.")
But eventually Farley’s dream of meeting the president came true.
— (Girls Nation 5: :44 sec "Well the one thing … always remember.")
Farley said being in D.C. during the debt crisis was an interesting experience. She said the best word to describe the atmosphere was "tense." But amid all the chaos of the week, she and the other girl from Alaska still had an opportunity to sit down with Senators Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski. Murkowski was very busy on the day they met with her, but Farley said she was impressed by how much time the senator gave the girls from her home state.
— (Girls Nation 6: :22 sec "She let us know she had … very friendly.")
According to Farley, one of the unique things about Alaska’s senators is their commitment to hiring fellow Alaskans. Senator Murkowski encouraged the girls to apply for an internship with her after graduation and Farley said it is definitely something she will be looking into.