By Rebekah Bahn, Sacajawea Scroll
When asked to give advice for the 2018 election candidates, Ruhama Tereda, the current American Legion Auxiliary Girls State Governor replied with these words of wisdom: Be yourself.
“This week is as fun as you make it,” she replied with a smile. “People will feed off your energy and enthusiasm.”
Just with these few genuine words of advice, it is no wonder Tereda inspired hundreds of girls to choose her as governor. With passionate spirit and friendly demeanor, Tereda encouraged girls to experience new things and to step out of their comfort zone during their time at camp.
She also said being authentic and relatable is key to connecting with fellow Girls State delegates.
Being yourself is the best strategy in gaining votes during elections, she said.
When Tereda first arrived at Girls State, she wasn’t sure about running for office or going to Girls State at all. After a friend spoke of her fantastic experience in Vermillion, S.D., she decided to see what Girls State had in store for her.
The support of friends and her election as mayor of Seattle encouraged her to take her role one step further. She didn’t know where the experience would take her, but taking that chance led to an outstanding victory.
Her story shows all that can be accomplished through encouragement and inspiration.
As Tereda reflected on her past year at Girls State, she recalled her favorite memories.
“There are so many,” Tereda said.
The most memorable day, she said, was the day she had gone through a meeting with a bright pink piece of gum stuck to her shoe for the entirety of the meeting.
“I was mortified,” she said with a laugh. She then explained that the experience helped her start the process of accepting herself, regardless of flaws.
Along with discovering what it means to have confidence in herself, Tereda also stressed the importance of the Girls State experience. She described how this program is a great way to meet new people and make new friends. Girls State is also a great opportunity to be exposed to new material and knowledge, she said.
From leading the morning flags ceremony with inspirational words and quotes, guiding delegates in song and anthem and losing her water bottle on the first day of camp, Tereda has left a lasting impression on countless girls across the state of South Dakota, as well as the 2018 Girls State.
“She’s always very professional and a great speaker,” said Boston delegate Bryn Ellwein. “She knows what she is doing, and she does it well.”
When the time comes to pass the baton of leadership to our future 2018 governor, her legacy will live on through the ongoing kindness, inspiration and the integrity of our past and future ALA Girls State governors.
“She is so sweet,” said senior counselor Brooke Eidsness. “She’s one of the nicest people I have ever met.”