It’s one thing to learn about state government, but it’s quite another to do so by traveling to Atlanta and watching legislation take shape within the Georgia Capitol.
Two members from Troop 10625 of Dawsonville recently attended the 2022 Girl Scout Day at the Capitol.
Girl Scouts from all around the state came to the state government building on Feb. 1 to take part in the event, hosted by Troop 10625’s sister council, the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia. The Dawsonville troop is part of the Golden Hills Service Unit.
This was adult scout Amanda Livingstone’s eighth year attending the event, while it was seventh grader cadette Landyn Bryant’s first year. Livingstone graduated from Dawson County High School two years ago and has served as a mentor scout to Bryant since that time.
“It’s beautiful,” Livingstone said of the capitol, describing its polished marble steps and ornate interior dome. “Some of the things in the Capitol…you can only see in the capitol.”
Bryant completed the requirements for her “Democracy for Cadettes” badge. Both she and Livingstone got a fun patch and pin from the day.
For the badge, Bryant had already learned things about local, state and federal government and each of the three main branches in school and before the event.
She also had to participate in discussions about how state government works, compare it to how other levels of government run and explore an election or voting process.
While at the capitol, Bryant and Livingstone explored interior elements, like the Georgia Capitol Museum and State Senate side, and outside elements like the courtyard and Liberty Bell plaza.
At the beginning of the day, they took part in a scavenger hunt within the museum. They were given a list of questions with clues and directions. In one case, those tidbits of information led them down steps and around corners to a golden telephone.
Of course, the venture was made a little bit easier since Livingstone had been there before.
One thing Bryant learned during the endeavor was the Georgia motto of “wisdom, justice, moderation.”
They also sat in the Senate Viewing Gallery for The Reading of the Day at the Capitol Proclamation, morning roll call and votes on S.B. 330, 373, and 332.
They received little cards with the chamber’s rules of order when they entered during one of the 10-minute intervals. Bryant found that helpful, especially when they and other attendees took part in the Georgia state pledge, which she didn’t know before then.
Bryant said it was “really neat” how there were different buttons that the state senators would press on their desks during roll call and the votes. Yellow indicated whether a person was there or not, while green meant “yes” and red meant “no.”
Both she and Livingstone noted the fast-paced nature of the votes and said they were still able to understand people’s speech despite the pacing.
Bryant called it “exciting” to see the votes on different bills and thought it was interesting to consider the time from when a bill was drafted until it ended up on the state senate floor.
“Then, it was up for a vote…and it was over after 10 seconds,” she said.
She added that the entire scene looked like a beehive, with the senators in constant motion, especially as they walked to talk to each other and other colleagues between votes.
“No one was sitting still,” she said.
Livingstone appreciated the opportunity to watch the state senate, which she had never been able to do.
“Just to see how the laws are made is pretty cool,” Livingstone said. “You wouldn't think that 50-60 people would gather in a room. The old way was going “yea” or “nay” in an entire room, and now people push buttons…they [then] take a break, are up and talking, sit down and do it again.”
The girls also met with the State House Rep. William Wade, who represents Georgia’s District 9. He walked over from the house side, which is closed to the public due to COVID-19 restrictions, to greet them and offer encouragement.
They were surprised that he thanked them for meeting with him and took the time to briefly show them part of the house building.
“He encouraged us to stay with Girl Scouts,” said Bryant, “and he said that we’d be great leaders one day.”