By: Leslie Martin
Photos by: Caroline Bell
Just stepping back and realizing that this is my experience and it doesn’t have to be the same thing as hers was really empowering.Alison Walsh
Alison Walsh from the New Jersey Delegation is in a unique situation this year on the mountain. She experiencing the CONA spirit for the first time, but, unlike most first year delegates, Alison has been receiving advice since the day she was born from one of the six Presiding Officers: Maddi Walsh. Although there are challenges to being at CONA at the same time as your sibling, the two sisters have enjoyed the opportunity to experience the CONA love together.
“She’s been just such a great role model… it has really helped my confidence” Alison said.
Alison stated how Maddi had really helped her prepare for CONA to become first year delegate. From writing a proposal, to understanding the traditions of the seersucker suit, Maddi was always able to offer an old book to reference or some sisterly advice. Alison expressed that Maddi’s expertise in all things CONA helped her to gain confidence in her skills by allowing her to know that she had an idea of what she was heading into.
However, the siblings have had to overcome challenges such as establishing that they are two different people with two different minds.
“There is a preconceived notion that we are setting out to do the same things,” Maddi stated.
Treated as one, and she stressed the importance of remembering to view delegates at the conference as individuals with differing mindsets. Furthermore, Alison has struggled with the high expectations of those around her, but she has grown and learned the importance of setting her own goals for her experience. Alison said, “Just stepping back and realizing that this is my experience and it doesn’t have to be the same thing as hers was really empowering.”