GIRLS’ AND BOYS’ STATE
American Legion Auxiliary Girls State is a nonpartisan participatory program that teaches young women responsible citizenship grounded in ethics, the principles of our nation’s founders, and respect for God and Country.
American Legion Auxiliary Girls State is among the nation’s most respected educational programs of government instruction and leadership development for U.S. high-school students. Since the inception of the ALA Girls State program in 1937, nearly 1 million young women have had the opportunity to learn firsthand how their state and local government work. The program has grown from a few hundred participants to some 20,000 annually.
Select high-school girls who have completed their junior year spend an intensive week of experiential learning, working together as self-governing citizens. These young women learn government and the rights, privileges and responsibilities of franchised citizens by forming a fictitious state of cities; electing public officials at the local, county and state levels; and carrying out the duties of those offices.
The week’s activities include simulated legislative sessions and government proceedings, along with presentations, assemblies, and recreational programs. The American Legion sponsors a separate but similar program for young men called American Legion Boys State, first established in 1935.
High-school juniors are selected and sponsored by American Legion Auxiliary units to participate in the program. Local businesses or community organizations may help underwrite participants’ expenses. Because the structure of state and local government varies from state to state, American Legion Auxiliary Girls State programs may vary in content and method of procedure, but each adheres to the same basic core values in teaching government from the township to the state level.
Through a week-long “simulated government” immersive learning experience, America’s future leaders assume roles in the fictional “National” and “Federal” political parties, run for and hold offices that mirror their state’s elective offices, and in one jam-packed week learn fundamentals about the legislative process, the three branches of government, and parliamentary procedure.
Students selected to participate in this prestigious program learn life-long lessons in leadership
grounded in civility, teamwork, advocacy, consensus-building and respect. They have fun. They make lasting friendships. And they leave enriched, using what they learn throughout their lives for the betterment of our country.
Contact Angela Kilcrease for my information. ALAMSHQ@att.net Applications are now open.
Girls’ State will be June 2-7, 2019
American Legion Boys State is among the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for U.S. high school students. A participatory program in which students become part of the operation of local, county and state government, Boys State was founded in 1935 to counter the socialism-inspired Young Pioneer Camps. The program was the idea of two Illinois Legionnaires, Hayes Kennedy and Harold Card, who organized the first Boys State at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.
American Legion Auxiliary sponsors a separate but similar program for young women called Girls State.
At Boys State, participants learn the rights, privileges and responsibilities of franchised citizens. The training is objective and centers on the structure of city, county and state governments. Operated by students elected to various offices, Boys State activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law-enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, choruses and recreational programs.
Legion posts select high school juniors to attend the program. In most cases, individual expenses are paid by a sponsoring post, a local business or another community-based organization.
Boys State programs currently exist in all Legion departments in the United States except Hawaii. As separate corporations, Boys State programs vary in content and method of procedure, but each adheres to the same basic concept: teaching government from the township to the state level.
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