What are the goals of the program?
- To develop leadership and pride in American citizens
- To educate Delegates about our system of government
- To instill in Delegates a greater understanding of American traditions
- To stimulate a desire to maintain our democratic government process
How are participants chosen?
American Legion Auxiliary Units, assisted by high school principals and guidance counselors, evaluate potential leadership qualities of young women to be interviewed for selection as Delegates or Alternates. Young women are eligible to attend if they meet the following criteria:
- Have completed their Junior year of high school
- Are interested in government and current events
- Have high moral character
- Possess strong leadership abilities
- Have an above average scholastic standing
- Have a desire to learn
The number of girls in each state is determined by the American Legion Auxiliary’s available resources or donations received.
What are the benefits of attending Girls State?
Girls State is a nationally recognized program. Past participants have included:
- Former Texas Governor Ann Richards
- Newscaster Jane Pauley
- Country music performer Janie Fricke
- Television personality Leeza Gibbons
- Brigadier General Sharla Cook
- U. S. Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn
- Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana Tax Assessor Dollie Mahoney
Through hands-on experience young women have the opportunity to not only learn the mechanics of local and state government; but also learn citizenship and patriotism; gain self-confidence, poise and character. In addition, delegates have the opportunity enhance their leadership skills by returning to the Girls State program as counselors.
Attendance provides delegates with the opportunity to apply or be selected for awards, honors, and scholarships. This includes the American Legion Auxiliary’s Girls Nation Program, the American Legion Samsung Scholarship, the Sons of The American Legion Governor’s Scholarship, the Louisiana Education Loan Authority (LELA) Scholarship and for participants enrolling at Northwestern State University, the Northwestern State University Presidents Scholarship.
When and where is Louisiana Girls State?
Louisiana Girls State is currently held on the campus of Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, Louisiana. This program is usually held the last week of June. The 2014 program begins with registration Sunday, June 22 and ends with the closing program at noon Saturday, June 28. With the exception of two districts, transportation to and from the program is part of the Girls State package.
How is the program funded?
Girls State Delegates are sponsored through local American Legion Auxiliary Units and Posts of The American Legion and through contributions generously provided by private benefactors and/or businesses. Interested organizations or businesses in the the community may contribute to delegate sponsorship or program expenses. The sponsorship fee covers the full expense of the Delegates meals, housing, and transportation, but does not cover staff or counselor accommodations and or/training materials. These expenses are paid for through donations received from private benefactors, civic organizations, and businesses.
How is the program staffed?
Staff is selected from volunteers of the American Legion Auxiliary and former Girls State participants who are interested in furthering their leadership skills by volunteering with the program. Counselors, state and locale government, public officials and speakers participate and provide guidance in their respective fields of expertise. If you would like to provide service in a staff position please contact the Girls State Executive Director Maggie Watts at firstname.lastname@example.org or Associate Director Monique Batiste at email@example.com to request an staff application.