“Girls State was developed from the idea that our youth should be offered a better perspective of the practical operation of our government, and that the individual, being an integral part of the government, is ultimately responsible for the character and success of the government,” Laird said.
The American Legion Auxiliary organized the Girls State program in 1941.
Any female student in the Junior Class, attending school in Wyoming, is eligible to participate. Delegates selected to attend Girls State are fully sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary, Don Stough, Unit #33 in Lander.
Northwest College will be providing three course credits for each of the delegates.
To spur interest in the program, Laird spoke to an assembly of Junior class girls, but to date only one student has applied for the program. “We only had one delegate attend last year’s session of Girls State, Meredith Rinker, daughter of Leta Rinker, and she did an amazing job of representing Lander. We can only hope that we can reach out to more students and give them the same opportunity,” Laird said.
Students who participate in the program are eligible for college scholarships from the University of Wyoming and the state’s community colleges. Additionally, one student will be chosen for an additional $1,000 scholarship and elgibility for national scholarships.
Delegates attending the Wyoming Girls State program become citizens in cities and campaign for city offices. They receive educational training either in the Judicial process by participating in mock trials as a judge, attorney, defendant, juror, etc., or else in the Legislative process by debating bills in the House or the Senate, using parliamentary procedure to amend and pass bills into legislation.
Using a two party system, the Delegates campaign for offices; holding a Primary & General Election for County, State, and National offices. An Inauguration is held and the Delegate elected as the 2012 Girls State Governor will return to assist with the 2013 Wyoming Girls State Session. The Delegates are also assigned to an elective which include Journalism (creating and publishing a newspaper about the Girls State Session); Aerobics/Dance (creating and performing an aerobic dance routine as part of the Graduation Ceremony); Vocal Music (learning and performing several songs as a choir during the Inauguration Ceremony); or Instrumental Music (learning and performing several instrumental pieces of music during the Inauguration Ceremonies).
During the week, through a selection process that involves the Delegates as well as the Girls State Staff, two (2) Delegates will be chosen to represent Wyoming at Girls Nation, a program similar to Girls State, but held on the National level in Chevy Chase, Maryland, outside of Washington, D.C. in July.
Toni Laird, 173 Indian Lookout, Lander, WY 82520 – (307) 332-2629 – (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org ).
A glimpse of the program is also available through the program’s website: www.boysandgirlsstate.org, which provides a great video that students and parents can view, which offers insight into the programs as well as from actual attendees.