Legion Auxiliary selects Girls Staters

American Legion Post 240 Auxiliary selected four Bennett County High School girls for 2013 Girls State. Megan Slattery, Tania Risse, Tamee Livermont and Sabrina Fanning will represent Post 240 this year. Lindsay Johnson and Cortne Rose were selected as alternates.

Girls State is May 27-June 1, 2013, at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.

South Dakota Girls State is a fun-packed, week long citizenship program for young women of South Dakota. Girls State brings together the best girls from all over the state to experience a week of intensive training in citizenship and government. 

Back in the depression ridden days of the early 30s, the American Legion grew concerned over public statements to the effect that Democracy was “on the skids.” How, it wondered, could America train its young people in the processes of self government as effectively as Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany seemed to be training their youth in the totalitarian forms of government. Deciding the best way to learn was by practicing it, American Legionnaires began, in 1935, gathering teenage representatives together for a few days each summer in a citizenship training program on the processes of city, county and state Government. They called it “Boys State.” As the program succeeded and spread throughout the United States, the American Legion Auxiliary began a similar program for girls. Thus “Girls State” was authorized in 1937-38, and is now established in 50 Departments in our Nation.

South Dakota Girls State was founded at Mitchell in 1947. It met regularly each year on the campus of Dakota Wesleyan University until 1985, when it was moved to the campus of South Dakota State University, Brookings. In 2002, the program was moved to the University of South Dakota, Vermillion. It is under the sponsorship of South Dakota Department of the American Legion Auxiliary. 

From an enrollment of 117 girls in 1947, Girls State has grown to its present enrollment of over 480 girls. Girls will experience government at the city, county and state levels. Delegates will be assigned a mythical city, county and political party. Each girl will have the opportunity to run for office, campaign (for herself or others), vote and listen to a variety of speakers. At the end of the week, girls will attend political conventions and wrap up the week with the inauguration of the Girls State governor.

Only girls with high moral character with strong leadership abilities and have an above scholastic average are selected to attend Girls State.

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