Image Credits: Bluebonnet Girls State

If you are currently a junior in high school and looking for a great way to learn about politics, look no further. Girls State is a week long camp sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary. It is an awesome way to meet new people, and to learn about politics and patriotism.

The summer in between my junior and senior years of high school, I was fortunate enough to be selected as a delegate for Missouri Girls State. We went through an application and interview process beforehand, but I was so excited to find out that I was selected to go. Girls State is a week long summer camp that is typically hosted at a college for girls with a passion for politics and public service. There are many different classes and activities you can attend, and so many different ways to get involved while you’re there.

While you’re there, you will get assigned a city. Think of the cities as being your “cabin” at camp. There are about 12-15 girls per city. Each city is a part of a county, that is made up of 3 cities. During the week you get to elect city representation and county representation. These will function as your leaders during different group activities. You’ll also get assigned a political party while you’re there. These parties are completely made up. You work with your other party members to establish a party platform, and will elect party leadership as well.

You also get the chance to take classes while you’re there. There are a couple of different courses you can choose from. From law, to legislature, to business, you really get to pick and choose which one is going to be the most beneficial for you. I took the executive class, that taught you the basics of campaigning and how to market yourself to the public. With some of the classes you get to take a field trip to your state’s capital and conduct a mini “senate” session in the actual state senatorial office. I learned so much from this class. It was awesome to be in a group with like-minded women all week. Another great thing about this class was that they brought in speakers for Q&A sessions that were especially helpful.

Now it wasn’t all work and no play while we were there. There was so much fun to be had during the week. We hosted a state fair where each city was in charge of putting together a booth. Some cities did games, others did face painting. There was even a booth where we got to make cards to send to the troops overseas. The state fair was a lot of fun, but my favorite activity of the whole week was the Talent Show. There were so many amazing acts by so many talented young women. We even had the men’s acapella group from a local college open and close the show.

If any of this caught your attention, definitely ask your school’s guidance counselor or career counselor about applying to go. You can also visit the website for more information and to find an American Legion Auxilary near you.

Sheridan M