What is Girls State?
The American Legion Auxiliary developed a citizenship training program based on the formation of the American Legion’s Boys State program. This program offers training in the positive processes of self-government and good citizenship as practiced in democratic societies.
Girls State began as one and two day sessions in the late 1930’s. In 1939 Girls State was altered to make it a week-long government education program. Since 1948 it has been a regular part of the Auxiliary’s Americanism curriculum.
The program is funded by the American Legion Auxiliary with some additional support coming from other civic and non-profit organizations. Little or no expense is required of the delegates and her family.
Each summer approximately 25,000 young women participate in Girls State sessions across the nation. At Girls State, the delegates study local, county, and state government. The girls do this by setting up their own miniature city, county, and state governments and administer them according to the rules and procedures set by Nebraska’s laws.
After arriving at Cornhusker Girls State, the citizens are divided into 8 towns named after the Presidents of the United States. The citizens are also divided into two political parties — the Federalists and the Nationalists. These parties do not reflect the two major political parties in today’s system of government. The parties allow citizens to gain knowledge of how a two-party system operates.
Girls State citizens participate in these mock political parties and elections are held to fill city, county, and state positions. Other activities include legislative sessions, campaigning, party rallies, mock trials, and debating. The citizens also receive instruction in Parliamentary Procedure.