Iowa Girls State is one of the premier programs sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary and was started by a dream of four women over 70 years ago in hopes of teaching young women about the political process. Girls State is a “learning by doing” program, which takes the girls through the entire political process.
It covers city government which is non-partisan in Iowa. Each citizen is assigned to a floor, which is her city for the week. Early in the week, the girls elect their mayors and city councils, transact city business, pass city ordinances and work on a city project for judging later. They are also divided into political parties and campaign to get their parties candidates elected and create party loyalty. By the end of the week, they have elected county and state officials. On Friday evening, Inauguration is held which includes the closing of the final joint session of the House and Senate, the installation of the Governor and her officials, many scholarships are awarded and the Girls Nation Senators are announced.
What else happens? During the week, the American Legion Auxiliary President speaks about the various Auxiliary programs and there are several speakers on a variety of subjects. The presiding Girls State Governor opens and closes each day’s session and there are several activities throughout the week such as daily flag raising and lowering, a candle-lighting ceremony, and Iowa Girls State also has a store which stocks items such as apparel, notebooks, and fun items.
Girls State Citizens must be between their junior and senior year of high school and are selected by their local American Legion Auxiliary Unit. The Unit pays the $400 fee although the girls state attendee is encouraged to repay the $50 registration fee to the local Unit.
The week at Girls State is jam packed from dawn to dusk and promises to be a week you’ll never forget!