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.
American Legion Auxiliary 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, ALA SD Girls State has grown to its present enrollment of over 400 girls.
Greetings from the ALA South Dakota
Welcome to South Dakota American Legion Auxiliary Girls State 2023
American Legion Auxiliary Girls State is a unique and exciting government-in-action learning program helping young women become knowledgeable stewards of freedom, democracy, and patriotic citizens.
On behalf of the members of the Department of South Dakota American Legion Auxiliary, I welcome you to 2023 Girls State. Congratulations to each of you, you were chosen by your local Auxiliary, School and Community to be a representative. As a delegate, you are part of an outstanding program that addresses all areas of Government, city state and national.
This week you may be asked to step outside of your comfort zone and be involved in the many aspects of government. Please take the many opportunities available to you this week, not many get this chance. Tiffany French, the counselors and volunteers have put hours and energy into making this program the success it is.
This week you will first take the American Legion Auxiliary Girls State Oath and thus become a member of the ALA South Dakota Girls State. During this week you will meet girls as nervous as you are, there will those girls who are outgoing and comfortable meeting other people. Which ever you are be bold surprise yourself, call it networking, just face to face not on a computer or phone.
Each year, The ALA Department of South Dakota elects a President and for the year 2022-2023 I was elected to serve,
You young ladies have so many opportunities to choose from. Remembering back to when I was your ages and thinking of the courses, I needed to study for my career choice does not even come close to the options and choices you have, our phones hung on the wall, and computers were great bulky things that read punch cards. We had class advisers not counselors.
The American Legion Auxiliary was and still support our Military men and Women, and we are strong supporter of Girls State. The benefits of Girls State are many including Scholarships, looking good on a Resume or job Application.
You who participate in Girls State encompass the best of the best because of the leadership skills and confidence in yourselves you will find during this week. The Units that sponsor you, your parents, and all of us here are proud of you. Once again, on behalf of all the members of the Department of South Dakota, I congratulate you, have a week filed with education, laughter, and a deepening love for God and Country.
South Dakota American Legion Auxiliary President 2022