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 2020
This week he will be given the chance to participate in Government at all levels. Please take that little step outside your comfort zone and you will discover one of the greatest weeks of your life. You will make new friends that will last a lifetime.
As the Department President of the South Dakota American Legion Auxiliary, I congratulate each of you on being chosen to attend. I did not attend ALA Girls State as a junior in high school. I had to wait until I became a member of the Auxiliary. It is an honor to be attending for my eighth year as the Department President.
This week you will first take the ALA South Dakota Girls State Oath then become a citizen of the American Legion Auxiliary South Dakota Girls State. At the end of this week you will leave ALA SD Girls State a more competent and determined young woman. ALA SD Girls State Will lead you to paths and opportunities.
As the department president I chose "Always Remember Serving Veterans Not Self" as my theme for this year. I hope this week ignites your Love for God and Country by becoming outstanding citizens of this great nation and enjoy the freedoms we have because of our veterans.
All members of the South Dakota American Legion Auxiliary wish you the best in your continued education.
South Dakota American Legion Auxiliary President 2019 - 2020