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 AMERICAN LEGION AUXILIARY
SOUTH DAKOTA GIRLS STATE 2018
By now you are wondering “What have I gotten myself into?” Everyone is telling you that you are so lucky, that this will be one of the greatest weeks of your life and you will make friends that will last a lifetime. I know those statements and they are difficult to believe right now, but it is true.
As Department President of the South Dakota American Legion Auxiliary I cannot tell you how envious I am of you! I was never lucky enough to attend ALA Girls State when I was a Junior in High School—I had to wait until I became a member of the Auxiliary to attend. I have seen girls leave ALA Girls State confident and determined young women. ALA Girls State can lead the girls into careers they want to pursue after High School or maybe something totally different!
As Department President I choose “Saddle Up For Veterans” as the theme for my year: I think if we all get together and work together for “Veterans” we can make this whole year work.
During the week you will be given the chance to participate in government at all levels. I hope that you will renew your love for God and Country by becoming young responsible citizens of this great nation and enjoy the freedoms we have and “Saddle Up For Veterans”.
When you make your way closer to Graduation, you will reflect back on the decision you made to attend ALA Girls State as one of the better decisions. I know a lot of you have already. All the members of the South Dakota American Legion Auxiliary wish you the Best.
I look forward to spending the week with you!!
Jeannine Loesch, President