What is it?
Empire Girls State is a hands-on week-long educational workshop, focusing on Americanism and the political process, sponsored by the New York State American Legion Auxiliary. The goal of the program is to help students to better understand democratic ideals and the part we as individuals play in carrying out these ideals. This program, which has been accredited by the National College Credit Recommendation Service (National CCRS) is a non-partisan attempt to teach high school junior girls about government, politics, and Americanism.
Qualified high school juniors are selected to become citizens of and participate in creating a mythical 51st State, from the county to the state level. This mythical 51st state is divided into 11 counties, each named after famous women and the citizens, assigned to either the Nationalist or Federalist Party, experience the two party system, much like our Government. Their rigorous schedule includes participating in political campaigns, debates, and crafting bills. As the government begins to take shape, these young women come to understand their roles in a democratic society.
During their week at Empire Girls State, these students, under the guidance of the Americanism Chairman, will also learn proper flag etiquette, participate in and create either a flag lowering or raising ceremony, and participate in a POW-MIA Ceremony. The citizens will also receive information from the Department (State) President on some of the programs that are important components of our organization
Who is eligible?
Candidates must be Juniors in high school, intending to return to school for the Senior year. Students from public, private, parochial, and home-schooling programs throughout New York State are eligible. Students must be in the top third of their class. Consideration is given to scholastic achievements, leadership, character, honesty and physical fitness. Girls are chosen by the local American Legion Auxiliary Units that work with their respective high schools through an interview process. Counties work with the units to select their citizen’s based on the quotas awarded to them by the Department.
American Legion Auxiliary Girls State is a nonpartisan program that teaches young women
responsible citizenship and love for God and Country. Since the inception of the Girls State
program in 1937, nearly 1 million young women have had the opportunity to learn firsthand how their state and local government works. The program has grown from a few hundred participants to nearly 20,000 annually. High school girls who have completed their junior year spend an intensive week of study, working together as self-governing citizens. These young women learn government by actually creating a mythical state through the election of public officials on local, county and state levels and then by carrying out the duties of these respective offices. Two citizens from each Girls State are selected to participate in the annual Girls Nation program.
- Auxiliary units in 49 states proudly host American Legion Auxiliary Girls State, an amazing
week of learning focused on responsible citizenship and love for God and Country!
- It is estimated that approximately 19,000 young women participate in Girls State programs throughout the nation each year.
- The total estimated Girls State Citizenry was 1,198,000 in 2011.