Youth leadership and citizen program offered
Local girls have an opportunity to attend a week-long youth leadership and citizenship program this summer.
At American Legion Auxiliary Girls State, high school female students who have completed their junior year are competitively selected to participate in a seven-day mock government program where they learn about civics and American government in a fast-paced, interactive program of campaigning, debating, voting and electing mock local and state leaders.
"It increases the participants' awareness of the government processes while they learn the duties, privileges, rights and responsibilities of citizenship," explained American Legion Auxiliary member Louise Carter, who is helping promote the program in Crook County.
Applications are now being accepted for the 79th annual session, which will be held at Willamette University in Salem from Sunday, June 16 to Saturday, June 22.
"It's a nationwide program through the American Legion Auxiliary," Carter said. "They have to be sponsored through us."
Any girl who is currently in her junior year of high school may apply through the local American Legion Auxiliary, and it is open to public, private and homeschool students.
Oregon Girls State provides the opportunity for teens from throughout the state to learn through the development of a mock government at the county and state levels.
Experiences may include public speaking while campaigning for various public offices, drafting and presenting bills for passage in the Girls State legislature, serving as a lobbyist to help influence decision-making, participating in mock trials and a wide variety of workshops, and hearing presentations by some of Oregon's highest elected officials and other speakers.
Carter pointed out that Girls State delegates will come away with a greater appreciation of civic duty, the American flag, and the sacrifices made by military veterans.
In addition to being juniors, applicants must show respect for and be willing to salute the American flag, have an interest in government, and possess a desire to develop leadership skills and self-confidence.
The American Legion Auxiliary pays the delegates' expenses for food, lodging, activities and materials during their attendance at Girls State. Applicants must submit a $100 application fee, $50 of which is refundable once they complete the 2019 Girls State session. Applications are available online.
Auxiliary members will interview applicants and select the qualified delegates.
Attendees may apply for the $1,000 American Legion Samsung Scholarship.
Carter said the group has sponsored several local students over the years so they could attend Girls State.
Last year, the local American Legion Auxiliary sponsored Olivia Cooper, who is now a Crook County High School senior.
"I would encourage more girls to go because it's such an amazing opportunity to meet people from across the state and to learn about Oregon's government. There's something for everyone there," Cooper said.
American Legion Auxiliary Girls State
Additional information and an application are available online at www.alaoregon.org.