30+ Year Tradition Of Utah Girls State At SUU Continues Next WeekMay 29, 2003
Author: Jane Comp
Girls from every region of the state will gather at Southern Utah University June 1-7 for Utah Girls State which offers training in political procedures and local and state government operations.
Hundreds of young women who will start their senior year in high school this fall will participate in the week of Girls State activities. SUU has hosted the event for the sponsoring Utah American Legion Auxiliary for some 30 years.
Participants apply for the honor of attending Girls State and are selected competitively from their area high schools and communities by local Auxiliary units.
During the week on the SUU campus, the girls are divided into pseudo-political parties, counties, and cities in which they will create the government structure and citizenry of a state. The training is directed and supervised by a staff of adult leaders from the Auxiliary.
“The girls receive a wonderful understanding of the processes of government and politics,” Jane Comp, SUU’s assistant director of conference services says, “through the experiences of organizing party conventions, enacting legislation, and carrying out judicial functions.”
Actual elected and appointed city, county and state officials will speak to the Girls State citizens. Q&A sessions following the presentations create a productive and revealing dialogue between the state’s up-and-coming leaders and current government officials in service.
Comp adds that “Patriotic, social and entertainment activities are scheduled throughout the week. Some of the traditional highlights include a talent show produced and performed by the girls and, the election of national officers who will return next year to preside over activities.”
Renee Ballenger, SUU’s director of news services, remembers attending Girls State when she was in high school and says, “I was delightfully surprised at how much more the experience of Girls State offered me that what I originally expected or was aware of. I can cite specific instances in my social and professional life since, in which I have implemented the knowledge and personal lifeskills I learned at Girls State. It’s a very rewarding program.”
Other notes about Utah Girls State:
- Extensive program on election and bill writing process; girls actually run for office, elect in a primary and general, write/submit/pass bills
- Each “city” is named after a Utah Governor
- Advancement of Colors every morning
- Visiting Dignitaries will share insight with conference attendees
- City Day is Tuesday County Day is Wednesday State Day is Thursday on which government
- Workshops throughout week on Americanism, Parliamentary Procedure, Party Organization, Formulating a Bill, Government at various levels, presentation on the Poppy story, Flag Studies, as well as timely and women’s issues such as domestic violence and date rape
- Hands-on, Inspired Learning: One year, the city clerk from Cedar City spoke at Girls State. One of the young ladies attending the conference thought the position of city clerk sounded interesting so she chose to run for that position in the conference’s city elections, and she won!
- Graduation Day and presentation of SUU Scholarships
- Participate in fun/social activities too—“towel exchange,” volleyball tournament, self-defense workshop
- Did you know the stars of the flag don’t burn?
The Flag Disposal Ceremony will take place Wednesday night. This ceremony is a visually beautiful presentation and particularly moving to all.
- For more information, contact SUU Convention Coordinator Jane Comp at 865-8196 or firstname.lastname@example.org