POMEROY — Several area girls recently selected to attend Buckeye Girls State were honored with a special “tea” event by Drew Webster Post 39.
Buckeye Girls State is a fast-paced program of mock government at the state, county and city levels. The program is currently held on the campus of the University of Mount Union in Alliance, usually the second or third week of June.
The main objective of the Girls State program is to teach young women the duties, rights and privileges of citizenship by providing them the opportunity to live together as self-governing citizens. This “hands on” method is unique and used to encourage participation in the democratic process as they progress into adulthood.
The Ohio American Legion Auxiliary has been a sponsor of Buckeye Girls State for the past 64 years, and Drew Webster Post 39 in Pomeroy has been involved since 2011. Community organizations may also contribute to this sponsorship. The number of girls in each state is determined by the state auxiliary’s available resources.
Staff comes from volunteers of the American Legion Auxiliary and from volunteers in fields of education, government and former Girls State participants. Counselors, state and local government, public officials and speakers participate and provide guidance in their respective fields of expertise.
Participants are selected by American Legion Auxiliary Units, assisted by high school principals and guidance counselors, who evaluate potential leadership qualities of young women to be interviewed for selection as delegates or alternates.
To be eligible to attend Girls State, applicants must have completed their junior year of high school and be interested in government and current events. The young women are required to have high moral character, possess strong leadership abilities and a desire to learn, as well as having an above-average scholastic standing.
The goals of the program are to develop leadership and pride in American citizens and to educate delegates about the American system of government and to instill an understanding of American traditions. During their stay, delegates have the opportunity to learn the mechanics of local and state government, become informed about citizenship and patriotism.
A typical session include will divide delegates, or citizens as they are referred to during the program, into two mythical political “parties.” The parties do not reflect the two major political parties in today’s system, but allow participants to gain knowledge of how the system works. Elections are held to fill city, county and state positions.
Activities include government workshops, legislative sessions, campaigning, party rallies, debating and voting. The citizens also receive instruction in parliamentary procedure and engage in activities including journalism, law enforcement, music, field trips, group devotions and patriotic ceremonies.
Girls State is a nationally recognized program and has been honored by such organizations as Freedom’s Foundation at Valley Forge and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Past participants have included former Texas Governor Ann Richards, newscaster Jane Pauley, Brig. Gen. Sharla Cook and U.S. Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn.
Attendance makes participants eligible to apply or be selected for awards, honors and scholarships,including Girls Nation, United States Senate Youth Program, the Samsung Scholarship and the Buckeye Girls State Endowment Scholarship.
Interested 11th grade girls at Meigs and Eastern high schools were assisted by their respective guidance counselors, Abby Harris and Cheryl Roush, in scheduling meeting with Drew Webster Post American Legion Auxiliary members.
Auzilary members Gladys Cuming and JoAnne Newsome visited the schools to talk about Girls State and hand out forms. The students, parents, sponsors and guidance counselors were then invited to a mandatory meeting at the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 39 Post to fill out their official applications.
Candidates chosen for the program include Eastern High School students Katelyn Edwards and Sabrina Lauer. Kylie Dillon, Gracie Hoffman, Elena Musser were selected from Meigs along with alternate one Jana Robinette and alternate two Savannah Smith.
Community sponsors are Tina Rees,People’s Bank, Commander Dewey Smith Jr., Middleport American Legion Feeney Bennett Post 128, Kathy Thomas,Pomeroy American Legion Auxiliary Unit 39, Kay Graham, Racine American Legion Auxiliary Unit 602, Barbara Fry, Pomeroy American Legion Unit 39, JoAnne Newsome, Pomeroy American Legion Auxiliary Unit 39, Roma Sayre, Racine Home National Bank and Dru Reed,Farmers Bank and Savings.
After the Meigs winners and alternates were selected, they were honored with a tea that included their families, sponsors and guidance counselors.
Contact Lorna Hart at 740-992-2155 Ext. 2551.