It was a girl’s week with nearly 300 high school girls from across Arizona converging on the University of Arizona campus for the 72nd session of the American Legion Auxiliary premier program, American Legion Auxiliary Arizona Girls State.
This “unique” opportunity is open to girls completing their junior year of high school that meet the necessary qualifications. The session runs from June 2-8.
Attending from Globe High School are Azalea Roman, Jocelyn Tarango and Nessa Nosie; and from Miami High School is Mycala Stapleton; plus, Kaylene Thompson from San Carlos High School.
American Legion Auxiliary Arizona Girls State is a weeklong program designed to educate young women in the functions of their government and kindle the desire to actively participate in and responsibly fulfill their role as citizens.
According to Girls State Director Penny Maklary, “this is a week that shapes a lifetime.” She explained that girls were housed in an original home to Girls State for many years. State of the art, eco-friendly instructional classrooms throughout the university were assigned to the program this year.
“Similar to past years,” Maklary went on to say, “we have senior staff that work as city and county advisors, while junior counselors return from the previous year’s Girls State session, to assist Senior Staff in the education (and fun) process.”
Arizona Girls State is comprised of 12 cities and four counties. There are 22 to 24 girls in each city and about 75 girls in each county. The girls are divided into two pseudo political parties called federalists and nationalists. Precinct committeemen watch over all elections and assist political parties.
Each city elected a mayor and council; wrote their own ordinances and resolutions, passed a budget and a strategy for planning and zoning. Cities were assigned to a County and the educational process continued with campaigning and election to County and State positions. During the span of the week, they conducted regular city and party meetings, wrote and debated bills, received instruction from actual elected state/county officials and “learned by doing”. Midweek, they elected the prominent positions of Governor and Secretary of State. The girls elected to these two positions will return to preside over the 73rd session of Arizona Girls State.
Culminating the week was the election of two delegates as senators to attend the prestigious Girls Nation held the following month in Washington, DC.
Girls Nation is an all-expense-paid week with other girls elected state senators from across the nation. They will debate federal issues they present as bills, visit the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, the White House and other memorials in the nation’s capital. Another opportunity that is truly a “once in a lifetime experience.”
For more information on Girls State or the American Legion Auxiliary contact the local Auxiliary Unit or the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Arizona at 602-241-1080.