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Girls State


Iowa American Legion Auxiliary Girls State


June 16-21, 2019   DRAKE UNIVERSITY


The Iowa Girls State program is one of the premier programs sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary, started by a dream of four women to teach young women about the political process.  Girls State is a “learning by doing” program, which takes the girls through the entire political process.  We cover city government, which is non-partisan in Iowa.  Each girl is assigned to a room, which is also her city for the week.  On Tuesday, the girls are randomly assigned to political parties-the Nationalists and the Federalists. On Friday evening, Inauguration includes the closing of the final joint session of the House and Senate, the installation of the Governor and her officials, the awarding of scholarships/merit awards, and Girls Nation Senators are announced. 

More than government happens at Girls State.  During the week, the Department President tells the girls about the various Auxiliary programs.  We have also held a mini programs fair to educate the girls about the American Legion Auxiliary and to recruit members.  The presiding Girls State Governor opens and closes each day’s session, and we have informative and motivational speakers throughout the week.  

Each Unit is given the opportunity to send one or more girls to Iowa Girls State.  A Unit may ask other organizations in their community to contribute to the cost of sending a girl and co-sponsor a girl with that organization.  However, if another organization co-sponsors a girl, they must contribute the money to the Auxiliary Unit and the Auxiliary Unit must write the check for the entire registration fee and send it to the Department Office.  Registration fee is $400 per girl due December 1, 2018.  This includes $340 registration; $50 application fee; and $10 Tshirt cost (the girls will all wear their shirts one day during the week). Each Unit may ask the girl they choose to reimburse them the application fee and t-shirt fee when she is selected, if they wish.  You may reserve space for up to three girls by using the form included on the website listed under forms and then sending your registration fee and form to the Department Office of $400 for each girl.  Additional requests for girls are logged according to the date received and most years we are able to accommodate everyone’s requests to send additional girls.  However, in 2016, we were at maximum capacity for our 7 cities in our new location (which is 278 girls).  We could add another city in our present dorm, and we would LOVE that opportunity, so I challenge the Iowa American Legion Auxiliary to raise the number of Girls State participants in order to make this happen!!

Online registration will be available sometime after November 1.  Please check the Auxiliary website at at that time for registration instructions.  The Auxiliary and Girls State websites will have updated registration information for citizens after January 15.   THE GIRL must follow the instructions in order for her to register correctly.  Please make sure the GIRLS STATE CITIZEN is the one filling out the online paperwork.  You should certainly follow up with her, but only she can fill out the health forms and other personal information online.  She will receive an email confirmation that her registration has been completed, and so will the Unit chair, but she STILL needs to send the parent waiver form by mail to the Department Office.

What kind of girls should attend Iowa Girls State?  First, the girl must want to come to Iowa Girls State and have the time available to attend the entire session (she cannot run for any state office if she cannot attend Inauguration, and if that is the case, why not give the opportunity to someone else?). Only the Girls State Director will grant permission for a girl to arrive late or leave early.  Second, a girl should be a leader in their community and school.  She must have just completed their Junior year of High School by the time of Girls State and they must be 16 by September 15th of the calendar year prior to attending Girls State.  She must agree to salute the American Flag and be an American citizen.  We encourage Units to select girls who demonstrate qualities of honesty, leadership, citizenship, rank in the upper half of their class, and they should understand that the Girls State program is about government and politics.  Third, girls should be healthy enough to keep up with the intense schedule of a week away from home. Our day begins with meetings at 8:00 each morning, and often goes past 9:PM each evening.

After you have completed the Unit registration form and sent your check to the Department Office, you may access the Girls State website at  to find the information to help you select a girl, general information for the Unit Chairman, and a press release.  The sponsoring Unit will receive confirmation for each paid registration.  The deadline is February 28, 2019 for the girls to complete and submit their forms online.  This website is different from the Auxiliary website.  All directions must be followed to successfully complete the registration and application processes.  Please help the Auxiliary office with this registration/application process by adhering to all deadlines.  NO refunds after April 30, 2019.  If you have any questions about the above information, contact the department office at 515-282-7987.  If you need to contact the Director, Mary Andersen, you can reach me by the following means:  email: and phone:  641-919-0752.

Iowa Girls State Board

Mary Andersen, Girls State Director                            Mary Sebben, Department President

Ann Rehbein                    Bev Copple                   

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