It was a girl’s week with nearly 300 high school girls from across Arizona converging on the University of Arizona campus for the 71st session of the American Legion Auxiliary premier program, Arizona Girls State. This unique opportunity is open to girls completing their junior year of high school who meet the necessary qualifications. The session ran from June 1 through 9, 2018. Attending from Apache Junction High School were: Myka Adams, Jessica Cruz, Emalee Rogoff, Calista Smith and Kyra Ehrlich.
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 Penny Maklary, Girls State Director, “This is a week that shapes a lifetime.”
Delegate Kyra Ehrlich told The News that she felt Girls State was a valuable experience, “During my six days at girls state, I learned several things about how government works; one of which is the specific process that a proposed law has to go through to be enacted.
“Many laws were proposed and debated, but only four were passed. It was a great opportunity and I was able to meet other girls from across the state with similar interests.”
Arizona Girls State is comprised of 12 hypothetical cities and 4 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.
Each city elected a mayor and counsel, 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, the girls 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 72nd 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 as state senators from across the nation. They debate federal issues they present as bills, visit the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, the White House and other memorials in the nation’s capital.
For more information on Girls State or the American Legion Auxiliary, contact the Auxiliary Unit located in your city or the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Arizona at 602-241-1080.
Photo above: AJHS Girls State delegate Kyra Ehrlich (far right) poses for a photo with the representatives of her Girls State “city.” (L-R): Jessica (last name unknown), Hannah Griffin, Dylann Cox, Anna Bruen and Kyra Ehrlich.