It's the time of year when local American Legion Auxiliaries are busy interviewing candidates for attending what is affectionately known in New York State as Empire Girls State. Auxiliary units in 49 states host this week of learning that culminates in sound knowledge, new friendships, and the opportunity for eligibility for coveted scholarship monies.
Girls State is a nonpartisan program that teaches young women responsible citizenship and has done so since 1937. Since its inception, more than one million young women have had the opportunity to learn how their state and local governments work utilizing a hands-on approach. The young women attending Empire Girls State actually create a mythical state through the election of public officials on local, county and state levels, all while carrying out the duties of each office. In addition to learning "public service," these young women learn other important patriotic endeavors such as proper flag etiquette and ceremony, the importance of Flanders Field, and the significance of the veteran-made poppies as seen throughout the year at various functions. However, more importantly, they learn this and more while cementing lifelong friendships all over New York state.
Candidates must be juniors in high school, intending to return to school their senior year whether public, private, parochial or home-schooled and in the top third of their class. Consideration is given to scholastic achievements, leadership, character and honesty.
The 2013 Empire Girls State will take place June 30 through July 6 at the College of Brockport. Those interested may contact their local American Legion Auxiliary or learn more at www.empiregirlsstate.org.