2004-2005 Academic Year

Pitzer College Hosts Girls State for 10th Year

62nd Session of American Legion Auxiliary Youth Citizenship Program

Pitzer College proudly announces the arrival of Girls State to its campus for the 10th year. The American Legion Auxiliary youth citizenship program, which will run until Saturday, July 2, meets this year for the 62nd time since its founding in 1940.

Girls State’s first session in 1940 had 125 girls in attendance and a $500 budget. This year, the program has grown to more than 520 students between their junior and senior year of high school. Girls State delegates are recommended by their high school faculty and then approved by American Legion Auxiliary units. Only one delegate is chosen from selected public and private schools. More than 25,500 girls have attended California Girls State since its inception.

At Girls State, each delegate lives with about 30 other girls per floor of a residence hall, which constitutes a city. The girls create their own city governments, with city councils enacting ordinances to govern the citizens. Each residence hall forms a county. County citizens hold elections and organize a Board of Supervisors, Superior Court, District Attorney’s and Sheriff’s offices. The elected officers function in all county matters, as provided by the Constitution and the laws of the State of California.

Once the counties are established, they join together to form a state. Each citizen chooses a political party, either Whig or Tory. As a party member, the citizens participate in party politics by discussing current issues and developing a platform from which their party candidates will run their campaigns for state offices. Girls State culminates in the election of governor and a host of other state offices.

In addition to governance activities, citizens publish a daily newspaper and organize a choir, orchestra and talent show. City expos are developed to share the unique qualities of each city.

Girls State counselors are women who by experience know the functions and workings of our state government and its political subdivisions. The American Legion Auxiliary provides support staff to carry out the business side of the program.

Girls State programs meet in all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., the Philippines and Puerto Rico. Girls Nation, which meets July23-30 this year in Chevy Chase, Md., is a unique "hands on" federal government training session that requires girls attend a Girls State session and be selected by that state to represent them at Girls Nation. Each state sends two delegates to the national program.