“Who Run the World? Girls!”
Going into Girls State, I had no idea what to expect. Although I have always been interested in politics and government, I wasn’t exactly excited to dive headfirst into a long week of rigorous academic activity only a few weeks into summer. If I’m being completely honest, I thought it was going to be one of the longest, most boring weeks of my life. I couldn’t have been more wrong, and by the end of the program, I was wishing I could stay longer.
In summary, Girls State is a mock state government where girls can run for legislation at the city, county and state levels. There are elections, campaigns, caucuses, committees and everything in between. It is evident that the American Legion Auxiliary has spent decades perfecting the program. We had the opportunity to listen to so many talented speakers, and the mock government was as accurate as possible, given the limited amount of time.
At first, I figured that it would be easiest to sit back and observe the other girls during their campaigns, but I quickly realized that if I wanted the week to be a beneficial experience, it would be best to run for a position. So, I decided to run for the state position of Attorney General.
First, I had to win the primary election. I did this by gaining the support of my “city,” and they proceeded to help me campaign to the rest of my “party” (parties are split up into ‘Federalists’ and ‘Nationalists’). I made posters, came up with a campaign slogan and introduced myself to every girl who would listen to me.
After some serious campaigning, I ended up winning the primary election. Immediately after I learned of my success, I met with the rest of my party’s candidates – Governor, Lieutenant Governor and State Auditor. Together, we had 30 minutes to create a 30-minute campaign that we would perform in front of everyone at Girls State. On top of that, we only had an additional 30 minutes to write the speeches that we would give. I was terrified! I have been on BSM’s Speech team throughout high school, but I had never given a speech in front of that many people with so little time to prepare. While intimidating, it was an incredible experience for me because it forced me to trust myself and be confident in my abilities.
To my satisfaction, I ended up winning the position of Attorney General. With this, I was sworn in at the Inauguration ceremony by the Chief Justice of Minnesota, Lorie Skjerven Gildea. At the beginning of the week, I didn’t even want to attend the program, but when I left, I left with a new sense of empowerment. I hope every girl who is given the opportunity to participate in Girls State does so. It reminded me that I am capable, strong and have the potential for success. Because of my time at Girls State, I will never forget who really runs the world – girls!