Magnolia Girls State
June 5-10, 2016
The University of Southern
Mississippi in Hattiesburg
For information, contact the
American Legion Auxiliary
Department of Mississippi
or e-mail ALAMSHQ@att.net
|AMERICAN LEGION AUXILIARY
American Legion Auxiliary Magnolia Girls State
Girls State Meets Judge Barnes
State Court of Appeals Judge
Donna Barnes speaks to the
annual session of Girls State
Tuesday at The University of
Southern Mississippi. (Southern
Miss Marketing and Public
Relations photo by Steve Rouse)
Lots to Shout About
Getting pumped up for the
Political Rally adds to the
excitement of Girls State! (Photo
by Steve Rouse)
American Legion Auxiliary
|Department of Mississippi
American Legion Auxiliary Girls State is a nonpartisan participatory program that teaches young
women responsible citizenship grounded in ethics, the principles of our nation’s founders, and respect for
God and Country.
American Legion Auxiliary Girls State is among the nation’s most respected educational programs of
government instruction and leadership development for U.S. high-school students. Since the inception of
the ALA Girls State program in 1937, nearly 1 million young women have had the opportunity to learn
firsthand how their state and local government work. The program has grown from a few hundred
participants to some 20,000 annually.
Select high-school girls who have completed their junior year spend an intensive week of experiential
learning, working together as self-governing citizens. These young women learn government and the
rights, privileges and responsibilities of franchised citizens by forming a fictitious state of cities; electing
public officials at the local, county and state levels; and carrying out the duties of those offices.
The week’s activities include simulated legislative sessions and government proceedings, along with
presentations, assemblies, and recreational programs. The American Legion sponsors a separate but
similar program for young men called American Legion Boys State, first established in 1935.
High-school juniors are selected and sponsored by American Legion Auxiliary units to participate in the
program. Local businesses or community organizations may help underwrite participants’ expenses.
Because the structure of state and local government varies from state to state, American Legion Auxiliary
Girls State programs may vary in content and method of procedure, but each adheres to the same basic
core values in teaching government from the township to the state level.
Through a week-long “simulated government” immersive learning experience, America’s future leaders
assume roles in the fictional “National” and “Federal” political parties, run for and hold offices that mirror
their state’s elective offices, and in one jam-packed week learn fundamentals about the legislative
process, the three branches of government, and parliamentary procedure.
Students selected to participate in this prestigious program learn life-long lessons in leadership
grounded in civility, teamwork, advocacy, consensus-building and respect. They have fun. They make
lasting friendships. And they leave enriched, using what they learn throughout their lives for the
betterment of our country.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How are participants chosen?
Participating American Legion Auxiliary Units across Mississippi evaluate potential leadership qualities of
the delegate applicants. Referrals may come from local high school principals and guidance counselors,
Junior ROTC commanders, or parents of interested participants.
Girls are eligible to attend if they meet the following criteria:
- have completed their Junior year in high school government and current events
- have high moral character
- possess strong leadership abilities
- have an above average scholastic standing
- have a desire to learn
The Department of Mississippi typically hosts 250 girls each year for its Magnolia Girls State session.
What are the goals of the program?
- to develop leadership and pride in American citizens
- to educate delegates about our system of government
- to instill in delegates a greater understanding of American traditions
- to stimulate a desire to maintain our government processes
What does a typical session include?
The citizens are divided into two mythical political "parties." The parties do not reflect the two major
political parties in today's system, but allow citizens to gain a special knowledge of how the system
works. Elections are held to fill city and state positions. Activities include legislative sessions,
campaigning, party rallies, debating, and voting. The citizens also receive instruction in Parliamentary
This "hands on" method is unique and extremely effective. ALA Girls State affords participants an
opportunity to live together as self-governing citizens by informing them about the duties, privileges, rights
and responsibilities of American citizenship and hopefully encourages their participation in the democratic
process as they progress into adulthood. Additional activities include: journalism, singing,city skit night,
field trips, group Vespers, and patriotic ceremonies.
How are these programs funded?
The program is funded by each state's American Legion Auxiliary Department, with some additional
support coming from other civic and non-profit organizations. The Girls Nation program is funded by the
national organization of the Auxiliary, with some support from each participating state.
Are college scholarships opportunities available? YES!
Worldwide electronics leader Samsung endowed a scholarship fund of $5 million to be administered by
The American Legion in 1996, meant to show appreciation for U.S. veterans who came to Korea's aid
during its struggle against communist forces in the Korean War.
College scholarship applications are restricted to high school juniors who attend the current session of
either The American Legion Boys State or American Legion Auxiliary Girls State program and are a direct
descendant - i.e. child, grandchild, great-grandchild, etc. - or a legally adopted child of a wartime veteran
who served on active duty during at least one of the periods of war officially designated as eligibility
dates for American Legion membership.
Samsung scholarships are for undergraduate study only and may be used for tuition, books, fees, and
room and board. Winners are selected according to academic record, involvement in school and
community activities, community service and financial need. Applicants who are direct descendants of
Korean War veterans will receive special consideration.
College scholarship applications are due no later than arrival upon a participant’s arrival at American
Legion Boys State or American Legion Auxiliary Girls State. All applications must be submitted using the
online application system by this time. Participants should check their individual program coordinator as to
whether or not the coordinator desires them to bring a hard copy of their submitted application materials.
2016 Samsung American Legion Scholarship--Apply Online
Mississippi-Based College Scholarships
Various ALA Units in Mississippi offer college scholarship opportunities to participants of Magnolia Girls
State each year, named in honor or memory of Legion and Auxiliary members. These scholarships vary
in amount, but all participants are welcome to apply. Please complete the below application and bring it
and accompanying documents to the 2016 session. The applications are to be submitted at check-in on
the first day of Magnolia Girls State.
These college scholarship opportunities are for undergraduate study only and may be used for tuition,
books, fees, and room and board. Recipients are selected by the Magnolia Girls State Scholarship
Committee, according to academic record, involvement in school and community activities, community
service and financial need.
2016 College Scholarship Application (pdf)
(college scholarships offered by various Mississippi Units, Legion Posts, and other providers)
Southern Miss Scholarship
The University of Southern Mississippi will offer a $1,000 tuition scholarship to each delegate who
chooses to attend Southern Miss and is duly accepted/admitted upon graduation from high school.
Other Important Information (also see Fact Sheet included in application)
Delegates are expected to complete the week’s program, unless a family emergency arises. Delegates
must be present at the opening session on the first day.
Cell phones may be brought to the session, but can only be used during designated times. Under no
circumstance are cell phones allowed in any of the sessions or meetings.
Three meals are provided daily at the university’s dining facility. Vending machines with snacks and
drinks are located in each dormitory. Additional city shirts and other Girls State items will be available for
purchase at the ALA Girls State Store.
At ALA Magnolia Girls State, each delegate will share a dorm room with another delegate in one of the
residence halls at Southern Miss. Each floor of the dorm will constitute a “city,” with a population of no
more than 24 citizens.
Citizens will not be allowed to leave the campus area assigned to ALA Girls State. No visitors are
allowed. Smoking is strictly prohibited. Citizens driving cars to Southern Miss must turn in their car keys
to their Senior Counselor at check-in.
An information packet will be e-mailed to the delegate once her application card has been received at the
Although time for recreation is planned, ALA Girls State is not a recreational camp.
Only authorized American Legion Auxiliary Units may SPONSOR delegates to Girls State.
PATRONS may be used for financial assistance with registration fee.
Must be in good health, with a required examination by the girl’s physician (M.D.). The physician’s report
must be issued no more than ten days prior to the opening of ALA Girls State and must be presented at
check-in. No one will be accepted without it. A Unit may send a physically challenged delegate. Special
arrangements will be made to accommodate special needs.
Delegates may participate in several other activities of Girls State: the Glee Club or the Alagista (a
“yearbook” made of the delegates and events of the week). Each city will develop a city project to be
judged at the end of the week and a city skit to be presented on Wednesday evening of the session.
Professional pictures are taken early in the week, including a group photo of all delegates and counselors
and another of the city. Also, representatives from state universities and colleges will make up our
College Day to provide higher education information.
Speaking to the Delegates
Mississippi Governor Haley
Barbour speak to the delegates
at the 2006 Girls State session
(Photo by Steve Rouse.)
Folding Pocket Flags for Troops
2010 Girls State delegates
|Two citizens from
Mississippi's Magnolia Girls
State program will be
selected to represent their
state as Senators at ALA Girls
Nation, a gathering of
delegates from participating
state ALA Girls State
programs in the country. The
session is held in
Washington, D.C.. With the
focus of the week being on
the federal government
|Carly Adcock of Pascagoula hangs her
campaign poster at Pulley Hall on The
University of Southern Mississippi
Hattiesburg campus Saturday. Adcock
participated in the 62nd annual Girls State,
a weeklong program that teaches rising high
school seniors from across the state about
the inner workings of state and local
government and politics. (Southern Miss
Public Relations Photo by David Tisdale)
We are now on Facebook! Join our group: Magnolia Girls State Alumni.
|2016 ALA Girls State Brochure (pdf)
2016 Unit-Sponsored Application (pdf)
2016 Non-Unit Sponsored Application (pdf)
Please note that applications, with fees*, are due to the Department Office,
via sponsoring unit, by April 1, 2016 (which means applicants must return the completed
Unit-Sponsored delegate application to the local Unit for consideration by March 15, 2016).
For applicants who do not have access to a local ALA Unit, please use the Non-Unit Sponsored
application form. Send the completed packet and registration fee* to the Dept. of Mississippi
Headquarters in Jackson, MS, by April 1, 2016. The Girls State Committee will review the
application and notify the applicant of acceptance.
*The local Unit and/or applicant may seek out support funding/Patrons for the registration fee from:
the local Unit and/or Legion Post, applicant's parent/family member,
local business or civic organization, or school.
Limited registration fee assistance is available, based on need. Please contact the
Girls State Director, via email, or the Department Office for further information.