American Legion Girls State

American Legion Auxiliary Girls State is a week-long practical study of the structure and operation of North Carolina State Government. The non-partisan program takes a hands-on approach to learning how state and local governments function.

Since the inception of the Girls State program in 1937, nearly one million young women have had the opportunity to learn first-hand how their state and local government works. Tar Heel Girls State was first held in 1940 and is the nation’s longest continuous-running Girls State program, not having suspended sessions during World War II.

The Girls State Program is a practical application of Americanism and good citizenship. The entire program attempts to foster a love of God and country and to foster an understanding of the responsibilities of living in a free society.

High school girls, who have completed their Junior year, spend an intensive week of study, working together as self-governing citizens at Auxiliary-sponsored Girls State programs in every state. In many cases, expenses associated with attending this program are paid by a sponsoring American Legion Auxiliary, a local business or another community-based organization. 

Two girls are selected from each Girls State program to attend Girls Nation, a national government training program. Girls Nation “senators” meet for a week in Washington, D.C., where they run for political office, campaign for the passage of legislation and possibly meet with state Representatives and Senators. Capping off the week of Girls Nation is oftentimes a meeting with the President of the United States at the White House.

Every state in the nation has a Girls State Program and each state’s program is administered by that state’s American Legion Auxiliary department. The auxiliary units within the states cooperate with local high school faculty and guidance counselor staffs to select candidates for the programs. Selection criteria for citizens in the Tar Heel Girls State Program include:

  • participants must be a high school junior at the time of selection as girls attend the program during the summer between their junior and senior year; 
  • participants must be between the ages of 16 and 18 years old and be in the top third of their junior class academically or have at least a 3.0 GPA unweighted
  • participants must be residents of North Carolina for a minimum of one year (twelve months) prior to their selection to the program; 
  • participants must be attending school in North Carolina; 
  • participants must be mature individuals capable of setting priorities and be in good physical condition to withstand the long hours and intense activities of the week; 
  • preference will be given to children and immediate family members of Veterans of the United States military; Active Duty and Military Reservists and to families affiliated with the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary.

The American Legion Auxiliary Unit 6 Chapel Hill is seeking nominations for girls to attend the 81st annual Tar Heel Girls State June 14 -20 at Catawba College in Salisbury, NC. The cost of the program is $400. Our Unit may be able to provide some assistance, if a girl is unable to pay the entire amount or is unable to obtain financial support from their school, another business or community organization.  At present we only have four slots for Orange County (5 schools), so if you have more than one interested and qualified student, please try to identify primary and secondary nominees. We may have the opportunity to obtain additional participant slots in April as other ALA Posts may not use all of their allotted registration slots.  

I appreciate your assistance in sharing information about Girls State with 11th grade girls at your school (More information on Girls State can be found at the following link:

Please review applications of interested girls at your school and send to me no later than Tuesday, March 9, 2020.  Nominations should be signed by student, parent. The bottom section should be completed by the Guidance Office. Signed pre-applications can be scanned and sent to me via email: [email protected]   

Candidates who meet the criteria will be contacted to set a time and place for interviews.

Those selected to attend will receive the final registration/application forms which should be completed and returned prior to Thursday, March 26, 2020.

Thank you for your interest in Tar Heel Girls State. If you or your students have questions regarding the selection process for Tar Heel Girls State in Orange County, please contact me via email, text or cell phone 919-624-3911.

Good Luck with your aspiring Girls Stater,

Cathy Ladd, President, Chapel Hill Unit 6, and Nominations Chair

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