June 2012 Column: Ivey’s 50th Consecutive Year at Girls State
Lt. Governor Ivey Speaks at Girls State
As a high school student, Ivey was elected Girls State Lt. Governor...
The 2012 session of Girls State marked Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey’s 50th consecutive year of participation. This year Girls State convened June 6-10, at Troy University in Troy, Alabama, with more than 330 young ladies from across the state participating. The session was particularly special in that it marked the 70th anniversary of Girls State. The program, sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary, began in 1942 with the goal of providing citizenship development opportunities for high school seniors. The American Legion Auxiliary has maintained that focus throughout the years and today there are programs in every state, as well as a national program known as Girls Nation. Lieutenant Governor Ivey was invited to address the delegates on June 10th because of her high school experience as a Girls State participant, her persistent dedication to the organization and her achievements as a public official. In her address, she stressed the fact that for 70 years Girls State has provided a legacy of leadership, a heritage of honor and a foundation for future success.
As a high school student, Ivey was elected Girls State Lt. Governor, which she says was a life changing experience. After high school, she took many of the lessons and experiences from Girls State with her to Auburn University, where she was elected Vice-President of the Student Body. Subsequently, through her many years of public service, Ivey has often applied lessons and principles learned at Girls State. Miss Chandler Shields of Madison, Alabama, was elected this year’s Lieutenant Governor at the Troy assembly. She visited Lt. Governor Kay Ivey on Capitol Day and had her photo taken in the Lt. Governor’s chair. Chandler and the other delegates began their week with a sense of excitement…but she never envisioned that she would finish the session as a state constitutional officer. What happens during the Girls State week to help unexpected dreams come true?
Upon arrival, girls are assigned to mock cities, where they live for the session. The cities are grouped into counties, and the counties into a mythical state. During the program, which is operated in accordance with the basic laws of the state of Alabama, girls elect their own city, county and state officials and learn the duties of the various offices, conduct elections, introduce and pass bills in their own legislature and make and enforce ordinances regulating their cities. Every student holds a definite, integral role in the functions of Girls State. The Program includes one day at the State Capitol, viewing state government in operation and gaining first-hand knowledge from officials, some of which are their counterparts.
In commenting about the Girls State experience, Lt. Governor Ivey noted that the girls are, for the first time in their life, out of their comfort zone. She said, “Their friends and buddies from home aren’t there and the separation forces them to form bonds and alliances through working with each other in and around the program’s hands-on activities. The combination of knowledge and experience builds confidence in the girls.” Girls State Director Lee Sellers reiterated that while the lessons in government were important, so were the relationships forged. She noted, “Girls leave here with a much better understanding of how government functions and over 300 new friends!” In her address to the delegates, Ivey said, “Girls State was based on the ideals of a legacy of leadership, a heritage to honor and a future to form. People do not have to be elected to an office to be influential as citizens. With our precious freedom, the individual has worth…the individual can make a difference. If the tradition continues, there’s a good chance Miss Chandler Shields may be elected to serve as Alabama’s Lieutenant Governor in the future.”
To learn more about Girls State 2012 go to: http://troy.troy.edu/girlsstate/index.html
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