South Dakota American Legion Auxiliary


Girls State

Cheryl M. Hovorka
ALA SD Girls State Director/Chairman
816 Park Street
Yankton, SD 57078-3427
605/665-5635 (H)
605/677-5702 (W)

For nearly 70 years, the American Legion Auxiliary has provided citizenship education for America’s female high school juniors. A few hundred girls participated during the early years; now about 20,000 annually, bringing our total to nearly a million.

The American Legion Auxiliary South Dakota Girls State program will continue to grow and achieve great things during the 2017 ALA Girls State session. The 71st annual ALA SD Girls State will be May 29 – June 3, 2017 on the campus of The University of South Dakota, Vermillion.

The W. O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership will be the campus organizer. A memorial service is planned following opening session on Monday evening. Patriotism and flag etiquette are promoted throughout the week. For those who want to continue their physical training, USD ROTC cadets will conduct morning exercise and running sessions as well as flag etiquette. The ALA Girls State Chorus will present a concert on Friday evening. Local judicial personnel are responsible for the legal portion of the session and local law enforcement officials will work with the law enforcement session. Local and state governmental officials will mentor the city, county, House, and Senate assemblies as well as the Citizens Forum. The Al Neuharth Media Center will be home to Journalism City with Chuck Baldwin serving as mentor. The USD ITS staff will assist with the electronic voting for the city, county and state elections.

As in the past, we will host a college fair day where South Dakota colleges, universities and technical schools as well as the military recruiters will be invited to participate. The fair will be held on Wednesday afternoon during ALA Girls State week. The SD National Guard will once again offer a self-defense demonstration and the Yankton Police Department Special Response Team are also scheduled to participate.

All ALA SD Girls State information and mailings are sent directly to the unit. Please complete the data form and return to me. If the form is not returned, the information will be sent to the Unit President. Please note that Journalism City has a deadline of February 1st. It is very important you contact the schools to see if they may have someone that would be interested in Journalism City even though the school may not have a school newspaper. The Journalism City applications will be mailed to the units in the December mailing from Department Headquarters. The application material for the regular session of ALA SD Girls State will be mailed February 1st with a due date of April 1st.

Last year we implemented an online registration and the online version will be used again for the 2017 session. We are modifying the process so please watch for updated information in future bulletins and the Legionette.

Journalism City will remain the same because part of their application is providing samples of their articles and letters of recommendation but once the girls are accepted into Journalism City they will be emailed the information to complete the online registration. We will accept fourteen journalists and besides Journalism City, the journalists will be assigned to a regular city so that they can be involved in various activities throughout the week. They won’t be able to run for any offices as their primary objective for the week will be to produce and gather the news to publish the daily paper, Sacajawea Scroll. They will be instructed by a qualified journalism counselor and staff. Each day Tuesday through Friday a different source of the media will be invited to join them for a lunch/roundtable discussion (newspaper, magazine, radio and TV). This will give them an opportunity to network with professional staff in each of those areas.

It is the responsibility of each Unit to make the final selection for all ALA SD Girls State Citizens. The Units need to work with the schools and outline our program including the qualifications needed for participation. Ask schools for a list of students fitting our criteria, but make it clear that the American Legion Auxiliary sponsors ALA Girls State and the final selection rests with the Unit. There is no Unit quota so if you have several delegates that are interested in attending but you do not have the funding, be sure to ask businesses and organizations in your community if they would be willing to help sponsor or co-sponsor a delegate.

It is important the girls know their local American Legion Auxiliary Unit sponsors them. Please notify the delegates who the unit ALA Girls State Chairman is. If the girl cannot attend, she needs to contact the Unit ALA Girls State Chairman, so the alternate can be notified, and the information sent to the ALA Girls State Registrar. The Units need to inform the delegate if she chooses not to attend and there is no alternate, the delegate is responsible for reimbursing the Unit for the registration fee.

Who is eligible to attend ALA Girls State?
• Finishing her junior year of high school and one semester of high school remaining;
• High moral character with strong leadership abilities and above average scholastic standing;
• Attend the FULL session of ALA Girls State. NO PERMISSION WILL BE GRANTED TO ATTEND OTHER ACTIVITIES during the session. To receive awards, the FULL session must be attended.

The cut-off date of May 15, 2017, will be the last day a unit may request any changes or additions to the roster. This will allow the staff to complete the final roster, print nametags, complete room assignments, and assign usernames and passwords for the computerized voting process. Any changes received after this date will not be honored.

Auxiliary Day will be Friday, June 2nd, so please plan to spend the day to visit your program. If you wish to attend the banquet that evening, please notify the ALA Girls State Director so that arrangements can be made with Aramark to have the correct meal count.

The citizens of ALA SD Girls State are our young leaders and by providing a week of enthusiasm, patriotism, and service; as well as pride in our country, our organization and its accomplishments, the girls will leave with positive attitudes and strong desires to make this world a better place.