American Legion Auxiliary…more than just Empire Girls State

The American Legion Auxiliary provides many opportunities for young people. One such opportunity is the Junior Auxiliary. There are ways to be involved both locally, with others in your county at both the county and department level.  I have held several county positions, one was Junior County and at the Department(state) level, I am the current Department Honorary Junior President. This means I campaigned and ran for office just like we have done at the American Legion Auxiliary Empire Girls State to secure this position. During this year, I have had the opportunity to run several meetings where Juniors have worked on projects supporting veterans and military families. The American Legion Auxiliary is an organization that not only helps the veterans, but their families as well.  Everyone volunteers to raise money in order to fund the service, programs and activities that we provide for veterans and their families. But it doesn’t stop at fundraising, there are many opportunities to volunteer at events, and donate materials or services.

Another opportunity the American Legion Auxiliary gives young women is the American Legion Auxiliary Empire Girls State program.  At ALA EGS, I have met a lot of supportive people and made many new friends. On the very first day, we jumped into activities like electing party leaders and senators, holding county elections, and deciding which committee we wanted to serve on.  The flag ceremony taught us to respect the flag, how to handle it properly, and what it stands for. We also enjoyed our time on our dorm floors, with our ALA Girls State county, and of course the dining hall! There was a selection of different foods to choose from at breakfast and dinner, and for late night food we had a place called Trax. There was also a little store next to Trax.

The American Legion provides many opportunities, and I am very glad I have had the chance to hold office and to attend American Legion Auxiliary Empire Girls State. I urge you to get involved with the American Legion Auxiliary locally. There are so many opportunities to give back to your community, support military families, and honor our veterans. Channel the sense of pride and Americanism instilled in you during your week at ALA Empire Girls State and use it help others. Consider getting involved with the American Legion Auxiliary either as a member or as a volunteer and know that together we do make a difference.


MacKayla McDaniels
2018 American Legion Auxiliary Department of New York Junior President
2018 American Legion Auxiliary Empire Girls State Citizen, O’Connor County

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Failing Forward

The last few days have reminded me about my favorite parts of  The American Legion Auxiliary Empire Girls State program. They are the losses, the failures, and the train wrecks. While initially this might seem cruel, these losses remind me of my time at the American Legion Auxiliary Empire Girls State Program. When I finished my week as a citizen, my dad thanked the American Legion Auxiliary for “picking up where he left off, and taking me where he couldn’t take me.” That’s why I came back as a counselor. So that I could pick up where these girls’ parents left off. They have raised them to be strong, intelligent, amazing,  young women (with a long list of qualifications!) but what parents often can’t do is show them failure, push them to exhaustion and make them crash and burn.

Girls State is thus far the only place I’ve seen our young women learn this lesson consistently and effectively every year. The girls run against each other and find out that, unlike their hometowns, where they are the shoe-in to win every time, they have to find a way to stand out and raise the bar. If they don’t, they lose, and many of these girls aren’t used to losing.  They finally find out who they really are, what is at their core, what their insecurities are. Then, they break through those barriers and learn that they can still win and find success, not by hiding their perceived flaws as they have in their hometowns, but by admitting and embracing them. This is what makes them unique and vulnerable. Sure, sometimes they still lose the election. But they gain self-empowerment by taking that step. The world hurts people sometimes and the sooner we learn to get up, dust ourselves off, and push forward, the stronger we are. Better yet, the sooner we learn to identify when someone else needs help getting back on their feet, the stronger our community becomes.

You can see it in the girls – a creeping sense of “on the verge of something awe-inspiring.” They can’t quite see it in themselves, and they probably won’t recognize it for years, but it’s there. It’ll be there when they sit at college graduation, when they officially move out, when they get their first big-girl job, and forever. More importantly, it will be there when they fail a class, get their heart broken, or get fired. When they fail they will know themselves, they will hurt and cry and wish it hadn’t happened. But what they won’t do is give up. They will not shut down, they will not crumble. They will get up, dust themselves off, and push on. Why? Because American Legion Auxiliary Empire Girls State picked up where their families left off and taught them how to fail. This is the strength that will ultimately allow them to succeed over and over in life.


Claire Herrman
American Legion Auxiliary Member
ALA Empire Girls State Senior Counselor
2011 Federalist Party Leader
2011 ALA Girls Nation Senator

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ALA Empire Girls State Gazette, Vol 3, Issue 3

Check out the latest edition of the American Legion Auxiliary Empire Girls State Gazette!

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Special Edition of the ALA Empire Girls State Gazette!

Check out the latest edition of the American Legion Auxiliary Empire Girls State Gazette!

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Pushing Past Societal Expectations at ALA Empire Girls State

Hello everyone, my name is Sophie LaForest. My time here at American Legion Auxiliary Empire Girls State has been amazing.  I’ve grown up in government; my mom has worked in New York State government for almost twenty-five years. Right now, she is the Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets. At ALA Empire Girls State, my county executive appointed me the Commissioner of Agriculture.

ALA Empire Girls State (EGS) has been super interesting to me because I have seen this whole process in real life. I have shadowed my assemblywoman, Pat Fahey, and sat in and helped vote on bills. Soon, we’ll be voting on our own ALA EGS bills. I’ve written many letters to congressmen and women, but now I know how to properly draft a bill! This opportunity has given me deeper understanding and appreciation of the real-world experiences I’ve had. I campaigned for Governor Cuomo starting in third grade, and since have been involved in as many local elections as I’ve known about. But, never have I campaigned myself. I ran for Governor of EGS Tuesday night. All the while thinking of all of the amazing women that came from all over New York State and thrive in government.

While my mom always said it’s a popularity contest, the girls here don’t treat campaigning, and elections as such. I’ve learned that the citizens of ALA EGS are focused on the speeches and how each candidate carries herself. Many girls made posters or handed out candy or even met with different floors, but the biggest thing were the speeches. They offered the most insight into the women running for office. Campaigning in the real world is harder because we need to inform people of the election before we can start talking candidates.

Kirsten Gillibrand spoke at my sister’s graduation and inspired me to really push myself.  As a woman, I have a duty to push past societal expectations and to empower more generations.  ALA Empire Girls State has offered me that exact opportunity. The opportunity to take risks with little consequence of failing.  The environment here is incredibly supportive and the brilliance of all these girls is astounding. I would like to close with a thank you to my mom, Pat Fahey, Kirsten Gillibrand and Hillary Rodham Clinton for inspiring me to be politically active and giving me my voice. Thank you to everyone at ALA EGS for allowing me to TRY. Without the girls and staff here, I really could not have done this!

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ALA Empire Girls State Gazette Vol 3, Issue 2

Check out the American Legion Auxiliary Empire Girls State Gazette Volume 3, Issue 2!

 

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Empire Girls State: Sisterhood, Compassion, & Leadership

Empire Girls State:
Sisterhood, Compassion, & Leadership

 

Monday July 2, 2018

Every year, during the first week of July, people ask me why I volunteer my time to American Legion Auxiliary Empire Girl State. I can safely say that it’s not because of the air conditioning (or lack thereof) or even the super “comfy” dorm beds, it is because of what I got to experience as a citizen. It has been six years since I was a fresh faced citizen of American Legion Auxiliary Empire Girl State(EGS). I remember coming in to this program with a shallow knowledge of what the week would entail. I knew of the elections, and campaigning, even the focus on Americanism. Being born on Flag day, I was more than willing to participate. Little did I know, I would be making bonds that would last a lifetime, and that the women I would spend my very hot week at American Legion Auxiliary EGS with, would affect my future in more ways than one. Being surrounded by equally strong and empowered women, is intimidating but worth it! I learned so much about politics, America and surprisingly myself. The American Legion Auxiliary Empire Girl State is a hidden gem among leadership programs. The ALA provides young women with an amazing opportunity to not only learn about politics and America, but also about themselves.

So, returning to the question of why do I continue to return to American Legion Auxiliary EGS? I say, American Legion Auxiliary EGS is something that you have to experience to understand the level of sisterhood, and compassion that these women learn for each other and our country. I am proud to return to American Legion Auxiliary EGS every year as a staff member, and be a part of the continued growth of this program and all that it offers to young women!

Lindsey Krempa
American Legion Auxiliary Member
ALA Empire Girls State Senior Counselor
2012 Ross County Sheriff
2012 ALA EGS Lt. Governor

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Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Hear Ye, Year Ye!

Each year the ALA Empire Girls State Citizens submit articles to the ALA Empire Girls State Gazette. The Gazette is then edited by and formatted to include some fun by the ALA Empire Girls State Secretary Wendy Privitera and published throughout the week!
Check out today’s edition!

ALA Empire Girls State Gazette Volume 3 Issue 1

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Respecting Our American Flag

7/1/2018
Today’s blog comes from the Rankin Senior Counselor Katie Dorminey. Katie is a 26 year member of the American Legion Auxiliary and is currently a Lieutenant in the United States Army. Today’s blog provides insight into what the American Flag means to her and the importance of respecting and honoring the flag. Throughout the week at the American Legion Auxiliary Empire Girls State program participants will participate in a variety of activities and ceremonies that promote Americanism and respect for the American Flag.

Sometimes, the American Flag comes off of the coffins of  military service members, police, firefighters, and other civil servants who paid an ultimate price in order to protect American people. During those sobering occasions, the flag is draped over the coffin of the lost, and is carried into the funeral ceremony on the shoulders of the Fallen’s Brothers and Sisters in Arms- – other Public Servants . Next, another group of the service member’s brothers and sisters lift the Flag off of the coffin, and then with great deliberation and reverence, fold this flag neatly into a triangle. One of the members carefully takes the flag and, after closely holding it to their heart, hands the flag to the Family of the Fallen.

If you cannot show reverence to  “just a flag”, then perhaps you can express some gratitude to the little boy who lost his mother when she was caught in an accident while fighting in Iraq. Or perhaps to the wife of the firefighter who had gone bravely into a falling building to ensure someone else’s safety and did not come back out. If you cannot feel gratitude when you see the stars and stripes, perhaps you can feel gratitude to the thousands and thousands of young men who suffered through long, arduous tours in Europe and central Asia, solely because their moral calling to protect the American People was stronger than their fear of what lay ahead.

I say these things not to spread guilt or shame. It took me a long time to fully understand what I was really looking at when I was looking at the American Flag, and that understanding continues to deepen and shift as I grow up. When I look at the Flag now, or have the opportunity to sing the Star Spangled Banner or say The Pledge of Allegiance, I take it very seriously. And I expect those around me to take this seriously. If you can’t honor a Red, White, and Blue banner, I hope that you can at least pay respect to your neighbors who have placed your well being in higher priority than their own.

 

 

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Hello from ALA Empire Girls State 2017!

Phew! What a fast 36 hours we have had! The girls arrived, settled in, found their cheering voices and have had a lot of fun! To get a glimpse of the fun and see what we have been up to, I present to you our First  ALA Empire Girls State Gazette !

Volume 2 issue 1 2017

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