Citizens and Parents/Guardians

 

Who sponsors the program?

The American Legion Auxiliary Department (State) of New York sponsors Empire Girls State. Founded in 1919, the American Legion Auxiliary is the world’s largest patriotic women’s service organization, with a membership of nearly 850,000. Local American Legion Auxiliary Units have a strong presence in more than 9,500 communities nationwide. The American Legion Auxiliary’s mission to serve veterans, their families and their communities is carried out through its hundreds of outreach programs delivered by its members, volunteers and National Headquarters. To learn more about the American Legion Auxiliary,  visit the Department of New York’s website at www.deptny.org or the National Organization’s website at www.alaforveterans.org

 Who is eligible to attend?

To be eligible to participate in the Empire Girls State Program, a girl must be:

  1. Between the ages of 15 and 18.
  2. Academically in the upper third of her class.
  3. A member of the Junior class in Senior High School (including those who are Home Schooled) at the close of the current school year and planning to re-enter school for her Senior year.
  4. Recommended by the High School Principal or Superintendent, certifying the candidate possesses outstanding qualities of leadership, character, honesty, scholarship, cooperation and maturity.  Final selection will be made after each candidate has been interviewed by the local American Legion Auxiliary Unit.
  5. Is fit – this program is strenuous physically, mentally and emotionally.
  6. Interested in the program and willing to participate in all phases of the program including flag ceremonies.
  7. Present for the entire session.  No passes to leave the campus will be granted at any time during the session.
  8. Two (2) or more girls may be selected from the same school district provided they are sponsored by different organizations.
  9. Girls need not be members of the American Legion or the American Legion Auxiliary families.
  10. The Board of Directors reserves the right to accept or reject any application for citizenship in Empire Girls State.  During the session, the Board may dismiss any girl for violation of rules of the State.  In such case, fees will not be refunded.
  11.  Each participant must bring a state issued photo identification card (drivers license, State Identification card, or passport) with them to Empire Girls State.

1. Location

Empire Girls State is held on the beautiful campus at The College of Brockport, part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. Photographs of the campus are included in the videos and promotional materials on our website. You may also take a look at this wonderful facility by visiting the college website at www.brockport.edu or take a virtual tour of the campus at http://www.brockport.edu/tour/. Of special interest might be information on the residence halls (we traditionally stay in Mortimer, Benedict, or Dobson Halls) , dining services (we eat at Brockaway or Harrison dining halls), and campus safety and security.

2. Safety

Our Staff members are trained in accordance with the New York State Board of Health requirements by the staff at The College of Brockport. We have two registered nurses on our Empire Girls State Staff to assist our citizens during their week with any medical needs they may have.

The College at Brockport has a fully operational University Police Department (UP). The UP consists of 26 NYS Trooper-trained police officers who are visible and on call 24 hours a day to ensure our safety throughout our stay on campus.

3. EGS Staff

In accordance with the New York State Board of Health requirements we have a staff to student ratio of 1:10.  In addition to our two nurses and administrative staff, American Legion Auxiliary members serve as housemothers and former Girls State citizens volunteer as counselors.  Together with political instructors our team mentors and support current citizens throughout their week at Empire Girls State.

4. Packing Tips

It is important to pack lightly! For security purposes Parents are not allowed in the building and citizens will have to carry their own luggage (possibly up several flights of stairs).

Things to bring to Empire Girls State:

  1. Prom dress (or a formal dress) and the shoes that go with it
  2. A small Fan (no air conditioning!)
  3. Knee Length (or longer) shorts, skirts, capris, or pants of any color or print. Jeans will only be permitted during free time.
  4. Comfortable clothes to wear during free time (Gym shorts, sweats, t shirts, tank tops, jeans, etc.)
  5. Comfortable shoes to walk in.
  6. Flip flops or other shoes to wear in the shower.
  7. Basic toiletries and hygiene products.
  8. Materials to make campaign posters or signs (posterboard, paper, markers, paint, etc.)
  9. Blue and gold clothing and materials that you will use once you find out what political party you are assigned to!
  10. Some spending money for snacks, late night pizza parties, and souvenirs!
  11. Singles and change for the vending machines.
  12. Sheets, pillows, towels.
  13. A great attitude for a great week!

DO NOT BRING:

  1. Pre printed, or pre made campaign materials
  2. Shorts or skirts that are above the knee
  3. Drugs or Alcohol
  4. Computer or Printer (There is no wireless internet connection available to participants and we work hard to ensure that all candidates have equal opportunities)
  5. Cell Phone Use:

Girls State is a cell phone free learning environment similar to that found in most high schools. Citizens are not permitted to use cell phones outside of the dormitory, as they will be working hard during general sessions, committee work, and campaigning.  Citizens will be allowed to use their phones during “scheduled” free time, and in the evenings when all county business is complete each day. Don’t fret friends and family, our schedule is full and you may not hear from your daughter or loved one until later in the evenings as the citizens are often working on the program until 9pm or 10pm! If a citizen is found using her cell phone during the session it will be confiscated, inventoried, and housed in the Empire Girls State Office until check out on Saturday morning. Citizens who have their phones confiscated will need to make arrangements with our staff to make phone calls.

***Please be advised that citizens should bring a camera OTHER than their cell phone with them to Empire Girls State***

6. Additional Opportunities

 A. College Credit Information

Empire Girls State, unlike many camps, allows you to apply for 3 college credits!  This means that girls who attend Empire Girls State and complete the program have completed one step towards earning 3 college credits!

B. Samsung Scholarship

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, the Samsung American Legion Scholarship Program established a series of scholarships derived from interest and other income from the principal amount. In 2012, they estimate that they will award at least seven  $20,000 scholarships.

Each year approximately 200 Empire Girls State citizens apply for the Samsung Scholarship. We select one citizen to compete with Boys and Girls State citizens from across the country for one of the $20,000 Samsung scholarships.

Am I eligible to apply for the Samsung American Legion Scholarship?

Scholarships are restricted to high school juniors who complete either a Boys State or Girls State program and are a direct descendant – i.e. child, grandchild, great grandchild- or allegedly 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.

You are eligible to participate if you complete the Empire Girls State Program and you are able to prove through documentation that you are a descendant (child, grandchild, great grandchild, or a legally adopted child) of a U.S. wartime veteran who served on active duty during one or more of the periods of war officially designated as eligible. Those include:

WWI: April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918
WWII: December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946
Korean War: June 25, 1950 to January 31, 1955
Vietnam War: February 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975
Lebanon and Grenada: August 24, 1982 to July 31, 1984
Panama: December 20, 1989 to January 31, 1990
Persian Gulf War: August 2, 1990 to cessation of hostilities as determined by the U.S. government

What is acceptable documentation?

Documentation showing veteran served on active duty during eligibility period(s) indicated on the front page of the application must be submitted. A copy is acceptable, and will not be returned. Types of acceptable documentation may include, but are not limited to, copies of DD214, Department of Defense documents, Department of  the Army documents, Department of the Navy documents, Department of Air Force documents, Department of Veterans Affairs documents (federal or state), American Legion documents, Obituaries, and entries in a family Bible or Holy Scriptures. Your school seal is required on the 1st page of the application.

How can I obtain proof of military service?

A  Standard Form 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records, is used to apply for proof of military service regardless of whether the individual served on regular active duty or in the selected reserves. This request form is NOT processed by VA. Rather, Standard Form 180 is completed and mailed to the appropriate custodian of military service records. Instructions are provided on the reverse of the form to assist in determining the correct forwarding address.

A copy of this form is located at: www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/docs/standard_form_180.pdf

Please note that this information was obtained from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. For more information about proper documentation or to find a local office near you visit their website at http://www.va.gov/

How can I apply?

  1. Download the instructions and application at http://www.legion.org/scholarships/samsung
  2. NO HANDWRITTEN APPLICATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED.
  3. Submit completed application along with documentation showing veteran served on active duty during eligibility period(s) AT THE TIME OF CHECK IN we need a PRINTED COPY OF THE ENTIRE APPLICATION.
  4. Late applications cannot be accepted because applications are immediately judged at Empire Girls State by a preselected panel of judges

If I win the scholarship, how can I use it?

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.

C. Girls Nation

Since 1947 Girls Nation has provided aspiring young women leaders firsthand experience with practical insight into how the federal government works. Two girls are selected from each Girls State program to attend Girls Nation, where they become “senators” who meet for a weeklong immersive learning in Washington, D.C. Senators campaign for the passage of mock legislation, submitting bills and resolutions, participating in Senate sessions, holding a national convention, and electing officials such as President and Vice President. The participants meet with real-life national government leaders. The highlight of the week includes a visit to the White House where for most years, the American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation senators have visited with the President of the United States. Special field trips include visits to the Arlington National Cemetery, Monument Tours, and a day on Capitol Hill meeting with State Senators and Representatives. While the event may happen once in a life-time, the memories made last a life-time!

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