Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Apply to Rhododendron Girls State

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Apply to Rhododendron Girls State

The applications for the 2023 Rhododendron Girls State are now open! This is an opportunity for girls in the junior class who have a minimum of a 2.75 GPA. Now, you might be feeling confused on “What is Girls State?” Well, this week-long camp changed my life, and I encourage you to join in on this experience. Here are the top five reasons why you should apply to attend!

#1: The Community Experience: When you arrive on Sunday, June 11, the first order of business is that you will be split into “communities.” These are assignments of the dorms since this takes place on the college campus of Davis and Elkins. The communities are named accordingly based off counties in West Virginia. For example, last year I was in the community of Randolph. Each community will also have two counselors, and you might just see me back this coming year filling that role. With over 200 girls from all over the state that attend, you are bound to find a new best friend. Fortunately for myself, I found two of my future college roommates through Girls State and still keep in touch daily with other girls from camp. 

#2: The Election: Since Girls State is a camp aimed at teaching about how our state government works, the main event is the mock election. The positions that are available to run for are just like our government. These include Commissioner of Agriculture, Treasurer, Auditor, Secretary of State, Attorney General and Governor. Just like our political world, there are two main parties. At Girls State, you are randomly assigned to a party, Federalist or Nationalist. From here, if you are interested in running for a position, you have to win the primary within your party. Candidates speak in front of their party and create posters to campaign. A vote is conducted to get it down to two candidates, one from each party. In the governor’s position, the two candidates selected face off in a debate and deliver a speech. A final vote is counted and the winners are announced. I was lucky enough to be voted as the 2022 Girls State governor. The announcement and receiving a standing ovation from 200 of my peers was a core memory I will never forget. With this position, over the past year I have represented the American Legion Auxiliary and RGS at various events throughout the state.

#3: A Fantastic Resume Builder: Since Girls State is not exclusive to West Virginia, it looks impressive on resumes. The learning experience as a whole throughout the week is incomparable. We heard from West Virginia’s finest including both Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin, Secretary of State Mac Warner, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, former Secretary of State and WVU mountaineer Natalie Tennant, State Auditor J.B. McCuskey, and Delegate Amy Summers. You will also have the chance for prestigious scholarships after attending such as the Samsung Scholarship.

#4: The Tradition: After attending Girls State, you are truly a “Girls State Girl” until the end of time. The traditions run deep since 1941 when Rhododendron Girls State was started. Three traditions which have stood are the Inauguration ceremony, the flag ceremonies, and the Friendship Circle. Inauguration takes place at the end of the week honoring the newly elected officials. The white dress attire is the staple of the week. The flag ceremonies take place every morning and evening and pertain to the raising and lowering of our flag. The American Legion Auxiliary is the sponsor for the event, and their core values include leadership, citizenship, and most importantly patriotism. You definitely receive a further love for our great United States after the week is over. The Friendship Circle is the “final hoorah” of the camp in which we honor those who have family members currently serving in the military and establish the sisterhood formed through the week. Without giving too much away, this was a tear-filled event in the best way possible for most.

#5: The Fun: Now it isn’t just all learning, there are so many moments of fun! Each night at Girls State, there is a talent show. This allows anyone willing to show off. Whether this be opera singing or a comedy act, anything goes at Girls State. At the end of the week, each community creates a skit to perform. For the community of Randolph, we danced to “High School Musical.” Another event that takes place is the grand parade. With your political party, you craft posters, make chants or cheers, and walk through the campus as a parade. And the Field Day is filled with outdoor competitive games. There is truly something for all personalities at Girls State. 

So what are you waiting for? Get those applications in! Join me at Rhododendron Girls State from June 11th to the 16th on the campus of Davis and Elkins for a life changing experience. You won’t regret it!