American Legion Auxiliary | Department of Hawaii The ALA Department of Hawaii is a proud supporter of the ALA Aloha Girls State program. ALA Aloha Girls State recruits applicants from all high schools in the state and selects young women who are just completing their Junior year (with at least one more semester to complete before graduation) to attend the summer session.
Mission To provide an outstanding, unique and coveted educational opportunity for the young women of Hawai'i that instills the basic ideals and principles of American government, leadership, consensus building and civic responsibility rooted in service.
ALA's Girls State Overview Girls State is a leadership program of the American Legion Auxiliary designed to increase awareness and knowledge of governmental processes while learning about the duties, privileges, rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Delegates come away with a greater appreciation of the American Flag and of the sacrifices made by our veterans. While at Girls State, they make friends with outstanding girls from around the state and have a fun week they’ll remember for the rest of their lives. ALA Aloha Girls State is a program offered by the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) Department of Hawaii Aloha Girls State Committee.
The Auxiliary, organized in 1919 to assist the American Legion, is much more than the name implies. The organization has achieved its own unique identity while working side-by-side with the veterans who belong to The American Legion. Like the Legion, the Auxiliary's interests have broadened to encompass our entire community.
The American Legion Auxiliary is the world's largest women's patriotic service organization. Through its nearly 10,500 Units located in every state and some foreign countries, the Auxiliary embodies the spirit of America that has prevailed through war and peace. Along with the American Legion, it solidly stands behind America and her ideals.
ALA Aloha Girls State History | A Leadership Program of the American Legion Auxiliary The first ALA Aloha Girls State took place in 1961, and was called Hawai'i Girls State. It was at an Interim Board Meeting of the Auxiliary that Girls State was proposed. Earliest pioneers in Hawai'i who helped to create this program include Bette Saunders, Amy Farias, Puanani Ventura, Laura Hashimoto and many others. It was unanimously accepted, visitation at Punahou School finalized the plans, and the first ALA Aloha Girls State was held June 22-29, 1961.
(Photo from 1966 ALA Aloha Girls State)
The 1961 session had 21 girls in attendance, a $1.00 fee per girl, and a $1,000 working budget for the entire week. The session had only one county and two cities.
With the rise in costs during the 1970's and 1980's, the location changed several times including University of Hawaii, Hawaii Loa, and many other gracious hosts. During this time the fee climbed to $50 per girl and attendance grew from 21 to 29 girls in attendance each year.
The 1980s found ALA Aloha Girls State adding more instructional parts to the program: school boards, courts system, and planning commissions. Due to rising costs, ALA Hawai'i could no longer sustain ALA Hawai'i Girls State. The last ALA Hawai'i Girls State was held in 1981.
We are excited to reintroduce this prestigious program to our students and future leaders in Hawai'i.
With deepest appreciation we wish to thank and recognize the accomplishments of the American Legion Auxiliary, Department of Hawai'i.
ALA Girls Nation History Back in the depression ridden days of the early 1930s, The American Legion grew concerned over public statements to the effect that Democracy was on the skids. How, it wondered, could America train its young people in the process of self-government. Deciding that the best way to learn something was by practicing it, American Legionnaires began, in 1935, to gather teenage representatives from high schools for a few days each summer in a citizenship training program on the processes of city and state government. They called it Boys State.
As this program succeeded and spread throughout the United States, the American Legion Auxiliary began providing similar opportunities for girls of high school age. Thus, Girls State was founded. The first Girls State was conducted in 1938 and since 1948 has been a regular part of the Auxiliary's better citizenship programs. By 1980, Girls State sessions were held in all 50 states, until the next year when Hawaii was unable to participate.
ALA Girls Nation, the youth citizenship program in the processes of federal government to which Girls States send two senators each, is an annual climax to the Girls State program and has been held in the Nations' Capital for one week each summer since 1947.
All costs for ALA Girls Nation, including transportation, are financed by the American Legion Auxiliary's national organization. Through these programs, it is estimated that each summer the American Legion Auxiliary is adding 19,000 girls trained in the processes of government to a group that by the end of 2010 totaled about 1,179,000.
Some past ALA Girls Nation & ALA Girls State citizens/staff include:
Nancy Brown Park: American Legion Auxiliary National President 2013-2014
Jane Pauley: Broadcast Journalist
Ann Richards: Former Governor of Texas
Jessica Mitchell: VP of Design/Director of Apparel for Liz Claiborne
Barbara Cubin: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Wyoming
Michelle Johnson, Brigadier General : First Female Wing Commander, U.S. Air Force Academy and current deputy director of the Joint Staff's War on Terrorism, Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate at the Pentagon
Connie Morella: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Maryland
Terri Utley: Former Miss U.S.A. 1982
Kate Shindle: Former Miss America 1998, Actress, Singer, Dancer
Jennifer Dunn: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Washington
Michele Jackman*: US Army Service Award, the “Civilian Service Medal” and government agencies trainer
Sandra Dorsey Rice*: Vice President, Emma Bowen Foundation
Jessica Carroll, 2nd Lieutenant: Tennessee National Guard Airman of the Year for 2009
Becky Skillman: Lt. Governor of Indiana
Connie Lawson: Indiana Congresswoman
Erika Dunlap: Miss America 2004; participant on Amazing Race 15
Lynne Cheney: Wife of Vice President Richard Cheney
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, South Dakota
Kaye Bye: 2-time US Women's Hockey Team medalist (Gold 1998, Silver 2002)
Leeza Gibbons: Talk show host and reporter
Bolded names are former California Girls State Citizens/Staff * Girls Nation Senators
ALA ALoha Girls State Alumnae Foundation
The Primary purpose of the Girls State Foundation is to support and promote the American Legion Auxiliary's Aloha Girls State program and its alumnae. If you are an alumnae from Hawaii's original Girls State, or another state we welcome you to join our foundation!