2014 Bluebonnet Girls State participants
By Susan Junker BCC Contributor
Participants in the 2014 Bluebonnet Girls State include, from left, Elizabeth Collett, Katelyn Randolph, Shay McMullen, Meghan Salley, Mary Hevenor and Dana Zavorka. Congratulations to these young women, and thanks go out to their sponsors.
What a super place to live - in a community that invests in our future citizens and leadership. The Bluebonnet Girls State is a program designed to educate and develop the next generation of responsible American women in the duties, privileges, rights and responsibilities of American citizenship.
This weeklong event from June 15 through June 21 at Texas Lutheran University in Sequin teaches young women responsible citizenship and love for God and country. Since the inception of the Girls State program in 1937, nearly one million young people have had the opportunity to learn first-hand how their state and local government works. Over 500 Texas female high school juniors attend each year.
Participants also have an opportunity to compete for the Samsung scholarship - over $300,000 awarded nationally. For a nominal fee, a delegate to Girls State may also earn extra college credits. Plus, attendance is a much-respected entry on college applications.
In 2013, two girls were sent from Bandera County. This year, six are registered to attend - a three-fold increase. This jump in participation would not be possible without the support of local citizens and businesses. The cost for the week is $375 per person.
The 2014 sponsors include Judith Pannebaker, the Bandera County Republican Women, Jonas Brothers Transfer, and those who support the American Legion Auxiliary programs at Bandera Units 157 and Lakehills Unit 410. "We thank these forward-thinking sponsors, as well as the Bandera High School administration and faculty for their support," said a spokesman.
The 2014 Bandera County delegates to Girls State will learn how to participate in the functioning of their state's government in preparation for their future roles as responsible adult citizens. In a mythical 51st state, the citizens of Girls State must organize their own city, county and state governments. They elect officials in accordance with regular procedures; learn the duties of the various city, county and state offices; and introduce and debate their own bills in a legislature. Justice is administered by their law enforcement agencies and courts.
At Girls State, the young citizens "learn by doing." Two girls are selected from each state program to attend Girls Nation, a national government training program. Girls Nation "senators" meet for a week in Washington, DC, where they run for political office, campaign for the passage of legislation and meet with state representatives and senators.
More information is available at http://www.al157tx.org/girls-state.html, http://girls-state.org/ or by calling 830-796-7528.
After returning, the Bandera County participants will provide feedback to their sponsors on their experiences and what they learned. There will be more to follow when the Bandera County Girls State "graduates" return - as county commissioners, judges or even as governor!