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2014 ALA RGS Media Advisory

2014 Rhododendron Girls State Media Advisory

WHEELING, W.VA. (June 7, 2014) — The American Legion Auxiliary Dept. of West Virginia is hosting its annual Rhododendron Girls State program on the campus of Wheeling Jesuit University, June 8-13, 2014.

Nearly 400 rising high school senior girls from across West Virginia will take part in the program creating the 51st state in the union for one week each year by setting up city, county and state governments to teach the girls hands on about  citizenship, leadership and patriotism. Girls will also participate in classes on college prep, leadership, city, county and state government, as well as electives in journalism, public safety, physical fitness and chorus.

They will file for offices, campaign with posters and speeches; vote in primary and general elections and end the week with inauguration of their elected officials.

To honor America’s veterans and active-duty military the citizens will take part in a community service project benefiting Operation Comfort Warriors, a program supported by the American Legion Auxiliary.

New this year, girls involved in the legislative branch will tour West Virginia Independence Hall, the Birthplace of West Virginia. As part of their tour, Del. Erikka Storch (R- Ohio, 03) and Sen. Jack Yost (D – Brooke, 01) will host a session of the Girls State House and Senate.

Independence Hall served as a meeting place, debating and defining the Mountain State pre-Civil War and was the site of the Wheeling Convention. From 1861-63, it served as the keystone building of the Restored Government of Virginia.

In addition to this week, two girls from Rhododendron Girls State will earn nominations as senators to Girls Nation, a program hosted by the National American Legion Auxiliary in Washington D.C., in July.

If your news organization plans to cover any event during the week, these steps are required:

-Contact Rontina McCann, help@wvgirlsstate.org or call at the mobile number provided in the email

-Bring your company issued photo ID or West Virginia State Police issued press ID/credential

-Several events on the schedule have deadlines for credential requests

-Arrive 15 minutes prior to event to check-in with security and to get situated at the even 

We have several new events this year and returning program features to share:

Sunday, June 8, 2014

6:30-7:30 pm       Opening Assembly               Swint Hall/Troy Theater                      Credential Deadline: 2 p.m. 6/8/14

Guest Speakers Include: American Legion Auxiliary Dept. of West Virginia President Debbie Fox, American Legion West Virginia Commander Frank Nicholson, Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, (R-WV)

Monday June 9, 2014

12-1 p.m.               Lunch                                     Swint Hall/Benedum Room                Credential Deadline: 4 p.m. 6/8/14

Guest Speaker: Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, (D-WV)

3-4 p.m.                 Boot Camp                             WJU Field

The West Virginia Army National Guard will host a physical fitness boot camp, obstacle course and field day over three days. Rain location for each day is the McDonough Center. (old gym)

Tuesday June 10, 2014

12-1 p.m.               Lunch                                     Swint Hall/Benedum Room                Credential Deadline: 4 p.m. 6/9/14

Guest Speaker: State Treasurer John Perdue, (D-WV)

2-3 p.m.                 Primary Election Day           McDonough Center             Credential Deadline: noon 6/10/14

Girls State citizens are divided into two parties (for organizational and teaching purposes) to demonstrate how the party system works in America. The Nationalists and Federalists will vote within their party on the county and statewide level to pick their candidates to compete in the general election. The girls use voting machines provided by Casto Harris and the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office. This gives them the opportunity to gain experience and learn how they will vote in the future.

3 p.m.                     Girls State Government      Swint Hall/Troy Theater      Credential Deadline: 4 p.m. 6/9/14

Guest Speaker: Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, (D-WV)

4-5 p.m.                 Boot Camp                             WJU Field

The West Virginia Army National Guard will host a physical fitness boot camp, obstacle course and field day over three days. Rain location for each day is the McDonough Center. (old gym)

 Wednesday June 11, 2014

1 p.m.                     Party Parade                         WJU Track/Field                   Credential Deadline: 4 p.m. 6/10/14

Girls will parade around the track in their best blue and gold, campaigning for their candidates and cheering for their communities formed through city, county and state elections.

2-3 p.m.                 General Election Day           McDonough Center

Girls State citizens are divided into two parties (for organizational and teaching purposes) to demonstrate how the party system works in America. The Nationalists and Federalists will vote across parties on the county and statewide level to elect their officials. The girls use voting machines provided by Casto Harris and the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office. This gives them the opportunity to gain experience and learn how they will vote in the future.

4-5 p.m.                 Boot Camp                             WJU Field

The West Virginia Army National Guard will host a physical fitness boot camp, obstacle course and field day over three days. Rain location for each day is the McDonough Center. (old gym)

Thursday June 12, 2014

9-12 p.m.              Independence Hall              Wheeling, WV                      Credential Deadline: 8 p.m. 6/11/14

New this year: The elected members of the House of Delegates and Senate will travel to West Virginia’s Independence Hall to tour the birthplace of the 35th state. Del. Erikka Storch (R-OH) and Sen. Jack Yost (D-Brooke) along with members of the West Virginia National Guard will host sessions of the Girls State House and Senate. The members of the Girls State legislative branch write three bills: Girls State bill, West Virginia bill and a National bill. The will ratify legislation here, present the West Virginia bill to members of the West Virginia Legislature and present the National bill at Girls Nation in July.

3:45-4:45 p.m.     Inauguration                         Swint Hall/Troy Theater      Credential Deadline: noon 6/11/14

Auxiliary units in 49 states proudly host American Legion Auxiliary Girls State, an amazing week of learning focused on responsible citizenship and love for God and country. Students are assigned to cities and counties where, divided into the “Federalist Party” and “Nationalist Party,” they are immersed into learning about the political process from dedicated volunteers, making sure the program’s nonpartisan governmental, patriotic and civic objectives are carried out with intense learning along with some fun.

The program directors also stay vigilant about raising the girls’ awareness of the importance of service, particularly to our veterans, the military and their families. To learn more about Rhododendron Girls State visit www.wvgirlsstate.org

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