RGS Session – The session begins Sunday afternoon and wraps up Friday morning. Ladies must report to campus and check-in with Staff. Please turn-in any additional paperwork requested then. Each Student will receive a MANUAL to use all week. It contains our schedule, class information, election forms, traditions, etc.
The Manual – Each citizen will receive a Girls State manual. It contains: Schedule, Girls state forms (Voter Registration, registration fee checks, list of offices and descriptions), Girls State history, songs, Americanism literature, newspaper and class handouts citizens receive during the week.
The Dress Code –This dress code is for safety issues and makes it easy for Girl State and campus staff to identify Girls State Citizens.
- CITIZENS – Any combination of black, navy or khaki: slacks, capris or knee-length skirts with a white, blue or yellow: Polo Shirt (with collar). Polo shirts are available at all retail stores and the RGS Country Store at Girls State too. Blue or Gold shorts (depending on party affiliation) for the Wednesday parade and white RGS t-shirt (purchase at RGS store). White dress* and white shoes for Thursday’s Inauguration.
- STAFF – Navy, white, black or khaki slacks, capris or knee-length skirts with staff shirts or pastel colored polo shirts. White dress* and white shoes for Inauguration.
- *Note for both Staff and Citizens: The white dress can be a dress or white skirt & white blouse.
Communities – You might wonder why you’ve been assigned to a community named for a random West Virginia county, or in Northern Panhandle’s case, a collection of counties. This dorm floor structure pays tribute to our decades at Jackson’s Mill. The cottages there are named for the counties that originally commissioned them. We kept the names to continue the tradition, even though the program changed locations. There’s a lot of pride in Girls State, but just like at home, nothing beats the pride you feel for your community! (Communities: Northern Panhandle, Kanawha, Monroe, Randolph, Webster, Upshur, Braxton, Calhoun, Lewis, Monongalia, Marion)
Country Stores – Will be available with beverages, snacks ALA RGS apparel and campaign supplies.
Samsung Scholarship – Follow instructions on the national Samsung Scholarship application and print a copy to submit during the program.
Pictures – We will be taking pictures, posed and candid throughout the week. The pictures are available for purchase and you’ll receive information on this when you check-in. There will be Party Pictures (Nationalist & Federalist) and Staff Pictures on Wednesday. There will be Community Pictures along with elected officials (Senate, House, President of House/Senate, Board of Public Works, Sheriffs, Mayors, Trumpeters, Flag Bearers, Rhododendron Daily Staff and Chorus taken on Friday). A commemorative CD of the week's activities will be available for purchase as registration. The cost is $20.
Community Project – Community Service is an important program that the American Legion Auxiliary encourages all year-long. Girls State picks a Community Project each year for the citizens at Girls State to support. THIS IS A VOLUNTEER PROJECT. Students are asked for a donation towards this year’s project and all money collected goes to the Project of the year.
Drivers – Students that drive to girls state will park their vehicle at their dorm and keys will be turned in to you Senior Counselor and be returned to student at end of week. NO ONE IS TO LEAVE CAMPUS AT ANY TIME!
Flag Ceremony– Will be held every morning and every evening. All staff and citizens will attend.
Classes– City, County and State Governments; College Preparation Professional Development. Also there will be elective classes for students – Girls State Chorus, Public Safety, Public Speaking, Women in Law, Leadership Development, Public Relations, Journalism (Rhododendron Daily Reporters). These elective may vary from year to year.
College Fair– This is coordinated by Rhododendron Girls State and has representation from approximately 15-24 different colleges/universities in West Virginia. Citizens will be given time to attend.
Talent Show – There will be talent shows during the evening assemblies. If you wish to participate, bring your costumes, instruments, sheet music, CDs, etc. with you. If you play a trumpet, players are needed for Inauguration Ceremony—Bring your trumpet.
The Rhododendron Daily/RD Staff– The paper is published daily and each citizen will receive a copy in their community. Citizens will be appointed by their community to work on The Rhododendron Daily Staff (Three (3) per Community). Being on staff you will be be assigned a beat to cover and interview instructors, speakers, election coverage, staff, etc. The Rhododendron Daily Editor will make the assignments in the journalism class.
Election and Party Structure
Party Caucuses –(National & Federalist) will meet to set your party platform, support your party candidates, and prepare for the Party Parade held on Thursday. Each party will be in parade according to your community and party affiliation. All state candidates will be introduced for the General Elections. RGS models after the two-party system of government to organize the citizens and teach party structure. There will be a Chairman, Vice Chairman, Sec-Treasurer and Spirit Leaders elected Monday night to represent each party during the week. The State Chairman of the Nationalist and Federalist Parties are the only girls not eligible to run for another office, as they will be in high-profile positions onstage, organizing their party and campaigning for their candidates.
Nationalists –(or NATS) wear the gold shorts. The Nationalist mascot is a lion.
Federalists –(or FEDS) wear the blue shorts. The Federalist mascot is a unicorn.
Filing for office– Citizens will be able to file for any city, county or state office. She can campaign for her office by placing campaign posters throughout the campus. ALL CANDIDATES ARE RESPONSIBLE TO COLLECT ALL THEIR CAMPAIGN POSTERS ON CAMPUS FOLLOWING ELECTION — It is not the responsibility of the staff or campus staff to do this. There will be campaign supplies available in the country stores for citizens.
Campaign Material – No PREPARED Materials can be brought to Girls State. If you wish to bring supplies you think you will need such as poster paper, markers, scotch tape, etc. Signs and Posters are to be made after you file for office.
Primary Election–Is Tuesday afternoon. Citizens will vote by party in their community (for community offices) and State elections (state-wide offices).
General Election– Is Wednesday afternoon immediately following the Party Parade. Citizens will vote on one general ballot with the candidates listed from each party who won the Primary. Citizens will vote in their community and State elections.
Senior Counselor – There is one Senior Counselor per community and are here to make sure your week is a safe and fun experience. Senior Counselors are typically American Legion Auxiliary members and many are Girls State Alumnae.
Junior Counselor or “JC” – There will be one or two Junior Counselors in each community. Junior Counselors are Girls State Alumnae who come back to make sure you have an awesome experience. JC’s make sure you know where everything is on campus and teach you the Girls State traditions and songs that you’ll love.
Girls State Director – The Director is the head of this program and all issues of week go through her for final response or action.
Girls State Asst. Director –The Assistant Director is responsible for classes, staffing and elections, as well as helping the Director out with other areas of the program.
Banker – Citizens can deposit money and withdraw money all week. Citizens should not keep large amounts of cash in their communities. Girls State is not responsible for any loss or theft of money or personal items. Thursday all citizens need to go to banker and close out their account. Do Not bring any valuables with you to Girls State.
WV State Police – There will be uniformed members of the West Virginia State Police on campus all week for the security of the citizens and instructing classes. They work closely with the campus security throughout the week.
Nurse – There is a nurse on duty all week.
Speakers– Throughout the week there will be various speakers from state and national offices (if not in session). Past visitors include: ALA National President, West Virginia’s Governor, Secretary of State, Supreme Court, Senators, Legislatures, elected officials, etc. as well as members of West Virginia’s Congressional Delegation.
Instructors– Who better to teach city, county and state government than professionals in the business? Instructors for required courses are elected officials or staff members of their offices. Instructors for electives are also professionals in their field.
Governor of Girls State – The RGS Governor elected during a Session must return the following Session (the next June) and preside as the Governor of Girls State and will be a Junior Counselor.
Girls Nation Senators – The two Citizens selected as Girls Nation Senators from RGS will attend Girls Nation in July in Washington, D.C. It is a marvelous experience for Girls Nation Senators to represent West Virginia on a national level. Girls Nation Senators also must attend the following RGS session to share their experience in our Nation’s Capital and serve as Junior Counselors. Girls Nation is a continuation of Girls State that began in 1947 in Washington, with a focus on national government. Two girls are selected from each Girls State program and these Senators convene for a week to elect leadership, craft, present and debate legislation, visit national monuments and met with their Representatives and Senators. The week is often capped with meeting the President of the United States at The White House.
If you are selected to represent West Virginia, RGS staff will work with you to prepare legislative initiatives to be presented at Girls Nation and to inform you about campaign rules and running for elected office.