FAQs

BEFORE PALMETTO GIRLS STATE

DURING GIRLS STATE

OTHER QUESTIONS

BEFORE PALMETTO GIRLS STATE

What are the dates for the upcoming session?

The 2018 session of American Legion Auxiliary Palmetto Girls State (“ALA Palmetto Girls State”) will begin on Sunday, June 10, 2018, and will conclude on Saturday, June 16, 2018. Delegates attending the 2018 session of Palmetto Girls State should report for registration between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon on Sunday, June 10.

Where is ALA Palmetto Girls State held?

The 2018 session of ALA Palmetto Girls State will be held at Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC.

How do I apply to attend ALA Palmetto Girls State?

All delegates selected to attend ALA Palmetto Girls State are sponsored by American Legion Auxiliary Units in South Carolina. Girls do not apply directly to ALA Palmetto Girls State, and ALA Palmetto Girls State does not accept at-large applications. Delegates must be selected and sponsored by an American Legion Auxiliary Unit. The members of the American Legion Auxiliary Units may seek recommendations of eligible and interested girls from the guidance counselors or school administrators of the high schools in their geographic areas. You should contact your high school guidance counselor to inquire if members of an American Legion Auxiliary Unit contact your school for recommendations.

How does my school participate in Palmetto Girls State?

Delegates to ALA Palmetto Girls State are selected by and must be sponsored by an American Legion Auxiliary Unit. School personnel (such as principal, guidance counselor, or other school administrator) should contact an American Legion Auxiliary Unit in the city or local area where the school is located and request that the American Legion Auxiliary Unit consider sponsoring delegates to Girls State from the school. To obtain assistance in locating a contact with an American Legion Auxiliary Unit, a school may contact the American Legion Auxiliary Headquarters in Columbia at 803-772-6366.

If an American Legion Auxiliary Unit sponsored delegates from a school last year, then that Unit will probably sponsor girls from that school again this year. However, there is no guarantee that a Unit will sponsor delegates from the same schools each year. If the school is one that did not have representation at ALA Palmetto Girls State last year, the American Legion Auxiliary Unit will need to request spaces for delegates from that school. ALA Palmetto Girls State has a limited enrollment, and we cannot exceed the capacity of the program. ALA Palmetto Girls State attempts to work with requests from the American Legion Auxiliary Units to sponsor delegates from as many schools as possible. However, once the assignment of spaces reaches the capacity of the program, requests for spaces are then placed on a waiting list. Requests for spaces on the “Waiting List” are usually notified in May if a request can be accommodated.

When will I be notified if I am selected to attend ALA Palmetto Girls State?

The American Legion Auxiliary Units begin their contacts with the schools from which delegates will be selected in January, February, and March. The selection process for delegates and notification of the delegates selected are handled by the American Legion Auxiliary Unit which sponsors delegates from a particular school. Typically, delegates are notified of their selection in March, April, and May.

What should I bring with me to ALA Palmetto Girls State?

In April 2018, all of the forms and information for 2018 delegates will be posted on our Delegate Information page. Included in the information will be an explanation of the dress code and a suggested packing list. Delegates should bring articles of clothing which meet the dress code. Also, please realize that we are housed in the dorms on the campus, and each person must bring for her own use bed linens, a blanket or bedspread, and towels.

In addition, delegates must bring and possess (1) a good attitude and (2) a commitment to participate during the week. A positive attitude, an open mind, an honest commitment to participate, a desire to learn, and enthusiasm will serve each delegate well and will truly help her succeed during the week. The ALA Girls State program is NOT a recreational camp. To truly experience ALA Palmetto Girls State and reap the benefits of the program, one must commit to being involved and to participating in the activities of the week. It is by working through the activities that delegates will make new friends, learn of our government and the political process, and have an enjoyable and rewarding experience. ALA Palmetto Girls State is a tremendous opportunity for fun and learning, but the experience will only be as great as the effort a delegate puts forth.

What should I expect?

Delegates should expect a high-energy, competitive educational program designed to test their leadership, citizenship, and scholastic abilities. Delegates should expect to compete with the best and brightest high school students in the state of South Carolina. One should expect to push herself like never before. Delegates should be prepared to commit themselves to the program for the entire week and not allow outside influences to be a distraction. Finally, delegates should expect to leave the program a better, more informed, and more aware citizen.

The program is very structured. There are many activities which must be covered during the week, and many events which must be completed. A strict schedule is required to accomplish all the events of the week. Every person attending ALA Palmetto Girls State is expected to participate in all events and all aspects of the program.

May I drive my car to Girls State?

Delegates attending ALA Palmetto Girls State are not allowed to drive themselves to the program for the week. Delegates and their families will need to arrange for transportation to and from ALA Palmetto Girls State.

May I bring my laptop computer, iPod, iPad, or other electronic equipment?

Delegates may bring these items to ALA Palmetto Girls State, but delegates are solely responsible for their belongings. ALA Palmetto Girls State is not responsible for lost, misplaced, forgotten, or stolen items. Computers are not needed during the program so it is not necessary to have a laptop. We start our days early so we do suggest an alarm clock or clock radio. Because of the size of the program and the number of citizens, we cannot keep track of expensive and valuable belongings for over 640 delegates. We suggest that expensive or valuable electronics be left at home. We also suggest that valuable, sentimental, or irreplaceable items (such as jewelry) also be left at home. Again, please be aware that ALA Palmetto Girls State is not responsible for lost, misplaced, forgotten, or stolen items.

May I bring my cell phone?

Cell phones are permitted and may be used during free time. ALA Palmetto Girls State will utilize some forms of text voting during the week, and delegates with texting capabilities may vote using their cell phones. However, except for these times of text voting as announced, cell phone use is absolutely prohibited during assemblies, meetings, and scheduled functions during the week. This prohibition during the ALA Girls State activities applies to all operations of the cell phone including: voice communication (calls); data communication (texting or email); web-browsing; games; etc. Delegates may use cell phones only at designated times and places. ALA Palmetto Girls State is not and cannot be responsible for the security of a delegate’s cell phone. ALA Palmetto Girls State is sensitive to the need and desire for delegates to communicate with their families and friends; however, cell phones may be used by delegates during free time only. Cell phone usage cannot interfere with the delegate’s participation in ALA Girls State activities and cannot cause distraction or disruption of scheduled activities.

What should I do to prepare for ALA Palmetto Girls State?

Get plenty of rest! ALA Palmetto Girls State is a structured, rigorous program with scheduled events from early morning to late evening. Thoroughly read the delegate information prior to arrival at ALA Palmetto Girls State. The more each delegate knows about the program the better she will fare. This information, which will be available on the ALA Palmetto Girls State website, contains all the pertinent information about ALA Palmetto Girls State. Also, parents are encouraged to read the information to gain an understanding of what their daughters will be experiencing. Delegates may also want to brush up on their public speaking skills as all delegates to ALA Palmetto Girls State are encouraged and expected to run for office. Those public speaking skills will be used and needed during the week!

How much money will I need?

Excessive cash is not required. Delegates will need to pay a $40.00 registration fee and $40.00 room key/dorm access card deposit at registration on Sunday, June 10. These two fees must be paid in cash. (No checks, credit cards, or debit cards will be accepted for the registration fee and room key deposit.) In addition, delegates may want to have some cash on hand for purchases of PGS shirts and other merchandise in the ALA Palmetto Girls State Store or for snacks/drinks from the canteen and vending machines. Delegates are responsible for any money that they bring. Credit cards may be used for purchases in the ALA Palmetto Girls State Store; cash is needed to make purchases in the canteen or from vending machines. There is an ATM on the campus which delegates may access.

May I bring my own campaign materials?

No. When the delegates arrive at ALA Palmetto Girls State, everyone is on a level playing field. When campaign materials are allowed during certain portions of the program, ALA Palmetto Girls State will make supplies available for the delegates to produce campaign materials.

What offices are available at ALA Palmetto Girls State?

There are elected offices on three levels of government – city, county, and state. A delegate may offer and run for any office, whether it is Mayor of her city or Governor. All it takes is determination and the will to succeed. If one does not win an election, one may run for another office. Girls State depends on the leadership of its elected officials.

What time should I arrive at ALA Palmetto Girls State?

Registration is Sunday morning, June 10, 201. Registration hours are 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Delegates must plan their arrival on campus in order to complete registration by 12:00 noon.

What if I need to arrive late?

If a delegate has a conflict and absolutely cannot arrive at ALA Palmetto Girls State during the registration time, she must have prior approval from the Director or Administrative Staff. Even if permission is obtained for a late arrival, the delegates must arrive Sunday evening by 6:00 p.m. No delegate is admitted after Sunday evening.

Do I have to stay all week?

Yes! Gaining the best experience possible at ALA Girls State is dependent on full participation during the entire program. Delegates have been selected over many others at their high school to attend this program. Being a delegate to ALA Palmetto Girls State is a once in a lifetime opportunity. We expect all Delegates to remain in the program through the closing assembly on Saturday, June 16, 2018. When one accepts the honor of being named a delegate to ALA Palmetto Girls State, she is making a commitment to attend the entire session. Delegates to Palmetto Girls State are expected to honor this commitment.

DURING ALA PALMETTO GIRLS STATE

Will I see other people from my high school during the week?

Probably. However, one wonderful aspect of the program is the opportunity to meet new people from across South Carolina. Everyone should come to ALA Palmetto Girls State with an expectation of meeting new friends and a goal of meeting as many new people as possible.

Can my best friend be my roommate?

No. One of the best experiences of ALA Palmetto Girls State is meeting new people. Students from the same high school are assigned to different cities. While delegates will see people from their high school or home town at meals and assemblies, this week is the chance to get to know other people and to have other people get to know you.

May I have visitors while I am at ALA Palmetto Girls State?

No. Our program does not have the space or time to allow visitors during the week.

What are the lodging arrangements?

During the week, we will stay in dorms. Everyone will share a room with one or more roommates. In some dorms, two or more rooms are grouped as suites, where each suite shares a bath. In other dorms, the rooms on a hall share a community bath.

What is the food service like?

Meals are provided in the Presbyterian College dining hall. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided with a variety of menu items during the week. A hot bar with an entree and vegetables is available, as well as a salad bar and deli are for sandwiches. Vegetarian options are provided as well.

What sport activities are available?

There are no organized sporting activities, but there may be an opportunity for you to participate in a morning run/workout around the campus. Also, there are some group games as part of city competitions. We do not have workout facilities available during the week.

How much free time is there?

The schedule at ALA Palmetto Girls State is full, and everyone is kept busy. During the day, there may be some time outside assemblies and meetings, but typically delegates will be working on some aspect of the program. Meals are also considered “free time,” and there is some “free time” before and after City Meetings at night. City curfew is usually around 11:00 p.m. or 11:30 p.m., but due to some events curfew could be extended. Delegates may think this is too early, but at the end of each day, everyone is tired. Breakfast is typically from 7:00 a.m. – 8:15 a.m. with the morning assembly starting at 8:30 a.m.

May I leave the campus during the week?

No. Delegates must stay on campus during the entire week and stay within the bounds of ALA Palmetto Girls State. The ALA Girls State experience is a residential program, and by attending ALA Palmetto Girls State, each delegate agrees to stay in residence at the program for the entire session. All attendees must stay within the program. The only trip off campus is where ALA Palmetto Girls State travels to Columbia.

What is the political structure of ALA Palmetto Girls State?

The delegates are considered the citizens in our mythical state of “Palmetto.” At ALA Palmetto Girls State, every citizen is allowed to vote and participate in the political process. ALA Palmetto Girls State employs a two party political system, and each citizen will be assigned to a political party. The two parties at ALA Palmetto Girls State are the Federalist Party and the Nationalist Party. Neither party is associated with any real life political party. Each year, citizens develop their own party platforms and their own style of governing. At ALA Palmetto Girls State, the city and county elections are nonpartisan, while elections for House, Senate, and statewide offices (such as Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, State Treasurer, etc.) are partisan elections.

What is a typical day like?

Each day is packed with activity! Creating a state takes work! Breakfast starts at 7:00 a.m., and City Curfew is at 11:00 p.m. or later. Assemblies with outside speakers addressing the group are held at various times throughout the day and evening on topics addressing an educational aspect of the program. After educational instruction, mock elections are held. No two days are the same, and there are a variety of topics, activities, and elections to peak everyone’s interest. And throughout the week, we have lots of singing of patriotic songs!

Do I have to participate in all the activities?

Palmetto Girls State is what one makes it, but all in attendance at Palmetto Girls State are to participate in all aspects of the program. We are there to participate. Seizing every opportunity for involvement in the activities makes the Girls State experience more meaningful and fulfilling. At the end of the week, awards will be given for a variety of accomplishments, including the most outstanding city at Palmetto Girls State.

OTHER QUESTIONS

How long does the program last?

Palmetto Girls State lasts 7 days and 6 nights (Sunday to Saturday). Delegates are to register by 12:00 noon on Sunday, June 10, 2018. The session concludes after the closing ceremony on Saturday, June 16, 2018. We estimate the session to conclude at approximately 11:00 a.m. on Saturday.

What scholarship opportunities are available?

ALA Palmetto Girls State does not provide college scholarships. However, a number of colleges and universities within South Carolina recognize the outstanding abilities of the girls who attend ALA Palmetto Girls State and provide some scholarship opportunities. The colleges and universities offering these scholarships set forth the criteria for the scholarships, and those institutions are then responsible for selecting the recipients. Delegates who have successfully completed ALA Palmetto Girls State should inquire of colleges and universities whether scholarships are available for having been a delegate of ALA Palmetto Girls State.

Each year, ALA Palmetto Girls State works with representatives of Palmetto Boys State to provide a list of potential scholarship opportunities. The list is available to ALA Palmetto Girls State delegates at the end of the week. These are opportunities which have been available in prior years. Neither ALA  Palmetto Girls State nor Palmetto Boys State make any representation or guarantee that these scholarships are available every year or that these scholarships will in fact be awarded. The offering of any scholarship and the award of a scholarship rests completely with the individual college or university.

Girls who meet the eligibility requirements are encouraged to apply for the Samsung American Legion Scholarship.

How do I become a Junior Counselor?

After each session, delegates may apply to come back to the next session of ALA Palmetto Girls State as a junior counselor. Applications to become a Junior Counselor for the 2018 session of Palmetto Girls State are no longer being accepted. Only those selected to serve as Junior Counselors will be notified in March or April 2018.

May I receive mail while at Girls State?

Yes. Please ask parents or friends sending mail to mail items no later than Tuesday so that the item may be received before the program ends. Mail which arrives after Palmetto Girls State closes will be returned to the sender.