Youth Leadership Shines in 2023 Session of Alabama Girls and Boys State

Published 10:30 am Saturday, June 10, 2023

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The 2023 Session of American Legion Auxiliary Alabama Girls State was held at Troy University from June 4-9. 

During the youth leadership program, young women from around the state spend a week learning about local and state government through workshops, guest speakers and legislative sessions. 

Around 150-175 students attended from at least 10 cities.  Lanett High student Kierra Trammel, Valley High student Bailey Haney and Chambers Academy student Malissa Lee represented Chambers County in the program.

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The ALA Alabama Boys State held its 2023 session last week from May 28 to June 2. Students Kole Baker and Kyle Hand from Chambers Academy attended the session this year. Through the program, they received scholarships of $226,000 total. 

Through experiential learning, the students build leadership and communication skills as delegates who campaign as “federalists” and “nationalists” to become mayors and county or state officials in their mock government.

Trammel, an editor for her school’s newspaper, is attending the ALA Alabama Girls State for her first time. Throughout the week, she ran a campaign for and won the district judge position. 

“We all came together, and they learned very much how to communicate with each other,” said Trammel. “Students learn how to be leaders because, in many of the activities we did, everyone was a leader at some point.”

The programs included several events from legislation meetings to the city inauguration dinner. 

Many speakers spoke on Alabama Government, city government and the two-party system. 

Some of the speakers that have attended the ALA Alabama Girls State and Boys State sessions are Gov. Kay Ivey, State Treasurer Young Boozer, State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey, Chief Justice Tom Parker, Former Congressman Jo Bonner, Judge Keith Watkins, State House Minority Leader Rep. Anthony Daniels, Clint Usher, Mark Valentine, Coach Jon Sumrall Rev. Garrett Harper and Troy University Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins.

As part of the program, the Samsung scholarship is awarded to children of army veterans or Korean War veterans. 

The Alabama Girls State program, founded by the American Legion Auxiliary, has been a regular annual summer program since 1948. Around 20,000 girls attend the program across the nation every year. 

The Alabama Boys State program began about 10 years earlier in 1937. The program has active membership in 49 states across the country.