How LAGS Empowers Me
Updated: Jan 11
It is always difficult to explain Louisiana Girls State to its full extent to someone who has never been to the program. I am never able to fully express the incredible atmosphere present during the week of Girls State, and this is likely because the atmosphere is filled with a sense of empowerment like no other. I am lucky to be a part of this unique program since I attended as a Citizen in 2017. Since then, I have returned as a counselor each year, and the week of the program is always what I look forward to most each summer.
Preparing for my citizen year, the only information I knew about Girls State was that a few people from my high school had attended and that I was eager to see what it was all about. Upon arriving to the program and not knowing anyone in my city or parish, I was skeptical of how the week would proceed. However, it did not take long for me to start feeling the sense of empowerment that I now have a difficult time describing. I began running for different positions at the program alongside other citizens who were now my new friends. Something that remained consistent throughout the challenges of the week such as staying up late to write speeches was the support that every citizen showed one another. Every citizen was cheering each person running in elections on and encouraging each other to get up and say their speeches, succeed in their academic assignments, and even just participate in chanting while walking in the heat. To see so many women excited about their peers’ successes as they would be about their own and excited to become friends with one another and just have a great week together created the most refreshing and uplifting environment. We live in a seemingly increasingly competitive world that makes it sometimes hard to not get wrapped up in comparing our successes to others. As women, it is important that we support one another to achieve our goals and reach our full potential in a society that sometimes feels overwhelming with negativity. It is important that we build one another up and celebrate our accomplishments, and that is exactly what happens the whole entire week at Louisiana Girls State.
This feeling of empowerment to work towards accomplishing your goals alongside women who are cheering for you and with you is why I knew I would definitely be applying to be a counselor the following year. I am so grateful to now be in the role where I can help promote and foster the positive environment of the program and where I can watch other women uplift one another and have the kind of amazing experience that I had as a citizen. Louisiana Girls State has empowered me in so many ways to take what I learned during the program and apply it to so many aspects of my life. The program has helped me to recognize the importance and value in working together as women to make changes in the world and become the leaders that we want to be. The empowerment that radiates at the program has helped me to realize how important and fulfilling it is to surround yourself with people who truly want to see you succeed and will support you whole heartedly on the journey to achieving your goals. I have learned not to be afraid of failure and to go for what I want despite the fear that I may have of the unknowns surrounding it. Being surrounded by a great support system such as Girls State cancels out any fear of failure and helps you to overcome those moments when you may fall short. I will always take away that the level in which I felt empowered to be the best version of myself at the program is the level of empowerment I want to radiate to others. Outside of the program, not everyone is as encouraging and supportive as within the program. Attending Girls State has taught me to be that person that encourages and supports others to be all they can be. Returning as a counselor has helped me to realize my leadership styles and how I best work in a group setting to cultivate the kind of empowerment present at the program. Louisiana Girls State has empowered me to be the best version of myself and to cheer on others to be the best versions of themselves no matter where we all are in our different journeys. Whether it’s chanting alongside each other, supporting one another during a speech, working in a group towards a common goal, making lifelong friendships, or just having the most amazing week, the women of Louisiana Girls State create an atmosphere that is difficult to duplicate in full but easy to take with you for the rest of your life, and I am grateful everyday to be a part of that special experience.