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Dear LA Girls State

DEAR LA GIRLS STATE: I’m all signed up and registered for Girls State, but I’m SO nervous! I’ve never been to a camp before and I tend to be more shy. I’m scared about public speaking and running against other girls. I mean I want to run for so much, but I don’t know if I can do it all. How do you do it?! --NERVOUS NEWCOMER


DEAR NERVOUS:

Trust me, there are so many other people who feel the exact same way as you. Trust me when I tell you that you will never be alone in how you feel this week. Your first speech may make an impression on your fellow citizens, but it will not define you.

Emily Langlois, another girl who was nervous about all the speeches going into LAGS said, “Just do it!” She reminds us that “Everyone is in the same boat, everyone is nervous, everyone is scared, everyone is about to pee their pants because they’re so excited, and everyone is new to this. None of us know how this works…no one knows what is going on.”

Even though you will undeniably get nervous, you have to go up and give that speech with your whole heart. Emily stated, “The first time I was giving a speech I was shaking with anxiousness and I was fine!” You have to remember that there will be many more speeches to come and you will soon become a pro, I know it. And if you find out that it maybe just isn’t your thing, then that’s okay too. Speech extraordinaire or not, you will contribute tremendously to this program.


DEAR LA GIRLS STATE: None of the girls I came here with are in any of my groups. I want to spend time with them, but I also want to branch out and meet new girls. It takes me a while to warm up to people I don’t know so well and what if everyone makes friends before me? Will I be okay --FRIENDLY FACE


DEAR FRIENDLY: Let me tell you, I severely underestimated the amount of girls that would be here. Louisiana may be a smaller state, but there is no shortage of high-achieving, caring, and friendly girls here.

Avery Wooden, someone who came with a group of her friends, said that she has still “made so many friends and they’re the sweetest things.” She reminds you to “get out of your comfort zone” and that “you have to push yourself.”

Another girl in a similar position, Claire Varnado, said, “I came with friends and I would recommend being apart from them because you make new friends. No matter who you are, it's such an open environment that you will immediately click with people….It’s so open and inclusive that everyone has someone.”

LAGS does an incredible job of constantly pairing you with new people and giving you the opportunity to make new friends. Going into the program, Lily Hoychick was also nervous because she knew she was going to be split up from her friends. She recalls the first parish meeting she attended, “I look around and I see nobody that I know.” Giving us her words of wisdom, Lily stated, “The thing is, with teenage girls, you can always find common ground about literally anything. You talk about anything like TikTok: you say a TikTok phrase, you’ve made your best friend I promise y’all.”

Just like all the other girls here, Lily sums it up for us, “I have clicked with so many girls that I would never have expected to click with.” You are at Girls State for a reason, and that will be the same reason as so many other girls here. So don’t worry. We are all making new friends throughout the entire week and you will, without a doubt, meet some of the best girls ever.


DEAR LA GIRLS STATE COUNSELORS: I had the best time at LA GIRLS STATE! I made so many amazing girls, learned so much about myself, feel more confident than ever, and I’m going to miss it so much. What can I do to stay involved and keep this in my life? --LAGS LOVER


DEAR LOVER:

LA Girls State is not something that ends on the Saturday at the end of the week. You have grown so much in such a short time and there is no doubt you will go home ready to make change.

“The best way to get involved is to watch out for the counselor applications. That (only) comes out in January,” said Lucy, Sabine’s Parish Counselor. “It’s really cool seeing the other side of it, like being a counselor.”

After completing training with your fellow counselors, along with girls who may have been some of your fellow citizens, “everything that we make y’all do makes more sense.” You get a true “behind the scenes” view of how Girls State runs so smoothly. And something else many people may not consider: “It was cool getting to know all the older girls who were counselors. You see us running around, you don’t really get to know us as a citizen. Now you’re here as a counselor (and) we get to be friends now.”


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