From the early morning musters to the late night cheers, Louisiana Girls state has stolen the hearts of its over 200 delagates throughout the week.
Louisiana Girls State is one of the most unique youth leadership conventions of its kind. It is infact, the only of its kind. Ever since its founding in 1940, the program has been held anually every summer, bringing together young women from all different walks of life to the same space to celebrate our American government system. This program centers around sisterhood, women empowerment, and fun! The version of ourselves that we all are before our girls state experience is very different than the version we are on the other side of it. When asked how her confidence has grown throughout the week, Tovy Tran -PPC of Sabine- said “I was always entergetic and bubbly and I think [this week] has just enhanced that quality even more”. The girls here are all as united as they are different.
We have have grown as a community through dance parties and campaigns. We have exchanged jokes as we sat through hours of elections, acedemics, and parish meetings. Cheered for eachother during speeches, learned about eachother during walks to lunch, and chanted until our voices were sore. We are one Girls State family now and I think I speak for many of my fellow citizens when I say we are so grateful for this experience.
“I am here with people that have the same energy” Tran says, “we all have the same goals and interests”. During my time here at Girls State I have felt nothing but love and support from girls that I have never met before. Through observing the relationships and interactions between citizens I asked myself the question; how will this experience effect our lives going forward? Luckily, here at Girls State we have some of the best role models to look up to. For example, Hollyn Guidroz, Senior Counselor for Tchefuncta Parish (or as we call it here, T-Funk). I asked her what traits from Girls State she have carried through her life and she responded by saying Girls State has taught her the importance of living oustide of her comfort zone.
“It has helped me move forward and stay curious” she said. Girls State is a place that teaches you the importance of wonder. Many of us, including myself, had no clue what we were getting ourselves into. We had so many questions, all of which were answered with patience and sincerity. We were taught that our thoughts and words have value and power. The skills and experiences Hollyn has gained through girls state have kept her coming back for seven years, and now as I come to the end of my time here, I certainly understand why. The Girls State atmosphere is perfectly crafted to set young women up for success. Over the course of this week we have learned how to lead with confidence, use our voices, and make connections - all as young women. We have come to understand our importance and the impact we can make. This experience has certainly shaped me into a new version of myself, as it has many others. This new version is confident when she used to be nervous, speaks up when she used to stay quiet, and knows her value unwaveringly.
I am so thankful for my Girls State experience and cannot wait to use the skills I have learned here in my future. Throughout the week I have had the opportunity to spend time with wonderful and inspiring women who show me what my life can be on the other side of Girls State and I cannot wait to join them one day.