The American Legion Auxiliary, District 5 in Jackson County announce the delegates to Girls State 2010 70th Session going on this week at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg.

The American Legion Auxiliary, District 5 in Jackson County announce the delegates to Girls State 2010 70th Session going on this week at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg.

The American Legion Auxiliary believes educating our youth about the basic ideals and principals of leadership and Americanism will help ensure the survival of our republic.

Nine of 13 American Legion Auxiliary units in Jackson County have interviewed and selected the following delegates to sponsor at Girls State:

Sarah Bechtold, Brette Borchert, Lillian Covington, Ariel Foley, Julia Myers, Audrey Schuler, Melanie Weilert, Kelsey Bell, Alana Caruso, Bailie Berner, Amelia Ellsworth, Hannah Longstreet, McKenzie Wheelington, Meghan Brauner, Kelsey Connelly, Sara Keophaphone, KiJedah Warmsley, Chloe Davis, Natalie Berigan, Kaytlynn Clemons, Belinda Sell, Christina Vanness, Sadie Wallace, Alana Caruso, Emily Ault, Hayley Craddock, Kasey Mercer, Alyssa Smith, Sarah Bever-Chritton, Anesha Clifton, Christen Ward, Kaythlynn Clemons, Christina VanNess, and Sadie Wallace.

The following girls are alternates: Emma Wheat, Martin Lindsey, Brooke Turrell, Taylor Winger, Erin Richeson.

Rita Navarrete, National American Legion Auxiliary president, is in from Arizona to be a part of the Girls’ State 70th Year in Missouri. This is the first time a national president has visited Missouri’s Girls State Session. President Navarrete has been especially busy this year celebrating the Auxiliary’s 90th Anniversary. She wants to be part of the Girls State experience and has asked to stay in the dorm along with the girls.

Linda Schaap, who lives in Raytown, is the “Show-Me” Missouri Girls State director.

Linda explains that “Girls State is a hands-on experience with how government functions on a city, county and state level. Delegates campaign for offices and take a class during the week. If they pass the exam, they qualify to apply for two hours of college credit.”

The delegates have assemblies twice a day with keynote speakers, including Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon.  Sen. Claire McCaskill is doing a videocam presentation.

The General Assembly, the House and Senate, traveled to Jefferson City to the Capitol on Wednesday.

Girls State has a talent show tonight and an inauguration on Friday night when all the state officials are sworn into office. Parents and guests are welcome to attend this event.

Many scholarship opportunities from universities in Missouri are available to delegates who complete the week at Missouri Girls State. For example, the University of Missouri Girls State Scholarship has been developed to recognize outstanding leadership as demonstrated by those students who successfully complete the 2010 session of Missouri Girls State. There are 10 scholarships available from MU at $1,500 each.

In addition to university scholarships, the governor-elect receives a $1,000 scholarship, the “Outstanding Political Citizen” (a citizen who works behind the scenes in support of others) receives a $500 scholarship. These two scholarships are provided through city and county tax assessment of the Girls State Citizens themselves. The winner of the Samsung American Legion Scholarship receives $1,000 and her paperwork is sent on for National to compete for a $20,000 scholarship from the Samsung Corp.

Girls State is organized into 21 cities and seven counties. There are approximately 36 to 40 girls per city.  Girls State has a two-party system – Nationals and Federalists. Roommates are always on opposite sides of the fence, we do that on purpose. Briefings and orientations are held in various locations around the state for delegates, alternates, and parents prior to the session. These are conducted by committee members, the director, and other staff members.

A staff of approximately 80 to 90 volunteers give up time from their families and jobs to serve on staff throughout the week. The Missouri State Highway Patrol assigns two officers to be instructors, as well as provide additional security. Vici Hughes is the events coordinator for UCM and has been a big help in coordinating with the Girls State committee on plans for the 2010 session.

Two delegates are selected as Senators to represent Missouri at Girls Nation. They will attend Girls Nation in Washington, D.C., in July at which they debate bills and run for office. Last year, we had two girls who represented Missouri at Girls Nation: Elizabeth You and Marilyn Wang. Marilyn was elected vice president and Elizabeth was appointed to an important committee. Marilyn Wang attributes her acceptance into Harvard University in part to her experience and attendance at Missouri Girls State.

Please contact Linda Schaap, Director of MGS, at if you are interested in Missouri Girls State or if you would be interested in sponsoring a delegate next year. You may also e-mail us at To learn more about Girls State, please visit our website at

Many young women who have attended Girls State programs across the nation have gone on to be leaders in their chosen career. Former participants in the Girls State program include:

 Newscasters Jane Pauley and Leeza Gibbons


 Former Texas Gov. Ann Richards


 Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz


 Vice President of Liz Clairborne, Jessica Mitchell


 Brig. Gen. Michelle Johnson, first woman to serve as Wing Commander, U.S. Air Force Academy.  Executive Editor of The Examiner Sheila Davis