The American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary began an effort over five decades ago to devise a means to:
- educate our youth in the duties, privileges and responsibilities of American citizenship
- give future citizens, in a realistic manner, an opportunity to learn the problems of government by performing the same duties as real office holders in the everyday world
- inform them of the rights and privileges of American citizenship
- instill a deep sense of the personal responsibilities and obligations which this citizenship entails
The Girls State program in Texas has been one of constant improvement and growth. The number of participants has grown from 94 to over 500. The progress of Girls State in Texas could not have been accomplished if it had not been for the pioneers of Bluebonnet Girls State; the full cooperation and encouragement of the Department Presidents of the American Legion Auxiliary; former directors, members and chairmen of the Girls State Committe; the press, radio and television; school and state officials; interested individuals; most of all the local units who sponsor girls; and last but not least, the citizens.
One of Girls State’s most influential pioneers was Frances Goff who began working with Girls State in 1947. She used her considerable experience in state government to shape the program as Director from 1952 until 1994.
During past sessions of Girls State, citizens have been privileged to hear many outstanding speakers including: then Governor George W. Bush, former Presidents George Bush and Lyndon Baines Johnson, First Lady Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson and Miss Barbara Jordan. Former Girls State citizens Gov. Ann W. Richards, Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, Judge Bea Ann Smith and others have also returned to the program as guest speakers.
The Girls State Committee is the policy-making body of Girls State. The four members are appointed by the President of the American Legion Auxiliary from its membership. The Department President and the committee select the Director who is responsible for the administration of the policies set forth by the committee. Girls State requires an operating budget of approximately $200,000. Counselors and staff members are unpaid volunteers.