University of South Dakota, Vermillion

May 29 - June 3, 2017

2016 Media Coverage Link

KELOLAND Coverage 

ALA SD Girls State Encourages Leadership Among Teens

KDLT Coverage

KSFY Coverage

Yankton Press and Dakotan Coverage

Sioux Fall Argus Leader

2016 Girl State Webcam - Archived files  works in Internet Explorer or Firefox

A Brief History of ALA SD Girls State

Back in the depression ridden days of the early 30s, the American Legion grew concerned over public statements to the effect that Democracy was "on the skids." How, it wondered, could America train its young people in the processes of self government as effectively as Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany seemed to be training their youth in the totalitarian forms of government. Deciding the best way to learn was by practicing it, American Legionnaires began, in 1935, gathering teenage representatives together for a few days each summer in a citizenship training program on the processes of city, county and state Government. They called it "Boys State." As the program succeeded and spread throughout the United States, the American Legion Auxiliary began a similar program for girls. Thus "Girls State" was authorized in 1937-38, and is now established in 50 Departments in our Nation.

American Legion Auxiliary South Dakota Girls State was founded at Mitchell in 1947. It met regularly each year on the campus of Dakota Wesleyan University until 1985, when it was moved to the campus of South Dakota State University, Brookings. In 2002, the program was moved to the University of South Dakota, Vermillion. It is under the sponsorship of South Dakota Department of the American Legion Auxiliary. From an enrollment of 117 girls in 1947, ALA SD Girls State has grown to its present enrollment of over 400 girls.


  • 2017 Bus Schedule
  • 2017 Registration Procedures - TBA
  • 2017 Girls State Brochure
  • Raina Grimsley 2016 Girls State Governor Welcome
  • Melanie Martens 2016 - 2017 Department President
  • USD Campus Map
  • Flag Counter