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 State Election Results

2016  Primary Election Results

2016 Girl State Webcam - watch live  works in Internet Explorer or Firefox

2016 Schedule of Events

A Brief History of 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.

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, Girls State has grown to its present enrollment of over 400 girls.


  • 2016 Bus Schedule
  • 2016 Registration Procedures
  • 2016 Girls State Brochure
  • Ally Monson 2015 Girls State Governor Welcome
  • Jane Benzel 2015 - 2016 Department President
  • Registration Procedures  
  • Women in Leadership Course Syllabus
  • USD Campus Map
  • Flag Counter