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My experience At Buckeye Girls State

By Amelia Alexander
Icon Columnist

This past June, I was sponsored to attend a government camp called Buckeye Girls State. As nerdy as it may sound, my experience at Buckeye Girls State was very fun and exciting. I made wonderful friends, and I learned many things about state and local government. I believe this knowledge is important.

Our education system focuses heavily on the roles of our national government, but our state and local governments are more important and impactful than you may think. I also learned a lot about campaigning. Regardless of one’s involvement in politics, being able to advocate for yourself and spread your ideas is extremely important, especially for young girls. This was one of my main takeaways from the camp. 

What is Buckeye Girls State and How Does It Work?
Buckeye Girls State is a camp where young girls participate in a simulation of state and local government. The first day is spent going to workshops to learn the skills of leadership, campaigning, and legislating. We also learned about what positions were available to us, and what those positions do. The next few days after that, we campaigned for our desired positions. When those positions were filled, we spent the last few days as a functioning mock government. 

The people who lived on my floor were in my “city”, and a few of those cities combined were my “county”. And all of the counties combined (all members of Buckeye Girls State) were in the “state.” 

Along the way, I was lucky to meet smart women from all over the state. I learned about their passions, and I continue to draw inspiration from their stories. I met someone who worked  for a senator as an intern. I met a girl who traveled with her mother to Uganda to help underprivileged women. I was able to connect with women from all different backgrounds, and meeting them was beyond worthwhile.

The experience might not have been perfect, as that would be nearly impossible, but connecting smart young women all over the state and educating them about government is a giant leap in the right direction. I am very thankful for American Legion post 185 for sponsoring me to attend Buckeye Girls State. (Editor: Here in Bluffton American Legion Post 382 sponsors attendees to Buckeye Boys State and Buckeye Girls State.)

My Position At Buckeye Girls State 
There are so many different jobs that are available to delegates attending Buckeye Girls State. I would like to note that my experience was very different from many of the other girls’ experiences because of the variety that was available to us. There were a vast myriad of possible jobs that I could pursue that ranged from lawyer, to state highway patrol trooper, to being on the governor's cabinet, to treasurer, and the list goes on!

My position at Buckeye Girls State was the city reporter. I am aware that some of the girls found city jobs to be a lot less important than county and state jobs because city jobs are less competitive and have a smaller reach, but I am so grateful for the job that I had while I was there. I got to connect with girls from other “cities” who were gifted writers. I was also able to release three articles about my city while I was there. I connected with people via interviews. I also managed to post one of the girl’s poems in my city paper. Through my experience as a city reporter, I realized the importance of city jobs.I realized that having a platform within a community, even if it seems like an insignificant platform, allows you to have intimate connections within your community. I realized that many changes start at a local level. 

The counselors who worked on the PR team truly made the experience wonderful. They always read over my papers and made time to help me, and they provided the best snacks for us reporters. Dayna Beyer (also known as Tsi Sim Mar) and Jane Ridenour especially made me feel supported. After they heard that I made a save as a lifeguard at the Ada Pool, they jumped at the chance to support me by writing a story about the event. These women, along with Ashley Dell, Linda Close, and India Allar were the counselors who impacted me the most at Buckeye Girls State. 

One of the most interesting things about the experience was when Mike Dewine came to speak and answer some of our questions. As a reporter, I got to take close ups of him and some of my reporter friends were able to interview him personally!

I wrote this article to shed light on this amazing opportunity that I received. I believe that young women deserve this opportunity. The process of getting sponsored to be a Buckeye Girls State delegate starts in the spring of Junior year, so if you know any upcoming Junior girls, tell them about Buckeye Girls State! It is a wonderful, immersive experience.

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Friday, September 23, 2022