American Legion Hosts Boys/Girls State Dinner

American Legion Post 90 Cmdr. Bill Cooper congratulates Boys State Delegate Daniel Ahrens. Photo by Leland Lehman/

County Council Chair Geoff Rodgers, left, introduced by Post 90 Cmdr. Bill Cooper. Photo by Leland Lehman/

Staff Report

A Boys and Girls State dinner was hosted Saturday by the American Legion Post 90 at 1325 Trinity Dr., in Los Alamos. The 2013 Delegation to Boys State including Daniel Ahrens, Jeremy Goettee and Esteban Summers and Girls State delegates Marie Trujillo and Rachel Barthel and their parents were honored during the special event.

State Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard and County Council Chair Geoff Rodgers were among the invited officials, which inluded NJROTC Commander Wes Shumaker, Los Alamos High School Principal Sandra Warnock, Superintendent Gene Schmidt, Elks Exalted Ruler Mark Sandoval, ZIA Credit Union’s David Woodruff, Boys/Girls State’s Vernon Kerr and Marie Todd.

The event was sponsored by Elks B.P.O.E Lodge 2083, Beta Sigma Phi City Council, Zia Credit Union and the Los Alamos Kiwanis Club, with special thanks to the American Legion Post 90, Unit 90 of the American Legion Auxiliary, Sons of the American Legion Squadron 90, American Legion Riders Chapter 19, and Charlie Bracken.

Boys State is designed to supplement the information taught in high school civics classes. It is an activity born out of a need for youth training in practical citizenship, leadership, and to instill a working knowledge of the structure and operation of state government.

Following the formation of The American Legion’s Boys State program, the American Legion Auxiliary developed a similar citizenship training program in order for high school girls to have the same opportunity. It became known as the Girls State program. This program offers training in the practical processes of self-government and good citizenship as practiced in a democratic society. 

Each summer, approximately 20,000 enthusiastic young women participate in Girls State sessions across the nation. At Girls State, the “citizens” study local, county and state government processes. They do this by setting up their own miniature city, county and state governments and administer them according to the laws of their particular states. 

After arriving at Girls State, the citizens are divided into two political parties, often named the Nationalists and the Federalists. These parties do not reflect the two major political parties in today’s system of government. The parties allow citizens to gain a special knowledge of how a two-party system operates. 

Girls State citizens participate in these mock political parties, and elections are held to fill city, county, and state positions. Activities include legislative sessions, campaigning, party rallies, debating and voting. The citizens also receive special instruction in Parliamentary Procedure. The delegates learn government processes by doing.

Girls State affords participants an opportunity to live together as self-governing citizens by informing them about the duties, privileges, rights and responsibilities of American citizenship. This learning experience better familiarizes the participants with their duties as United States citizens and encourages their participation in the democratic process as they progress into adulthood.

Dist. 43 Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard is introduced by Post 90 Cmdr. Bill Cooper. Photo by Leland Lehman/

American Legion Post 90 hosts Saturday’s Boys and Girls State dinner. Photo by Leland Lehman/