By Daniel E. McGonigle
The Caledonia Argus
Claire Kasten and Katrina Paulson, juniors at Caledonia area high school, were selected by the local American Legion Auxiliary to attend Girls State.
The event will take place on June 12 through June 17 and will be held at Bethel College in St. Paul.
ALA Girls State is a unique and exciting government-in-action learning program in which American Legion Auxiliary members guide young women to become knowledgeable stewards of freedom, democracy and patriotic citizens.
“It will be pretty cool to learn about how government works,” said Kasten. “You learn about basic government at the local and state level.”
“It will be interesting to learn about it,” added Paulson.
Paulson, who isn’t sure she will attend as the dates conflict with the state high school golf tournament, still said it is an honor to have been chosen.
What is ALA “Girls State?”
The American Legion Auxiliary’s marquee Girls State program, first presented in 1937, is one of the most respected and coveted experiential learning programs presented in the United States.
The program epitomizes the ALA’s mission to honor those who have brought us our freedom through our enduring commitment to develop young women as future leaders grounded in patriotism and Americanism. The young women become knowledgeable of the democratic process and how our republic form of government works at the state and national levels
Each summer, approximately 16,000 young women participate in weeklong ALA Girls State programs across the nation. Every American Legion Auxiliary Girls State program operates with the same patriotic values through a nonpartisan curriculum where students assume the roles of government leaders, campaigning in mock parties (often called “Federalists” and “Nationalists”) to become mayors and county and state officials of their ALA Girls State. The program is a weeklong immersive learning experience, often held on a college campus where girls live in “cities” within a dormitory-like setting. The learning, experience, memories, and friendships last a lifetime.
To be chosen, Kasten and Paulson were selected out of about 10-12 other young female students at Caledonia high school.
The girls were chosen for their leadership qualities and their involvement in many activities.
“Even though I’m not thinking I’ll one day run for office, I hope to learn more about becoming more involved and how I can be active,” said Kasten.
She also said she enjoys these types of opportunities as it is a chance to meet students similar to her and make some friends from other parts of the state.
Claire is the daughter of Richard and Sue Kasten and Katrina is the daughter of Mike and Kay Paulson.