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Girls State Drawing More Participants Than Boys State

Governor Noem doesn’t have to worry about getting her rat-out-libs hotline working again before addresses Girls State Wednesday evening at USD; all the girls know that if they make any serious use of the First Amendment rights that the American Legion Auxiliary is trying to instill in our youth, Governor Noem will just have them kicked out of the event and denied scholarship opportunities.

But for all her fascism, Governor Noem may be able to claim a victory in inspiring more girls to get interested in government:

American Legion Auxiliary South Dakota Girls State was founded at Mitchell in 1947. It regularly met 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.

It is under the sponsorship of the 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 [David Lias, “South Dakota Girls State Kicks Off at USD on May 29,” Vermillion Plain Talk, 2023.05.26].

In 2008, Girls State drew 465 participants; in 2013, 438; in 2018, 365. Last year’s photos show 291 participants.

Girls State is getting more participants than Boys State. When I participated in Boys State up at Northern 35 years ago this week, I was one of over 600 boys sweating through a hot week of morning calisthenics and government simulation. Boys State had 398 participants in 2012, over 300 in 2015, and only 177 last year. The American Legion says it expects up to 350 boys to attend this year’s Boys State in Aberdeen.


  1. larry kurtz 2023-05-28 11:42

    Grooming impressionable plebes for a life of service to the state is a lofty alternative to the indoctrination of some gay professor of the humanities, init?

  2. leslie 2023-05-28 13:30

    Miami-Dade school district said it “was determined at the school that ‘The Hill We Climb’ is better suited for middle school students and, it was shelved in the middle school section of the media center” after a parent of two students at Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes complained about Gorman’s [inaugural] poem [and several other books], claiming it had indirect “hate messages”, according to records obtained by the Florida Freedom to Read Project and seen by the Miami Herald. The book challenges come a year after the state’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed a law critics have dubbed “Don’t Say Gay”, which banned instruction related to gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade.

    Reading John Thune’s twitter posts in May, it is clear Mitch McConnell handed our Senator a list of Republican talking points green-lighting Thune to take over the waning Republican leadership role in the Senate.

    Thune regularly hosts legions of adolescents to his Senate office instilling Republican values, and posts numerous photo-ops at young peoples’ athletic events. His Twitter posts repeat Biden’s “fault” and failure in the impending DEBT CEILING extortion as the latest misinformation by House Republicans and Fox News saying “President Biden will be responsible for the first ever default on our national debt” (May 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th); he renounces Biden’s “RADICAL ENVIRONMENTAL AGENDA” (May 3rd, 5th, 8th) yet brags on the Trump conservative SCOTUS majority emasculation of EPA WOTUS pollution regulation (May 25th); The BORDER CRISIS – worst in our nation’s history – explode into a full-blown catastrophe … Biden Administration… crisis of their own creation (May 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th ); instills fear of Biden as “instigator of a future ENERGY CRISIS” (May 11th); Thune says “I want answers [for] the Biden Admin’s disastrous WITHDRAWAL FROM AFGHANISTAN” (May 11th); Thune OBSTRUCTS PRESIDENTIAL APPOINTMENT of Sec of Labor (May 16th).

    All this is couched in gratuitous posts to remain in office w/support from DAV, Law Enforcement, Motorcyclists, small town lunches, meet and greets and hokey grandchildren photo ops, ad nauseam.

    One of my children not too long ago attended the American Legion event as a high school junior. My concern is that the American Legion may cease to exist if Republicans do not stand up to the Trump jail break via Kevin McCarthy’s national default extortion in progress. Nicoles Wallace interview @ 1.03.00

  3. chris 2023-05-28 14:21

    It’s all about getting your cosmetic enhancements done at out-of-SD clinics, girls. That’s the only path to success in SD state government.

  4. SuperSweet 2023-05-28 15:05

    I was at Boys State 60 years ago. It was a great experience. Ironic that some Legion members are Trumpsters…

  5. Phil 2023-05-28 15:07

    You’re making me feel as old as I feel, Cory. I did Boys State around 54 years ago. Don’t remember much about it, except my folks were both perfessers at Northern, and I pretty much grew up on campus. Us local participants thought it would be good to get our girlfriends and their friends to meet our new Boy’s State guy friends. Except you couldn’t leave the campus, so we sat on the curb on 12 Ave. across from the water tower and the girls drove up and parked. We got caught, and while maybe technically not breaking the rules, that didn’t sit well with the Authorities, there was some sort of ruckus, but not much came of it. The parents were out of town at the time and never knew we were planning a party at their house. Thanks for dredging up that repressed memory. I vaguely recall some patriotic indoctrinating going on, but it’s all kinda fuzzy. Seemed like more innocent times, or maybe I was just more simple then.

  6. e platypus onion 2023-05-28 17:11

    Any magats apply to check for foreign appendages on all the girls that attend? Maybe Goatnick and his imaginary goats can handle it.

  7. grudznick 2023-05-28 17:21

    Mr. onion, I respectfully request that you keep grudznick in the correct lane in your mind. You are imagining positions that grudznick does not take. Check with Mr. H, if you wish.

    Being an out-of-state name-caller is one thing, but attributing despicable positions to one who does not hold that train of thought goes too far. Remember, grudznick has been voted the most loved conservative with common sense at this here blogging place for 5 straight years, so try and show a little respect.

  8. Bonnie B Fairbank 2023-05-28 17:24

    I cannot imagine attending this clustermuck under any circumstances, scholarships or no. Ain’t nuthin’ worth it.

  9. Edwin Arndt 2023-05-28 17:50

    63 years ago for me. It was much simpler. Gay meant happy. There was no meaning for trans.

  10. Page James 2023-05-28 20:01

    Attended in 1970. There was a liberal cabal then that put out an underground newspaper. I distinctly remember a story that mocked a former governors speech to us. Don’t recall which Governor. Probably cause for expulsion today (or worse) for exercising a first amendment right. But no hotlines then for squealers to rat out the kids who did the paper.

  11. Donald Pay 2023-05-28 20:41

    I didn’t go to Boys State. I didn’t have time. I was volunteering for Gene McCarthy’s campaign during the Presidential primary.

  12. leslie 2023-05-29 02:29

    The idea behind Boys and Girls State is democracy, but as Joyce Poppen of rural Castlewood who has lived on a farm her entire life, writes now, as she is retired:

    “Our freedom from fear has been tampered with and our love of country compromised.”

    Republicans are responsible for this challenge to our nation.

    “LET’S PARTY LIKE IT’S TRUMP’S IMPEACHMENT DAY” coffee mug, photo by Madison Howard, Vermillion, SD, 2019.05.30. 134 comments on Dakota Free Press

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