Decorum at Keystone Girls State

Over the summer from June 17 to the 23, four senior girls attended Keystone Girls State at Shippensburg University. Seniors Madigan Roxbury, Sierra Nagy, Skylar Bauer, and Emily Tasker all spent a week delving into politics by writing bills, running for office, and visiting the state capitol.

The American Legion Auxiliary founded Keystone Girls State in 1947 to be an unbiased civics program that teaches the importance of responsible citizenship and empowers young women to help spark change their community. Citizens of Keystone Girls State are rising high school seniors who work together in self-governing their fictional counties and cities within KGS–all named after former presidents of the American Legion Auxiliary. Sierra Nagy, Skylar Bauer, and Emily Tasker all belonged to Seifert City in Blue County. 

Two girls who attend Girls State have the opportunity to attend Girls Nation as senators; Girls Nation is a week where Girls State attendees from every state create mock legislature, submit bills and resolutions, participate in senate sessions, hold a national convention, and visit Washington DC.

Girls attending KGS had the chance to run for office in city, county, and statewide positions. Some positions available included City Councilwoman, held by Emily Tasker, Public Relations Manager, held by Skylar Bauer, and Supreme Court Justices, held by Sierra Nagy and Madigan Roxbury. Citizens were registered to vote, given voter cards, and were walked through the KGS voting process. Girls were also assigned a fictional political party before arriving at Girls State: the Nationalists–Emily Tasker–and the Federalists–Skylar Bauer, Sierra Nagy, and Madigan Roxbury.

Girls were also divided into a fictional House of Representatives and Senate to vote on bills that were written by each other to address their fictional city’s problems. Bauer helped write a bill about her city’s agriculture, which passed with minor edits in both the Senate and House. Tasker wrote a bill with two other girls to address her city’s crime and school drop-out rates, the bill established a community center and garden that focused on youth outreach; her bill passed in both the House and Senate with only two amendments. 

It wasn’t all about politics at Girls State; citizens also had to create a flag and city song that they had to present as a whole city. There was also a talent show held on the Friday of KGS. Bauer, Nagy, and Tasker all performed with their whole city and their two counselors, singing along and dancing to “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.

Roxberry performed with another student, singing “Riptide” by Vance Joy.

Emily Tasker was more into the politics at KGS. She states, “Writing the bills was really cool and even though it got super boring at times, I had a lot of fun voting and writing amendments in the House. We ran it as close to the actual House of Representatives as we could; the Speaker of the House had to yell ‘Decorum!’ a lot.”

The girls also took a trip to Harrisburg to tour the Capital Building on the trip. At their arrival, all the girls were gathered to sing the National Anthem. Afterwards, the girls were allowed to roam the building as they pleased and were encouraged to meet with their local Senators and Representatives.

All four senior girls have considered going back to Keystone Girls State to be Junior Counselors next June.