Director: Pam Ray
Illini Girls State celebrates its ”diamond jubilee”. The 75th session will be held June 21-27, 2015 on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, IL. President Ann, myself, and the 2014-2015 IGS commission have already started brainstorming on special ways to celebrate this occasion. If anyone has any thoughts on this, I know the commission would be happy to discuss them.
National's 6 objectives this year are:
1-instill a commitment of volunteerism and an awareness of the ALA's mission in all ALA Girls State Citizens,
2-actively encourage all eligible ALA Girls State citizens (past and present) to join the ALA,
3-increase scholarship/funding for ALA girls state programs,
4-promote availability of the Samsung scholarship. Each year one girl from every ALA Girls State program will win a $1000 scholarship, and national winners may be awarded up to $20000,
5-utiuze the internet and social networking sites to increase awareness and visibility of ALA girls state,
6-stay up to date on the latest ALA Girls State programming news and best practices.
I beieve Illinois does all of this very well as I reviewed the national plan of action by National Chairman Martha Lee Thatcher. I was excited to see that our program already incorporates, in some manner, some or all of the ideas listed under each objective.
This year the plan has also given ideas for the units and individual members to implement to achieve each goal. I will be sharing these ideas with your division and district girls state chairmen and will share some in the ALA today as space allows.
One of the most important objectives is to increase funding to the IGS program. The unit suggestion here is to solicit donations from outside sources to send a girl to Girls State. At alaforveterans.org there are very short videos about our program. Give these businesses or individuals the website and encourage them to view these videos for a better idea of who we are and what we do. Who knows, maybe they will read about other programs as well while they are on the website and want to join us!
One of my personal goals is to inform all schools in the State of Illinois about our program. We must increase our numbers! If anyone can offer me a suggestion on how to reach all the schools, I would appreciate it. At this time I am looking into working through the state board of education as well as possibly creating a poster that could be placed in businesses around the state about the program. If girls want to go, we will find a way for them to go.
Every year we have funds sent in by units and they are unable to find a young lady in their area to attend. Many of these units when contacted were more than willing to let us use that money to send girls from areas that had no sponsoring units. We will be vigilant about this again this year. I am confident that the funding can be found.
Encourage the schools in your area to view our IGS website at www.ilgirlsstate.org. This will give them the tools they need to inform their junior girls about our program. Offer to speak at a school assembly to spark interest in the program. Write an article for the local newspaper about the program or write a letter to the editor! Better yet, have a former citizen write a letter to the editor about her wonderful experience.
I will continue to work with former Missouri Governor Bob Holden to be a participant in the china exchange program to bring young Chinese women to IGS. Our largest stumbling block has been finding illinois businesses willing to sponsor a young woman financially. My understanding is that the cost is just over $5000 per girl again, some of this is a lack of knowledge of who we are and what we do. Governor Holden will be providing these businesses with the website information to view the IGS/Boys State videos. If anyone knows of a business that would be willing to sponsor even one young lady, please contact me. If we only get one student , that is a start!
EIU has already agreed to refund our program $450 for each exchange student we sponsor.
I will be offering three personal awards this next year:
$10 to the unit reporting the highest number of businesses contributing to the IGS program. This will be judged from the unit report form. Please let your units know the specific donors must be listed on the report form. The units may submit this to me as well as to the district chairman.
The second $10 award to the unit reporting a unique way of raising funds for the igs program. This will be judged from the unit report form.
The third $10 award will be to the first unit that submits a narrative to national and to me demonstrating how working the objectives of the National Girls Nation plan of action engaged, retained, and attracted members to grow membership in the unit.
This is a very exciting year for IGS! I look forward to working with the units as we spread the word about our program.