"ALA IGS will protect our future by serving the youth of our country"
Director: Pam Ray
“ALA IGS will protect our future by serving the youth of our country” will be our theme this year. American Legion Auxiliary Illini Girls State will be held June 18-24, 2017 on the campus of Eastern Illinois University. We are hopeful that we will once again increase attendance as we did last year.
The National Organization has asked us to focus on the ALA mission as well as encouraging eligible citizens to join the ALA. Another focus this year will be to encourage outside funding for citizens to attend ALA IGS. And as always, we want to inform and encourage the citizens to participate in our scholarship programs.
The ALA’s mission has been a focus for our program for several years now. We have Veterans come speak to our citizens and we do a mission project, many times based on our Department President’s Special Project. Our Committee will be looking at this when we meet in November.
Many of our citizens find out during ALA IGS that they are eligible to belong to the ALA. Invite them to assist you with Unit activities, even if they are not eligible. Many times just that extra contact may encourage them to find eligibility or share their experience with others that may be eligible. I am asking each Unit that sponsors a delegate to review the eligibility requirements with your delegate and assist her in joining. Perhaps you could offer to pay her first year’s dues or perhaps waive the Unit per capita and send only the state and national per capita for the first year. However, our job is not done there. We must follow up and be sure they continue to pay their dues. When we do sign up these citizens, we lose them after the first year because they do not know how to pay their dues or they go off to college and we don’t stay in contact with them. A personal goal for me this year is to investigate starting an eUnit with ALA IGS citizens and alumnae. This will definitely be new territory for me, but I think it is a way to work with these citizens in a manner they are comfortable with.
I know that funds for citizens at the Unit level are sometimes difficult to obtain. Please contact your local businesses, city government, other clubs, the American Legion Post, and the SAL squadron in your area. Perhaps a very satisfied family of a former citizen would consider sponsoring a young lady. Any of these sources may donate funds to you to sponsor a citizen. Take information with you about the ALA IGS program. Share the ALAforVeterans.org website with them so they can find out more about us. Here in Illinois we have 2 ladies that are very successful obtaining outside funds. Julia Moore and Arlene Lolley have certainly been successful. Seek these ladies out for ideas.
Madame President Luella’s special project includes our ALA Education program. We will definitely be sharing scholarship opportunities with our citizens. Two years ago we added a scholarship with EIU for ALA IGS and TAL BS citizens that apply and are accepted to EIU. Only our alumnae can apply for this scholarship. Memorials to the ALA IGS program can also be a source of a scholarship.
I will be working with Angie Mulligan to see if we can make our website even more user friendly and informative. Please share this website information with your Unit members as well as your delegates. Many arrive and say they had no idea we had a website!
We have some exciting things planned for this upcoming session. We will be holding a mini oratorical contest. The citizens have been asking for this for several years now. We are looking at refocusing our Legislative branch on true state issues. One very important thing. We have found that many citizens are receiving information that is no longer related to our program. Our program changes yearly. I have discussed this with President Luella.
Therefore, we will be instituting orientations throughout the state that will be conducted by the ALA IGS committee members only. We are going to offer enough dates that we are requiring all citizens to attend one of these orientations. We will have several dates, and several locations. It will be the Unit’s responsibility to share these dates with your delegates. We will be looking for Units to host these events. Stay tuned for more information.
As you can see, the planning has already started. We are excited about these changes. We feel these changes will only enhance the citizens’ experience.
Educational activities play an important role at IGS and I hope to continue the traditions and also start new ones. We had a positive change to the schedule last year on Tuesday afternoon in which the citizens participated in four different stations. The girls wrote letters to Honor Flight, participated in ROTC leadership activities, made tray favor crafts for the VA hospitals, and heard from a state trooper. With President Luella theme I know we will work very hard to get the female state trooper back for this year’s session, possible to speak in a small group setting and before the entire group. I will work hard to get a week of motivational and government speakers and the IGS committee will plan awesome week for the citizens.
I am encouraged by the counselors, staff advisors, and other staff that attend IGS every year. Without them, without you and your support, we wouldn’t be able to make the program as special for our citizens as we have been able to. I am very much looking forward to working with President Luella, Director Pam, IGS Committee members, and all of our wonderful staff at the 2017 session of IGS.