From the history of Girls State to information on joining the ALA, we hope you enjoy learning about the program and find exactly what you need here
The Girls State program in Texas has been one of constant improvement and growth. The number of participants has grown from 94 to over 500. The progress of Girls State in Texas could not have been accomplished if it had not been for the pioneers of Bluebonnet Girls State; the full cooperation and encouragement of the Department Presidents of the American Legion Auxiliary; former directors, members and chairmen of the Girls State Committee; the press, radio and television; school and state officials; interested individuals; most of all the local units who sponsor girls; and last but not least, the citizens.
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
GIRLS STATE HISTORY
The American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary founded Girls State in an effort to:
educate our youth in the duties, privileges and responsibilities of American citizenship
give future citizens, in a realistic manner, an opportunity to learn the problems of government by performing the same duties as real office holders in the everyday world
inform them of the rights and privileges of American citizenship
instill a deep sense of the personal responsibilities and obligations which this citizenship entails
During past sessions of Girls State, citizens have been privileged to hear many outstanding speakers including: then Governor George W. Bush, former Presidents George Bush and Lyndon Baines Johnson, First Lady Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson and Miss Barbara Jordan. Former Girls State citizens Gov. Ann W. Richards, Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, Judge Bea Ann Smith and others have also returned to the program as guest speakers.
THE AMERICAN LEGION AUXILIARY
The American Legion Auxiliary shines as an example of unselfish giving. With almost a million members from all walks of life, the Auxiliary administers hundreds of volunteer programs, gives tens of thousands of hours to its communities and to veterans, and raises millions of dollars to support its own programs as well as other worthwhile charities familiar to most Americans. It is all accomplished with volunteers.
The Auxiliary, organized in 1919 to assist The American Legion, is much more than the name implies. The organization has achieved its own unique identity while working side-by-side with the veterans who belong to The American Legion. Like the Legion, the Auxiliary’s interests have broadened to encompass the entire community.
The American Legion Auxiliary is the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization. Through its nearly 10,500 units located in every state and some foreign countries, the Auxiliary embodies the spirit of America that has prevailed through war and peace. Along with The American Legion, it solidly stands behind America and her ideals.
Frances Goff served as Director of Texas Girls State for over forty years. During those five decades, over twenty thousand girls from across Texas learned about patriotism, citizenship, and government at the program she helped to develop.
Miss Goff began working with Girls State in 1947 when she advised staff members and made suggestions to improve the program. She continued to shape the program as Director from 1952 until 1994 (excluding 1957). Her influence continues as each successive generation of Girls State citizens shares their knowledge with the next.
Frances Goff’s true legacy is the achievement of Girls State graduates like former Governor Ann Richards, Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander, Judge Court of Criminal Appeals Bea Ann Smith, and former Assistant District Attorney for Harris County Lori Swann. Because of Frances Goff and the program she shaped, over twenty thousand women have become not only better citizens, but better people, for as teacher, advisor, mentor, colleague and friend, Frances Goff taught them about life.
Frances Goff began her long career of service in state government. She worked with the Texas State House Appropriations Committee and assisted the Senate Finance Committee. Miss Goff also worked on the Board of Control as the State Budget Director. During World War II, Miss Goff served her country as Sergeant Major to the commanding officer of Love Field, Dallas. Later she transferred to the Air Transport Command headquarters in Washington. In 1951, Frances Goff moved to Houston at the request of then Governor Allan Shivers, to serve as assistant to the president of the newly founded M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Research Institute. Although she retired in 1982, Miss Goff continued serving the hospital as assistant to the president.
Frances Goff has been honored for her work in state government, in military service, and in education. The American Legion Auxiliary of Texas rewarded her with a lifetime membership. The Houston chapter of the Women in Communications honored her with the Matrix Award. Frances Goff was also named an honorary member of the Delta Kappa Gamma honor society for women educators. In 1986, Texas Lutheran University’s Board of Regents presented Miss Goff with the Distinguished Service Award. Frances Goff was also inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in 1986 and was awarded the Valley Forge Certificate for Individual Achievement from the Freedom Foundation. Miss Goff died September 15, 1994 and is buried at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, Texas. Her biography, “Texas, Her Texas,” was published in 1997.