By Sydney Leyerle
Special to the Sentinel-Tribune
Buckeye Girls State is returning to Bowling Green State University for the first time since 1997.
Each summer since 1947, hundreds of girls from around Ohio have been gathering to learn more about government and the election process. This event has been hosted at Capital University, BGSU, Ashland University and the University of Mount Union. It returns to BGSU for 2023 and 2024.
The program is a week-long event, hosted this year on June 11-17, with 600 girls participating from schools all around the state. Each girl must have just finished their junior year of high school to be eligible to participate.
“It is a phenomenal program that teaches young ladies about city, county and state government as well as the process, the election process, and good citizenship,” Linda Close, director of public relations for Buckeye Girls State, said.
Upon arrival at BGSU, the girls will be split into different residence halls and floors. Close said that each floor holds about 40 girls and is considered a city.
Each residence hall, which she said consists of five floors, is combined to make a county. The girls can choose to campaign against those in their city for a city government position or they can campaign against everyone in the residence hall for a county position. They will also be able to run against everyone participating for a state government position.
Throughout the week, the girls will attend different workshops and will be able to campaign and vote. Close said voting will be completed by Wednesday.
Once voting is completed and all the positions are full, the girls will have the opportunity to meet real elected officials and learn how to do their roles. Close said there will be a variety of officials present such as the Ohio governor, state judges, a mayor and state highway patrol officers.
“On Sunday evening, we will bring in a judge … that will swear (in) all of the citizens of Buckeye Girls State,” Close said.
Students don’t have to campaign for a government position as they can also apply to be a news reporter or be in the Buckeye Girls State band.
After the week is over, Close said two girls will be selected to attend Girls Nation where they will spend a week in Washington, D.C., alongside girls from every state.
Close said every girl has an opportunity to be selected for other events or scholarships.
BGSU will host Buckeye Girls State next year and possibly more years to come.
“I think we hope that the program teaches the girls about the election process, the whole process of election. Also about the positions, for if you are active in your future, and you work in city, county or state position, it gives you an edge on knowing exactly what each of these officials do in their official capacity,” Close said. “That, along with patriotism, good citizenship, and to make sure that these girls continue to be involved in our government process.”