Friend: “So… where are you going next week again?”

Me: “Oh, I’m going to Girls State.”

Friend: “Oh, congrats! For what?”

Me: “For Girls State.”

Friend: “Like… for soccer? Track?”

This was the exact conversation I had with at least a dozen family members and friends. I am here to help prepare you for the next time you have this conversation with someone, whether it be about Boys or Girls State.

To be honest, I had sympathy for the confused friend or family member who I entertained the misunderstood conversation with. The only reason I knew what this Boys/Girls State thing was, was because one of the guys at Boys State in Nebraska had slipped me his number on a napkin, when the volleyball campers and staters shared lunch in the UNL dining hall. Those were first and the last digits I received on a napkin. I don’t know if that is good or bad. ANYWAY, I couldn’t explain GS very well until after I had spent a week giving speeches and wearing a dress. Every. Single. Day. I don’t even own a weeks worth of dresses! (This is when being the same size as your mother comes in handy.) I also stole all of her khakis, but that’s another story.

For clarification purposes, “Girls State” is a literal, (but still imaginary) state. Think along the lines of Iowa or Illinois, except our state’s name is, Hawkeye Girls State. We referred to this imaginary state as the State of Hawkeye. Sorry Iowa State fans, but you are going to have to take the L again. What I’m saying is it’s not a coincidence that a state consisting of some of Iowa’s most prestigious young women is named Hawkeye. Actually, I don’t know why it’s called Hawkeye, I didn’t care enough to ask, but I secretly will be counting this as another W.

I’m going to be completely honest, I was one of about 10 girls selected from my school to go in for an interview to attend GS. I was out of town when the interviews happened, and I received the spot by default. No one else showed up from my school. Hah. At the time, I was cool with it, all I had to do was send in my resume and leadership qualities to receive basically a weeks worth of cafeteria food. This is not the typical high school cafeteria gunk where you can’t tell whether you’re eating chicken or pasta because everything tastes the same in the 1/2 cup casserole ration. No. This is the big leagues people. I’m talking soft serve ice cream, dessert bar, pizza bar, pasta bar, I think I achieved the freshman 15 in one week bar, and the salad bar (I stood by it only while wating in the ice cream line of 20 people). I was cool with the free weeks worth of food, free dorm stay, scholarship opportunities, and something else to put on my resume. (May I remind you nothing has gone wrong yet in this blogpost.)

A couple months after I had registered and sent in my parent permission form late (typical), I wanted to attend a volleyball camp of a college I was interested in. GUESS WHAT WEEK THE CAMP WAS SCHEDULED FOR. I am convinced scheduling conflicts will be the death of me. You can quote this in my obituary.

This scheduling issue was my fault, but in my defense I didn’t even know I wanted to go to this college until after I had received this, what was becoming a pain in my rear, default opportunity. I begged the Rents to let me back out of it, but they wouldn’t have it. So I sucked it up, prayed the college wouldn’t be off the table, packed up 7 bags, and drove two hours to the Drake campus. Under different circumstances I would have enjoyed the week of strict dress codes, presentations, and busy schedule a lot more. This was definitely a Banana Peel for the record books.

Alright, I’m off my soapbox now. I was able to be sponsored by my American Legion Auxiliary, and as greatful as I was for the experience, I can wholeheartedly say I will not be entering the workforce running for political office. At GS we replicated City, County, and State elections, made party platforms, and went through the process of creating bills and making amendments. We had standing votes over the legalization of marijuana and odd speeches over embarrassing period stories. I’m not joking. We could all relate, but I wasn’t about to tell 85 girls a period story. I decided to mix it up and tell a story about falling off a horse. At Girls State I had the privilege of listening to some of the most inspirational speeches and I met some girls there who I now look up to. I made new friends who were totally cool to getting ready in the morning with the Newsboys playing. SCORE. The best part about the week was that I was able to capture most of the week’s events on a little camera and squeeze 76 videos into 3 minutes and play them to music. I got some weird looks walking around with a little green stick, but I once again received the nickname of “GoPro Girl” by the end of the week. (Refer to my last post named “Never Put Your Love Life In The Hands Of Your GoPro” for the backstory on this honorary nickname.) And lastly, a big SHOUTOUT to all the people who aren’t camera shy. Y’all are what makes video editing fun and easy, keep doin you.

A note to my fellow Girls Staters

I first want to thank you for reading this long blogpost, or skipping to the end to watch the video. Both are equally great, but props to you for reading the whole thing, I promise not all my posts are this long. Second, I want to thank you for giving me the ultimate experience at Girls State, whether it was ranting about the dresscode, or letting me shove a miniature camera in your face and having you awkwardly wave. I truly believe I was in the presence of Iowa’s finest Class of 2017 senior girls. Y’all showed me I am not the only one who stays up until 2 a.m. to finish homework or study to get the A on the test. 

Explanation of Song Choice

Some of you may have recognized the last two songs from morning meditation, but I wanted to include a snip it of Matthew West’s World Changers at the beginning because I believe the lyrics are so true for all of you. The beginning of the song goes as follows: 

In a world full of dirt, you’re a diamond

In a world full of hurt, you’re smiling

In the darkest dark, you’re shining

Shining like a shooting star

You live your life like you’re here on a mission

Yeah, you’re not afraid of being different

You hear the doubters, but you don’t listen

‘Cause you know who you are

Yeah, you know who you are

This is to all the world changers

Keep walking on, don’t you ever

Lose that fire in your soul

Lose that fire in your soul

This is to all the world changers

You know you are history makers

This world’s never gonna change you

You’re gonna change

You’re gonna change

The world (yeah)

The world

I truly believe that you all are not only leaders in your hometowns, but you all are going to become “World Changers.” You set the example, you are not afraid to speak up for what you believe in, “in the face of fear you’re fearless,” and I think these lyrics are spot on when they say “From the ends of the earth to your hometown To the lost, to the hurt, to the broke down You’re the arms wide open A love that’s showing every one of us the way now.” I hope you get as much from this song as I have.

Party in the USA. Everybody needs a little Miley in their life, and to the people that made the Party in the USA GS parody, I wish I could have recorded it, y’all killed it.

Oceans. When Hope sang this song on the last day, not gonna lie, I started to cry. It was so beautiful, and I had to include the song in the video. They wrote their own piano and clarinet parts for the performance, and that is one of the many talents that rose to the surface two weeks ago. 

Do any of y’all remember how stinking hard it was to keep your candle lit the last windy night around the flag pole? Remember how we had to keep lighting each other’s candles once someone’s around us had been blown out by the wind? I want to use those circumstances to relate to life. Every time someone or something blows out your candle, when you’re struggling and down in the dumps, lean on eachother. Use other people’s fire to relight your own candle. Use their encouragement, motivation, and strong candle flame to light your own. If you have the candle that doesn’t burn out, share your strength, experience, and positive mindset with those who need it. We are leaders, and we are the light in our generation. Shine yours bright. 

I hope y’all enjoy the video and this little note, thank you again. Love y’all. 

-Morgan (one of the 10 that were there) 


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