Girls State chooses Eastern student representative

Blake Warman, Staff Reporter

She was chosen to work for the 74th Session of Illini Girls State on Eastern’s campus.

Picked from a selection of 400 people to council, Kelsie Abolt, a sophomore family and consumer sciences major, has been working the past week as a counselor for Girls State.

Abolt feels that coming back as a counselor is a great honor. She believes this because of the 400 citizens who participate each year, one must be invited back by the staff to be a counselor.

Girls State is a weeklong simulation on patriotism, leadership and the election process. This camp consist of 400 girls that have completed their junior year of high school. The girls attending are selected by multiple American Auxiliary units throughout the state of Illinois.

The program is operated by volunteers who are members of the American Legion Auxiliary or who are former Illini Girls State citizens.

Each of the citizens get to experience the many processes of running for elected offices, voting, and campaigning. Each citizen attending will elect city, county and state officials with each office having duties that will be carried out throughout the week.

Abolt describes her previous experience at girls state as an “honorable opportunity.”

“All the women here are extremely bright and of a very high caliber, to have the opportunity to interact with individuals at this level is humbling, inspiring and rewarding,” Abolt said.

Of all the experiences Abolt believes the opportunities that Girls State offers are the most unique. With the many students running for office this allows each person campaigning to practice both their public speaking and leadership abilities, Abolt said.

This also brings stiff competition where in the end there is only one winner.

“This allows the girls to learn how to win or lose gracefully and love the process with a whole at their back for support,” Abolt said.

Abolt also believes the residence halls offered by Eastern allows each citizen to make friends and lasting relationships and prepare themselves for when they head off to college in the upcoming year.

What Abolt appreciates the most is the true push and challenges that Girls State gave her. These challenges allowed for Abolt to take risks during the elections at Girls State.

When Abolt ran she did not win but she stressed that this allowed her to learn the power of “a positive attitude and that any situation is all what you make of it.”

Abolt said because of this she left Girls State with great friends and memories.

“The impact of Girls State is one hard to explain, but 100 percent unforgettable,” she said.

Blake Warman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].