BANGOR – A 73-year-old program that teaches girls about government and how to make an impact is happening in Bangor.
Town meetings, general elections and party rallies are just a few topics these young women learn about at Dirigo Girls’ State.
“My group had a rally here. Ours was superhero themed and I got a cape,” Gracia Bareti, 2019 Governor at Girls’ State, said. “It was yellow because yellow’s my favorite color.”
Dirigo Girls’ State brings in high school women from all across Maine who just finished their junior year. They participate in a simulation government, taking on different roles and participate in exercises on how to become more involved.
“They need to learn that one person can make a difference in state government or in local government as well,” Director of Education Edie Smith, Director of Education, said.
The girls here get a hands-on learning experience, learning about county, state and local government.
“Learning how to function in the governmental process, and know that it’s not anything that needs to be scary, or intimidating,” Smith said. “That they actually can be very involved and have role models.”
All while making friendships along the way.
“I was actually just braiding a girls hair in my dorm that I just met,” Bareti said. “Everyone is very nice and wants to get to know you.”
Smith described Girls’ State as the best and that many women return to help out year after year.
“I was here as a delegate from Winthrop High School in 1976,” Smith said. “I’ve come back almost every year because it’s just an amazing program for young women.”
Smith also said these women are an inspiration.
“It’s a wonderful example that our future is in good hands.”
Some girls said they’re already thinking about how they can impact the future.
“Someday I actually do hope to run for office,” Bareti said. “I don’t know what specifically, I definitely would run for something.”