Young women from around the state take part in "Girls State'

ELKINS, W. Va. (WDTV) - They lined up to start a week to remember.

"I think just going with an open mind really helped me," said Sydney West, governor for the 2018 American Legion Rhododendron Girls State.

What they’ll be doing: becoming better citizens.

"We're finding that is that their voice is so important," said Dr. Rosemary Thomas, assistant director for the program.

more than 300 girls from around the state gathered at Davis and Elkins cCollege for their first day at the American Legion Rhododendron Girls State on Sunday.

"It gives them an opportunity to do it in an educated, a civil and an active kind of way," she said.

Their message is to promote citizenship, leadership, patriotism and volunteerism to young women.

"The great thing about it is they set up mock governments at the city county and state levels and they have an opportunity to campaign, they have an opportunity to vote for one another," said Thomas.

This year, 84 women hold seats in the House of Representatives, while 23 serve in the senate. Members of this program want to help these girls be leaders today and tomorrow and possibly take part in government.

"It teaches you about running elections and advocating for our cause and building your confidence," said Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R- West Virginia).

While learning how to choose a political party, vote, among other thing, they also hope that they can form life long friendships while pushing each other to greatness.

"Because there's no boys here like you're forced to work together, You have a more appreciation for women," said West.