Meet the Board

Daela Gibson, Program Director

Hi everyone! I’m Daela Gibson and I’m the Director of Nevada Girls State. I have over twenty years experience with Nevada Girls State, beginning with my attendance as a delegate, ahem, late last century and continuing as I volunteered with the program after that year. I was named Director following the passing Mrs. Geraldine Connolly, the long-time director of Girls State.

Since being named Director, I have continued to build on the solid foundation I inherited from Mrs. Connolly. The current Nevada Girls State team includes prior delegates and people supportive of the program who communicate and work hard year round to put together the best opportunity for delegates to get the most out of our program.

As Nevada Girls State is a program of the American Legion Auxiliary, I have also played an active role in the ALA Department of Nevada. I am a Past Department President, Past National Executive Committeewoman, and I currently serve as the Department Secretary/Treasurer.

Outside of the Auxiliary and Nevada Girls State, I am very involved in the community. I am a former Chairperson and a charter member of the Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention. I have also been a crisis interventionist for over twenty years.

Welcome to Nevada Girls State. Can’t wait to meet you all!

Courtenay Burns, Program Chair

Hi! I’m Courtenay Burns and I’m the Chair of Nevada Girls State. Though I was born in California, I’ve lived in Nevada since I was three years old. After graduating from Pahrump Valley High School, I received a B.A. in Political Science from Berea College (Berea, KY) and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Nevada, Reno (Reno, NV). I currently work for, a non-profit education organization, where I help to administer Waterford Upstart, an in-home technology-delivered kindergarten readiness program. I am also a member of the American Legion Auxiliary (I am eligible through my grandfather, a Korea veteran), where I serve as the President. I look forward to meeting all of this year’s delegates!

Samantha Gingrich

Hello! My name is Samantha Gingrich, and I am returning counselor for Nevada Girls State. Feel free to call me Sam!

I have been with Nevada Girls State since my delegate year in 2015, happily returning as a counselor as frequently as possible. Every year I look forward to coming back and helping another cohort of Nevadan youth learn about our wonderful state’s civics. My role at NGS over the years has evolved, but I now proudly hold the title of Board Member and Counselor. You will typically find me running around, encouraging our delegates to tackle the issues that affect their communities head on, or sneaking away to locate any form of caffeine that is available. Some of my best memories and life lessons have come from NGS, and I relish in the opportunity to provide the same experience to others. 

In my day to day life I am an employee of the Nevada Department of Education, working to make sure federal grant money goes to where it is most needed. Having gone to several schools in Nevada, I know first hand the level of support our students deserve but don’t always receive. If I’m not providing that support directly at Girls State, I’m doing my best to make sure it is done administratively. This work is extremely fulfilling and gives me confidence in our future. 

On my off days I enjoy spending time with my friends, my husband, and my cat. When luck and my bank account allow, I have also been known to jet off to wherever my favorite bands are with nothing but a change of clothes, a ticket to the show, and a dream. 

I look forward to welcoming our future leaders this summer! 

Glynis Morris

Bio coming soon! 

Sydnie Walters

Hi everyone! My name is Sydnie. I was born and raised in Las Vegas where I graduated from Arbor View High School. I then moved to Reno to attend UNR, where I received a B.S. in Biotechnology and a Masters in Public Health. I am now working to help underserved members of the northern Nevada community access vital health care services. While in high school, I attended Nevada Girls State as a delegate myself. I fell in love with this program and have stayed involved ever since. I am so looking forward to meeting you and sharing this wonderful program with you all this summer!

Additional Staff Members

Each year there are many other staff members that participate in the week’s activities. They stay in the cabins with the delegates and act as counselor within specific cities. They include Senior Members of the American Legion Auxiliary, as well as Counselors who are Nevada Girls State alumnae.

If you would like to speak to a Counselor about the experience, these wonderful ladies are available for questions or discussion. (But don’t expect them to give you too much information! While we strive to make it clear to you what the program is about, many of the experiences gained and memories made are developed while at the camp. For this reason, it is important to come to Girls State with an open mind and a willingness to try new and unexpected things.)

If YOU are interested in becoming a Counselor, please fill out the Volunteer Application and submit prior to June 1st. A counselor is tasked, among other things, with facilitating all daily sessions during the week; helping to coordinate elections; overseeing all city, county, and party meetings; helping at the Legislature on Friday; and being available to aid and advise delegates as needed. A counselor is further expected to work closely with other staff members in order to keep our days running smoothly

There are a limited number of volunteer staff positions available. Application does not guarantee your selection.

A few notes regarding staff members:

  • Priority of selection is given to applicants who are Nevada Girls State alumnae.
  • We do no accept relatives (parents, grandparents, siblings, etc) of current delegates as volunteers.
  • Volunteers must be Girls State alumnae (from any state) and/or members of the American Legion Family.
  • Volunteers may be required to obtain and submit a background check.

Applications can be found under the “Volunteer” tab above.