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American Legion Boys State is among the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for high school students. It is a participatory program where each participant becomes a part of the operation of his local, county and state government.
Boys State has been a program of The American Legion since 1935 when it organized to counter the Fascist inspired Young Pioneer Camps. The program was the idea of two Illinois Legionnaires, Hayes Kennedy and Harold Card, who organized the first Boys State at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.
At American Legion Boys State, participants are exposed to the rights and privileges, the duties and the responsibilities of a franchised citizen. The training is objective and practical with city, county and state governments operated by the students elected to the various offices. Activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, chorus and recreational programs.
High school juniors are selected by local American Legion Posts to attend the program. In most cases, expenses associated with attending this program are paid by a sponsoring American Legion Post, a local business or another community-based organization.
American Legion Boys State is currently conducted in 49 Departments of The American Legion. Hawaii does not conduct a program. As separate corporations, Boys States vary in content and method of procedure, but each and every Boys State adheres to the basic concept of the program - that of teaching government from the township to the state level.
The American Legion Auxiliary sponsors a similar program for young ladies called Girls State. For online details visit http://www.boysandgirlsstate.org/girls.html
Boys State Criteria
In the actual selection of Boys State citizens, merit and ability alone are the basis for selection. Boys State is not a program for underprivileged boys nor is it a summer camp for recreation. American Legion Posts or other community-minded organizations often pay fees, or "tuition," with little to no expense to the young men.
We wish to secure equal delegate representation from all areas of the State of Texas; therefore, the Department Boys State Committee asks for one or more boy(s) from each accredited high school (public or private) to be nominated by the school to attend.
Characteristics of the "ideal" Boys Stater
To be selected for nomination or appointment as a Texas Boys State delegate, the candidate must demonstrate:
- Strong academic performance (e.g., a quick study) to thrive in this fast moving program
- Excellent Interpersonal skills (e.g., gets along very well with others from all backgrounds)
- Exhibited leadership (e.g., a leader of leaders)
- Solid Oratorical skills (e.g., a persuasive speaker and confidence shown in group settings)
In addition, the candidate must:
- be a male high school student
- have successfully completed his junior year
- have at least one semester remaining
- have not previously attended Boys State
- be recommended by his school officials
- have parents’/guardians’ permission to attend
- be certified by the sponsoring American Legion post, and
- sign the Boys State Pledge
Boys State Eligibility
The American Legion has certain qualifications for prospective Boys State citizens. Following are the recommended guidelines employed by most Boys State programs:
Only males who have successfully completed their junior year of high school and who have at least one more semester remaining are considered. Previous participants of a Boys State competition are not allowed to attend a second session. Only those who illustrate leadership, character, scholarship, loyalty and service in their schools and community should be considered. Merit and ability are the basis for evaluation during the actual citizens selection process.
Boys State competitions are in compliance with federal handicap laws. Most programs require a medical/parental consent certificate signed by a parent and registered doctor.
The selection process often differs in Legion departments.
The ideal method is for schools to recommend lists of eligible candidates to local Legion posts. The post would then conduct interviews and select their representative(s) for the program.
Students and their parents are not allowed to apply on their own, so I don't think we need an application on the website. It should say that those interested should talk to their school counselor.
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Contact Jon Spann 254-315-0772