The American Legion Boys State and American Legion Auxiliary Girls State
American Legion Boys State and American Legion Auxiliary Girls State are the premier programs for teaching how government works while developing leadership skills & an appreciation for your rights as a citizen. As a participant in the program you, will run for office, learn public speaking, create and enforce laws and actively participate in all phases of creating and running a working government in this exciting and fun summer program. You’ll meet other students from across your state who will become friends for life. You’ll develop confidence and leadership skills that will shape your future. Many states offer scholarships or admission preference for attendees of Boys or Girls State. For more specific information about YOUR Boys or Girls State program, click on the appropriate Boys or Girls icon and then use the locator on that page to find the contact information for your state.American Legion Boys State is among the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for U.S. high-school students. A participatory program in which students become part of the operation of local, county and state government, Boys State was founded in 1935 to counter the socialism-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. American Legion Auxiliary sponsors a separate but similar program for young women called Girls State. At Boys State, participants learn assemblies, bands, choruses and recreational programs. Legion posts select high-school juniors to attend the program. In most cases, individual expenses are paid by a sponsoring post, a local business or another community-based organization. Boys State programs currently exist in all Legion departments except Hawaii. As separate corporations, Boys State programs vary in content and method of procedure, but each adheres to the same basic concept: teaching government from the township to the state level. The first Boys Nation – then called Boys Forum of National Government – beginning of the session, then organize into committees and conduct hearings on bills submitted by program delegates. Senators learn the proper method of handling bills, according to U.S. Senate rules. Participation in the political process is emphasized throughout the week, including organization of party conventions and nominating and electing a president and vice president. The week of government training also includes lectures, forums and visits to federal agencies, institutions, memorials and historical sites. On Capitol Hill, ys Nation senators meet with elected officials from their home states. Field trips include Arlington National Cemetery, the National Mall, the Supreme Court, the Department of State, the Capitol and the White House. Since Boys Nation began in 1946, a number of its graduates have been elected to public office, including presidents, congressmen, state governors and state legislators. Many others have been inspired to work for the campaigns of individuals seeking public office. Four Boys Nation alumni spoke to the senators about their experience with the program, how it impacted their lives and where they are now. The four men included 1995 Kansas alum Joel Leftwich, republican deputy staff director for the Senate Agriculture Committee; 1997 Georgia alum Michael Lang, a federal prosecutor with the United States Department of Justice, criminal division; 1997 North Dakota alum Dan Webber, vice president for the digital public affairs team at Edelman; and 2005 New Jersey alum Mike Bzozowski, a graduate student studying law at Catholic University in Washington D.C.