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
At Boys State,
participants learn the rights, privileges and responsibilities of
franchised citizens. The training is objective and centers on the
structure of city, county and state governments. Operated by students
elected to various offices, Boys State activities include legislative
sessions, court proceedings, law-enforcement presentations, assemblies,
bands, choruses and recreational programs.
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. 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.
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
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.
For more infomation and registration forms please visit
The American Legion, Department of Texas
Boys State site.