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The American Legion Boys State
American Legion Boys State is among the most respected educational programs of government instruction for high school students. 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.
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.
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 citizen’s 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.
A TRAINING PROGRAM IN CITIZENSHIP AND DEMOCRACY
Iowa American Legion Hawkeye Boys State is a weeklong "Hands-On" experience in the operation of the democratic form of government, the organization of political parties, and the relationship of one to the other in shaping Iowa government. Through the Boys State objective of "learning by doing", young men will learn more about city, county and state government in one week than they would in an entire semester of high school.
Boys State is an exercise in leading as well as following others. Elections are an opportunity to show the ability to perform under pressure and to show character in the face of victories and/or defeats. Boys State will test skill in solving problems and working effectively within a team.
Boys State is an opportunity to gain pride and respect for our form of government and the price paid by people to preserve democracy. The week contains ceremonies and assemblies as well as marching and pageantry. Guest speakers, such Past National Commander of The American Legion David Rehbein, and former director of the Iowa High School Athletic Association Bernie Saggau, along with Iowa government leaders attend each year to offer their vision and advice. Daily flag raising and lowering ceremonies are conducted at Boys State.
Boys State is a chance to meet new people. With over 500 delegates in attendance, Boys State offers an opportunity to meet people who represent Iowa's diversity in heritage and culture. One of the finest objectives afforded to young men by Boys State is the friendships they will form with other Boys State citizens, many of whom will become lifelong friends.
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