Boys State is a comprehensive one week program in state and local government developed to offer youth a better perspective of the practical operation of government and to show that the individual is responsible for the character and success of his government.
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.
Boys State is a learning experience in practical democracy. Citizens learn the political process through the election process for the offices of the mythical 51st state.
Each delegate is assigned to a political party which has no philosophy or platform until the delegates develop one. Delegates use the basic laws and procedures of the State of Alabama as a guide for their week.
Speakers from all levels of government provide valuable lessons for the delegates. A highly qualified staff provides guidance and leadership.
Two delegates will participate in Boys Nation held in Washington D.C. in July
Delegates who are selected to attend this program will “learn by doing” as they progress through the various phases of government. As such, it is an activity of high school educational value, born out of the need for youth training and practical citizenship.
Alabama American Legion Boys State is a “leadership action program” where qualified male high school juniors take part in a practical government program. It is designed to develop a working knowledge of the structure of government and to impress upon the citizen the fact that our government is just what we make it.
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.
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.
For more information:
If you are interested in participating in this program, contact either the Pelham High School Administration or American Legion Post 555 below:
Matthew Blount Post 555
50 Racquet Club Parkway
Pelham, AL 35124
About Boys Nation
Two representatives from each of the 49 Boys States represent their state at Boys Nation in Washington, where the young leaders receive an education on the structure and function of federal government.
The first Boys Nation ��� then called Boys Forum of National Government – convened at American University in Washington in August 1946. The 1946 American Legion National Convention adopted the event as an official youth activity. Three years later, it became American Legion Boys Nation.
At the event, each delegate acts as a senator from his Boys State. The young lawmakers caucus at the 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, national shrines, institutions, memorials and historical sites. On Capitol Hill, Boys Nation senators meet with elected officials from their home states. 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.