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. Rayson Miller Post 899 select high school juniors to attend the program. In most cases, individual expenses are paid by the Rayson Miller Post 899.
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.
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 in the United States 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.
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.
Pittsford’s Rayson-Miller American Legion Post 899 seeks candidates for the Boys State program every year roughly around the end of January to the beginning of February. High school juniors who are in the upper 50% of the males in their class and reside in Pittsford, NY, no matter where school is attended (public or private) are eligible to apply. The Boys State program will usually takes place the end of June into the beginning of July and is held at SUNY Morrisville State College in Morrisville, New York.
So if you are interested in applying, check our Facebook page, especially in the January/February time-frame for detailed information on how to apply. Typically we ask applicants to submit a brief bio, letter of interest, and contact information (email/phone/address). Detailed information is always posted within eligible schools and our Facebook page. Candidates are then chosen and go through an interview process with the Boys State committee chairman and committee members.
These programs teach attendees the working of government, state and local in particular, through practical hands on exercises. Participation in the Boys State program enhances organizational and speaking skills, and is an impressive addition to any college application.
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