2021 American Legion Boys State Program
It is with our deepest apologies that we must announce the cancellation of the 2021 American Legion Department of RI Boys State program. With the uncertainty concerning the various new strains of the virus, the potential for resurgence of spread and the fact many do not yet have the opportunity to be vaccinated, we feel it is in the best interest to protect our youth as well as our volunteers.
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 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. All 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.