American Legion Boys State is among the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for high school students. It is a participatory program where 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 when it organized to counter the Fascist 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. The American Legion Auxiliary sponsors a similar program for young ladies called Girls State. 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.
In Maryland, Boys State is conducted annually and typically begins on Fathers Day and runs through the following Saturday. To be eligible for Boys State, a youth must be a male who has successfully completed their junior year in high school by the beginning of Boys State. Any boy who has previously attended a Boys State is not eligible.
For more information, please visit the official Department of Maryland's American Legion Boys State website.