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.
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.
For more information visit www.legion.org
The American Legion Auxiliary’s marquee Girls State program, first presented in 1937, is one of the most respected and coveted experiential learning programs presented in the United States.
The program epitomizes the ALA’s mission to honor those who have brought us our freedom through our enduring commitment to develop young women as future leaders grounded in patriotism and Americanism. The young women become knowledgeable of the democratic process and how our republic form of government works at the state and national levels.
Each summer, approximately 16,000 young women participate in weeklong ALA Girls State programs across the nation. Every American Legion Auxiliary Girls State program operates with the same patriotic values through a nonpartisan curriculum where students assume the roles of government leaders, campaigning in mock parties (often called “Federalists” and “Nationalists”) to become mayors and county and state officials of their ALA Girls State. The program is a weeklong immersive learning experience, often held on a college campus where girls live in “cities” within a dormitory-like setting. The learning, experience, memories, and friendships last a lifetime.
For more information: please go here www.alaforveterans.org/ala-girls-state/
“A constitutional speech contest”
The American Legion Oratorical Contest exists to develop deeper knowledge and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution among high school students. Since 1938, the program has presented participants with an academic speaking challenge that teaches important leadership qualities, the history of our nation’s laws, the ability to think and speak clearly, and an understanding of the duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges of American citizenship. The program has featured numerous politicians and prominent contestants over the years, including former president candidate Alan Keyes and CNN anchor Lou Dobbs.
Young orators earn some of the most generous college scholarships available to high school students. Over $138,000 in scholarships can be awarded each year. The overall national contest winner gets an $18,000 scholarship. Second place takes home $16,000, and third gets $14,000. Each department (state) winner who is certified into and participates in the national contest’s first round receives a $1,500 scholarship. Those who advance past the first round receive an additional $1,500 scholarship. The American Legion’s National Organization awards the scholarships, which can be used at any college or university in the United States.
High school students under age 20 are eligible. Competition begins at the post level and advances to a state competition. Legion department representatives certify one winner per state to the national contest, where department winners compete against each other in two speaking rounds. The contest caps off with a final round that decides the three top finishers.
Speaking subjects must be on some aspect of the U.S. Constitution, with some emphasis on the duties and obligations of citizens to our government. Speeches are eight to 10 minutes long; three- to five-minute speeches on an assigned topic also are part of the contest.
For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
The American Legion is a strong supporter of Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) and Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs across the country. Legion posts are urged to present medals available through American Legion Emblem Sales to the top JROTC and ROTC students in their area.
During the 2000 Spring Meetings, the Legion's National Executive Committee passed Resolution No. 20, which encourages Legion departments to establish Outstanding JROTC Cadet of the Year programs. And Resolution No. 11, passed during the 2006 Spring NEC Meetings, urges Legion departments, districts and posts to present American Legion ROTC medals to requesting colleges and high schools in their states.
For online details visit www.legion.org
The American Legion Youth Cadet Law Enforcement Program Promotional Video Available on LegionTV
The American Legion Youth Cadet Law Enforcement Program serves to introduce youth to the field of law enforcement’s principles, discipline, ethics, physical fitness, and teamwork. Programs are conducted in cooperation with local and state law enforcement agencies, and are typically held during the summer at the various law enforcement facilities.
I am pleased to reintroduce to you our latest Youth Cadet Law Enforcement Program resource, a brief promotional video created by our very own Media and Communications Division, and it highlights one of our many outstanding Youth Cadet Law Enforcement Programs.
This video was originally introduced at the 2014 Spring Meetings in April, in an effort to encourage departments to create and adopt a Youth Cadet Law Enforcement Program. To view these videos on LegionTV please visit http://www.legion.org/legiontv?pid=latest&v=D-VFmA8FYWU.