Boys State


The American Legion Boys State program 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 by acquainting youth with the rights and privileges of citizenship. Historically, the youthful senators are also assigned to political parties; elect their own officials and operate a mock nation, under the laws of the United States. As such, Boys State activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law-enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, choruses, and recreational programs.

In 2019, Post No. 13 sponsored four high school juniors from the Pasadena Unified School District from Blair High School, John Muir High School, Pasadena High School, and Marshall High School. While the Post is generally allowed to only sponsor three young men to attend Boys State, this year, upon the request and urging of the Post, Post 13 was able to work with American Legion Pomona Post 30 and Marshall High School to provide an additional program spot for the 18 - 23 June 2018 session.

To learn more about Boys State, go to and ask your High School Counselor or Principal for an application.
The American Legion Auxiliary sponsors a separate but similar program for young women called Girls State. To learn more about Girls State, go to and contact the American Legion Auxiliary for additional information.

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