Our summer leadership and citizenship programs, sponsored by the American Legion and the American legion Auxiliary, are for high school students between their junior and senior years. These programs are held in each of the U.S. States (excluding Hawaii) and are usually on a college campus within that state. In general, male and female programs are held separately and mirror each other in content. Buckeye Boys State began in 1936 and Buckeye Girls State began in 1947. Buckeye Boys State is held at Bowling Green State University from June 8th to June 15th. Buckeye Girls State is held at University of Mount Union, Alliance, Ohio from June 15th to June 21st.
Program participants are first divided up into subgroups referred to as cities. The citizens of each of these cities elect mock municipal officials and representatives to the mock state legislature. If enough citizens are present, then a county level is added to the program between city and state. The participants also elect state officials, such as governor, lieutenant governor, and other state-level officials that their real state has. The legislature meets to organize, elect leaders, and to pass bills, in a way that is similar to how their actual legislature operates. The program takes a hands-on approach by running the mock government activities all week.
Boys/Girls State is typically staffed by Legion members and community leaders who volunteer their time and effort. Administrative costs are defrayed by their state Legion organizations. Boys/Girls State participants are selected with the help of high school principals or guidance counselors in consultation with the school’s local American Legion leadership. Selection is merit-based and includes consideration of grades and leadership potential.
Today’s largest Boys State occurs annually in Ohio with over 1,300 boys. A group from Israel recently visited the Buckeye Boys State in Ohio to use it as a template for their own version.
This Year’s Buckeye Girls and Boys State Delegates are; Marisa Hillard, Lisa Cook, Nate McCord, Hunter McKelvey, all of Montpelier, OH.
A number of local Community, Civic, and Fraternal organizations assist the American Legion in sponsoring young men and women to American Legion Buckeye Girls/Boys State. Among these organizations are the Montpelier Eagles; St. Paul’s United Methodist Church Men’s Group; Montpelier Rotary and CK Technologies along with the Williams County VFW Post 944.