The health and safety of our Boys State delegates, counselors, staff, and volunteers is always our primary concern and top priority. Over the past few weeks, we have actively monitored the developments related to COVID-19 through local, state, and national officials. We were looking for a hint that this national pandemic was slowing; however, that is just not the case. Making matters more perplexing, is that we do not know what the future has in store. After conferring with American Legion leaders, we concluded that we need to cancel American Legion Boys State for 2020.
About TN Boys State
American Legion 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 American Legion 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.
American Legion Boys State is currently conducted in 49 Departments of The American Legion. Hawaii does not conduct a program. As separate corporations, American Legion Boys States vary in content and method of procedure, but each and every American Legion Boys State adheres to the basic concept of the program - that of teaching government from the township to the state level.