WHAT IS THE BOYS STATE PROGRAM?
There are many summer leadership camps; Boys State is one of the original leadership camps nationally. Established in 1937, Boys State was originally created in response to Soviet Union-led camps that were making inroads in the United States. Today, it is a program that teaches the civic aspects of citizenship in the United States, the mechanical aspects of how our government functions, and encourages participation in those government structures.
Within about 12 hours of arrival, students will be organized into cities, and have their first opportunities to run for political office: their City Council (and a couple others). Over the next couple of days, they will be provided with extensive instruction on court procedures, legislative rules, criminal procedure, civil rights, and others. It isn't all work though; students will participate in a city-vs-city basketball tournament, the Band or Choir, or other recreational activities. Students who are so inclined can write for the Boys State Record, our daily newspaper.
Boys State provides also an exceptional opportunity to network with other students from around Arizona, and really to learn what it is like outside of their little corner of the state.
Because Boys State generally gets students who are the best of the best from around Arizona, it also provides students with an opportunity to encounter what it is like when they are no longer the elite at their school. When everybody is already excellent, students need to work to distinguish themselves.
WHAT TO EXPECT FOR THE WEEK
Students will find many opportunities for participation at Boys State, including:
A review and execution of city-, county-, and state-level government
Instruction and participation of legal and legislative procedures
Information about political party operation
Becoming a candidate for political office
Boys State Band and extracurriculars as time permits
Opportunities to meet with leaders of our state government and outstanding citizens of Arizona
Boys State participants have a unique experience, and have an opportunity to prepare for future leadership circumstances. However, every student's Boys State experience is individual; as we tell every student who arrives on Day 1, you get out of this program what you put into it.
Former students repeatedly recommend that the best way to enjoy Boys State is to take every opportunity to become acquainted with as many of the boys as possible. Don’t hesitate to talk to your counselors or members of the staff – they are here to help.
"Boys State was one of the best weeks of my life. I made friends and built relationships I still maintain to this day. It provides an introduction to and an appreciation for the political process that no amount of study can. It allows first hand experience that truly shows the pressures and difficulties of running a democratic system, and gives badly needed experience in compromise and working together in an increasingly partisan system."
— Capt. B. Jimenez, U.S. Army, AZ Boys State delegate 2005
ELIGIBILITY & SELECTION
Students who have completed their Junior year of high school (11th grade) are eligible to be part of Arizona Boys State. Because applications go on during the school year, students who are in good academic standing mid-way through the school year will be considered.
Acceptance is competitive because, from among all of the high schools in Arizona, only about 300-350 students can actually attend due to physical space constraints. Boys State is nationally considered to be one of the most prestigious summer camps nationally. Students should expect to have a gruelling week.
Students who are attending a high school that we have partnered with (most high schools in Arizona) should be nominated by their local American Legion Post or their high school, usually by their Guidance Office or one or more of their teachers. Local Posts typically will want to conduct an interview because scholarship offerings are limited.
Students who are home-schooled or who are moving to Arizona following the conclusion of the school year should contact the American Legion Department of Arizona to determine next steps.
Once you have received a paper application, you need to get it validated by your school and then submitted as per the instructions on the form. Once you have been accepted, you will receive an informational packet containing a booklet with your information for the Boys State program.
Students are, in general, sponsored by their local American Legion Post (as determined by their school district). The total cost of tuition for Arizona Boys State is $450, but students receive a scholarship in the amount of $300 from their local Post, so are responsible for the balance of $150.
WHERE DOES THE TUITION GO?
Tuition is used to provide on-campus housing at Northern Arizona University, as well as daily meals at the campus dining hall. There are additional various expenses such as paper.
None of our staff is paid; the staff is entirely volunteer, and several members of the staff travel from across the country to participate.
Students may be able to receive additional scholarships from their local Post or from the Arizona Department of the American Legion, or their schools, based on demonstrated financial need. For more information, contact your local American Legion Post, or your school's guidance counselor.
..."we can make a difference today for tomorrows leaders"
For more information on AZ BOYS STATE
MATT GRIFFIS - AZ BOYS STATE - SAL LIAISON
SONS OF THE AMERICAN LEGION, DETACHMENT OF ARIZONA