What to Expect

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What to expect

What delegates will gain

  • A new appreciation for patriotism (flag etiquette, service to both our state and our country, and an understanding of the part they are to play in society as they become adults)

  • New and lasting friendships with young men from across the state

  • A better understanding of how to build consensus through civil discourse and debate

  • Knowledge of the two party political system and putting that knowledge into action

  • An eagerness to be a servant leader in their schools and communities (if they do not already possess such a characteristic)

How parents or sponsors can stay informed during the week

  • Check our website for updated information.

  • Come to specific events open to parents: Parents Day and the College Admissions Fair (come and go)

  • Come to specific events open to Legion: Legion Day

What happens when they return home

  • Graduates typically need a day or so to sleep in – they will be quite tired physically

  • Delegates should:

    • Write a Thank you note to their Sponsoring organization(s)

    • Review their packet of materials that they receive upon checkout with them

    • Work with the local newspaper to publish the press release about his week at Boys State
      (note: if more than one boy comes from that city/community, coordinate placement of the story in the local paper)

    • Work with school leadership (principals, coaches, etc.), talk up the program so that you can generate excitement and interest for next year’s group

How Boys State improves a resume for college and beyond

  • Texas Boys State should be included on college applications – it is seen quite favorably by most universities and has a strong weighting on the scoring system for those seeking an appointment to a US Military Academy!

  • Delegates should:

    • Make sure to note both the offices sought and/or won, as it shows a passion for trying new things

    • Include Boys State pin on Graduation Attire, as it should be seen as a part of the "honors" that High School graduates achieve

    • Join groups on both Social Media and via college alumni that have Boys State as a connection point – it is a nice networking tool for both job seekers and career advice

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Program Objectives

A program of this scope encompasses many important objectives. The American Legion feels the following are the most important:

  • To develop civic leadership and pride in American citizenship. The American Legion hopes that each young man attending Boys State will return to his community a better citizen and display his willingness to make greater civic contributions.

  • To develop a keen interest in government.

  • To develop in the young citizens of Boys State a full understanding of our American traditions and belief in the United States of America. The American Legion Boys State teaches citizens the glorious traditions of this country

  • To develop in the young citizens a determination to maintain our form of government

The final two objectives come from the Preamble to the Constitution of The American Legion:

  • "To inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation . . ."

  • "To safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy . . ."

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Selection Criteria

In the actual selection of Boys State citizens, merit and ability alone are the basis for selection. Boys State is not a program for underprivileged boys nor is it a summer camp for recreation. American Legion Posts or other community-minded organizations often pay fees, or "tuition," with little to no expense to the young men.

We wish to secure equal delegate representation from all areas of the State of Texas; therefore, the Department Boys State Committee asks for one or more boy(s) from each accredited high school (public or private) to be nominated by the school to attend.

Characteristics of the "ideal" Texas Boy State Delegate

The candidate must demonstrate:

  • Strong academic performance (e.g., a quick study) to thrive in this fast moving program

  • Excellent Interpersonal skills (e.g., gets along very well with others from all backgrounds)

  • Exhibited leadership (e.g., a leader of leaders)

  • Solid Oratorical skills (e.g., a persuasive speaker and confidence shown in group settings)

In addition, in order to be eligible for the program, the candidate must:

  • be a male high school student

  • have successfully completed his junior year

  • have at least one semester remaining

  • have not previously attended Boys State

  • be recommended by his school officials

  • have parents’/guardians’ permission to attend

  • be certified by the sponsoring American Legion post, and

  • sign the Texas Boys State Pledge

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Rules & Pledge

American Legion Boys State is designed to bring out the best in America's future leaders. Attendees are selected because they are the best representatives of both their schools and their communities.

This pledge reminds all potential delegates of the honor and value that the American Legion has for and requires of each young man.

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands.

I have never attended The American Legion Boys State.

I sincerely want to attend Texas Boys State, and if accepted, will, to the best of my ability: 

  • Take a serious and conscientious interest in discharging my duties as a citizen

  • Obey the rules of Boys State

  • Respect the judgment of the Boys State Director, Counselors and Staff

  • Participate in all activities

  • Seek election or appointment to office, and if elected or appointed, serve that office

  • Keep myself neat and well groomed at all times

  • Avoid the use of profane language and actions

  • Refrain from injurious habits such as the use of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs, and

  • Upon my return home from Boys State, I will make a formal oral or written report to my sponsor(s) and brief next year’s Boys State nominee(s)

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the Texas Boys State Political System

Upon arrival at Boys State each citizen is assigned to one of two "fictional" political parties, which are the "Nationalists" and the "Federalists" at Texas Boys State. The entire program is non-partisan and problems considered are without reference to any existing political party and will be free from propaganda. The sole purpose is to enable the citizens of Boys State to grasp the meaning of some of the responsibilities to assume upon becoming an adult. Because of the time element and nature of the program, political party structure at Boys State, in some instances, differs from the realistic situation.

Each Boys State city has approximately 40-45 citizens and each city is as nearly balanced as possible between the two parties. All the citizens of the same political party within the city comprise a party precinct. From each two-party precinct seven of its citizens are chosen as voting delegates to the political party’s County Convention with one of the seven serving as the Precinct Chairman. (See the City-County-District Organization Diagram in this section.) At the County Convention, seven voting delegates, one of whom serves as the County Chairman, are chosen to represent the county at the Statewide Party Convention where state-level party business is conducted and committees, such as the Platform Committee and Rules Committee, are designated. State Convention Delegates elect a State Party Chairman, Party Whips, and other officials they deem necessary. Although voting delegates are elected to the County and State Conventions, all other party members attend the various party level meetings. Each Boys Stater seeking a party nomination for any elected city, county, district, or state office may obtain the filing form from his city counselor at the city orientation. The completed form with the necessary signatures will be submitted with the correct change filing fee to his precinct chairman prior to the deadline listed in the details of the Election Procedure in this section of the manual. The filing fee for State Offices is $1.00, District Offices is $.50, County and City are $.25. Remember: no changes will be made nor petitions accepted after the deadline.

Each candidate will be responsible for the correct completion of his filing form. Each office (see the section of "Boys State Elected Officials" area of the website for a complete list of offices) requires endorsing signatures as follows: State Offices – 30 names; District – 12; County – 8; and House/Senate – 4. These signatures may be obtained only from party members who are residents of the political sub-division served by the office. For example, a candidate for Governor may get signatures from any Boys Stater in his party whereas a candidate for District Judge may get signatures only from party residents of his district. The petitions will be checked and violations will disqualify the candidate. Each Boys Statesman may sign only as many petitions for an office as there are positions to be elected. For example: Sign only one petition for Attorney General but may sign four for County Commissioner.

Ballots will be prepared more rapidly if the candidate will use the proper identification numbers in the upper-right corner of the filing form. A space will be available for the candidate’s "Office Identification Number" and for the "Political Sub-division Number". The proper numbers can be found by referring to the sections on "Boys State Elected Officials" and the diagram of the "Boys State City County District Organization." For example: If a resident of Berry City seeks the office of District Judge, his "office number" would be 301 and his "political sub-division number" would be 40. All candidates for State Offices will use number 50 for the "political sub-division."

Following the Run-Off Primary Election, the party’s County and State chairmen may submit in writing the names of candidates to fill any vacancies for the General Election. The State Chairman may submit names for vacancies in State Offices, while the County Chairman may submit names for any vacancies on the county or district ballot. These additions to the ballot may be made only through the proper chairman and not from individual Boys Staters.

Each Precinct, County and State Chairman is responsible for certifying the ballots. Each should report the correctness or errors to Election Headquarters before deadline. Additions or corrections will not be made after the deadline. Each party has Party Advisors to aid in the development of the organization and to preside over the State Party Convention until a State Party Chairman is chosen by the delegates. County and District Advisors will aid the Party Advisor on their levels. Each participant should study the program schedule to keep pace with developments.

Campaign supplies (paint, paper, thumb tacks, etc.) provided by the Boys State Program to all candidates in the General Election campaigns. Campaign materials brought to Boys State are not to be used. Campaign materials can be obtained by both Party's Campaign Committees at Election Headquarters.

Election results are tabulated before observers by election officials under the supervision of staff members and posted as soon as possible. Official Results will be posted outside of Boys State Headquarters. Elected officials function in the positions following their inauguration and Oath of Office. (See Constitution Article VII).

Citizens seeking appointments to positions may make application with the elected officials who will administer the Oath of Office. Each citizen of Boys State should work towards the attainment of some office, either elective or appointive.

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