Oklahoma American Legion Boys State: The Week That Shapes a Lifetime

NEWS FROM THE HUT by John Hamilton

The 2022 Boys State season signup is now upon us and there is no time to spare. Every high school junior wants out of this world, life-changing experiences, and college benefits, as well as a fantastic week of thrill-packed excitement. The following information comes from the Department of Oklahoma website at https://okamlegion.org/boys-state.

The American Legion sponsors 50 Boys States throughout the continent and Puerto Rico. Each Boys State provides a learning and growing experience for boys who have completed their junior year in high school. The methods to select boys to attend the program vary from state to state and even from Post to Post, but all share the common goal of providing the most beneficial experience to those who appear to have the most potential for leadership and service.

The American Legion hopes to foster patriotism, citizenship, and leadership through its week-long Boys State programs. Many of the states’ programs have slight differences, but we feel that the Department of Oklahoma’s is among the very strongest.

At Oklahoma Boys State, we emphasize not only the elective democratic process but also the legislative, bill-writing activities found throughout our government. As the week passes, each Oklahoma delegate finds himself in a variety of government situations at the city, county, and state levels. Well-rounded athletic and academic programs complement the government simulations to provide a complete week of learning both in and out of the classroom.

Each delegate is given the opportunity to pursue both elected and appointed positions in his Boys State City or at the county or state level. Whether or not the delegate chooses to pursue an elected or appointed position, he will serve as either a state representative or senator (appointed at random prior to the session) and will be authoring, debating, and voting on Boys State legislation in his respective county legislature.

Boys State works because of the staff members and delegates that make it work. The Director and his staff work throughout the year to improve each session and each one does seem to be better than the last.

The following are the recommended guidelines employed by most Boys State programs:

Only males who have successfully completed their junior year of high school and who have at least one more semester remaining are considered. Previous participants of a Boys State competition are not allowed to attend a second session. Only those who illustrate leadership, character, scholarship, loyalty, and service in their schools and community should be considered. Merit and ability are the basis for evaluation during the actual citizen’s selection process.

Boys State competitions follow federal handicap laws. Most programs require a medical/parental consent certificate signed by a parent and registered doctor. The selection process often differs in Legion departments.

The ideal method is for schools to recommend lists of eligible candidates to local Legion posts. The post would then conduct interviews and select their representative(s) for the program.

The following information was published in September 2021 by Senator Corey D. Brooks, Ret., Director, Oklahoma American Legion Boys State, Senior Counselor, American Legion Boys Nation:

The past several months have seen a great deal of change with respect to our Boys State Program. Research, negotiations, site visits, and discussions by our Boys State Staff with many members of the Legion Leadership and others have transpired.

The net result of these efforts is fourfold:

1) We have locked in the dates for OKBS 2022: 28 May – 4 June 2022

2) The new delegate fee for OKBS is now $299.00 (up from $275).

3) OKBS Leadership has been given the authority by the Commander and DEC to utilize an ‘Early Bird’ special and/or ‘Late Registration Fee’ as we see fit to help with more timely delegate registrations moving forward and most significantly…

4) OKLAHOMA AMERICAN LEGION BOYS STATE IS MOVING TO ROGERS STATE UNIVERSITY IN 2022!!!!

The 2022 Session of OKBS will remain during the Memorial Day weekend, but our new home will be on the beautiful campus of Rogers State University (RSU) in Claremore, OK. This decision was not made in haste, but rather in very careful coordination with our new host campus and OKBS/Legion Leadership. Some of the benefits of moving to RSU include:

– Almost new dorm and classroom infrastructure (very comfy beds; sinks, microwaves, and refrigerators in all rooms!)

– Enhanced meal plans and food quality/variety

– More centralized location (less than an hour outside of Tulsa)

– Affiliation with a 4-year university (same 2- or 3-Hour College Credit options/prices)

– Reduced room/board at RSU for OKBS graduates

– Additional scholarship opportunities for OKBS graduates

– Enhanced OKBS Simulation and Rec Time Options

– Operational RSU Radio/TV Stations available for OKBS use

– RSU is home to the Oklahoma Military Academy and its storied history

– Enhanced partnerships with the local Claremore Community, Municipal Government, Chamber of Commerce, Local Businesses, etc.

– Full-run of the campus during our week!

– And much, much more…

All those high school juniors wishing to go to Boys State this year, please contact John Hamilton, Adjutant of Post 142 at email alpost0142@gmail.com or phone 408-881-4302.

Our regular Legion meetings have changed back to the first and third Thursday of each month. Our next meeting, due to the Mid-Winter Conference, will be on Thursday, January 27th at 7:00 PM. The Monday morning Koffee Klatch will continue at 8:00 AM. If you are a veteran, active, inactive, or retired, come by the Hominy Post 142 Hut at 118 S Wood Avenue for our monthly meeting, and/or the Monday morning Koffee Klatch meeting. Several of the Post 142 members meet every Wednesday at Daylight Donuts on OK-99 around 8:00 AM in Hominy for coffee and maybe a breakfast treat. If you have a good story, it may end up in print. Also, keep up with us at the Post 142 website “americanlegion142.org” and Hominy Post 142 or Hominy Post Legion on Facebook.

About American Legion Post #142

Authors the weekly article "News from the Hut", about local American Legion Post #142 in Hominy, OK. Read his weekly articles in the "Hominy News Progress".
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