Three West Delaware students will represent American Legion Post 45 at Boys State this summer at Camp Dodge in Johnston.
West Delaware High School teachers will recommend candidates to Post 45. A committee from the Legion will make the final selections of the three candidates.
Financial support for the program comes from the Manchester Lions Club and Blessed Trinity Cluster Knights of Columbus #1962.
Legion Post 45 historian, Harold Blatt, said students who qualify should be well-rounded.
“They don’t necessarily have to be the top student,” he explained. “They need to have an interest in attending. We are looking for students who possess leadership, scholarship potential, public speaking abilities, self-confidence and citizenship.”
Boys State will be June 21-26.
Attendees will be immersed in the process of government during the week. Two parties will set up an entire government, both local and state-wide. “Delegates will hold caucus meetings, conventions, campaigns and primary and general elections,” Blatt said. “Once that’s complete, elected delegates will appoint staff to assist them running the government for the week.”
Blatt said for those not elected to public office during Boys State, there’s still plenty of opportunities to participate. “There is a daily newspaper with reporters, photographers and editors. There is a fully functioning court system along with law enforcement.”
Those interested must have completed their junior year in high school and have at least one semester of school remaining.
Blatt said he expects the Legion to select their candidates by the end of February.
Upon returning from Boys State, participants will be expected to share their experiences. “We will expect them to make some presentations both to the Legion and in the community,” Blatt said. “This is a growth opportunity to expand their horizons and start that transition from young men to full-grown men.”
“I went in 1962 and it was one of the most seminal activities I participated in while in high school,” Blatt shared. “It’s a mini-version of government at the local and state level. You form a lot of terrific relationships. You meet other boys from across the state who are also talented and gifted in many ways. It’s a great opportunity.”
Blatt said participants don’t have to go on to become a politician or work in government. “It’s about being a good citizen in a democracy. This is something young men should be aspiring to. It’s a great way to learn about the functioning of government. I can’t think of a more important time in our country to maintain our democracy and the integrity of our government and to be learning the ins and outs of how it works.”
Anyone with questions about the program or the selection process may contact Blatt at 608-4919 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.