California District 13


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Our Program is changing for the 2023 Session. For the first time our program will be Coed!  The American Legion California Boys & Girls State Program offers a hands-on, realistic experience in civic responsibility to high school students prior to entering their senior year of high school. As our leaders of tomorrow, we attempt to instill in them the privileges and duties of American citizenship. More information will be available in late January 2023.

The 85th Session of American Legion California Boys & Girls State will be held on the campus of California State University, Sacramento from June 17 - 24, 2023. As you all know, the 85th Session is a history making one as we are now a Coed Program. Hereafter, all references to the Program will be American Legion California Boys & Girls State. We are building on the history and legacy of The American Legion Boys State Programs as we write a new chapter of our Program.

The American Legion Boys & Girls State Program is among the most respected and selective educational programs about the operation of government for high school students in the country. It is a participatory program where students become part of the operation of local (municipal), county and state government. The Boys State program was founded by The American Legion in 1935 to counter the socialist-inspired Youth Pioneer Camps. The program was the idea of two Illinois Legionnaires: Hayes Kennedy and Harold Card. They organized the first American Legion Boys State at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Illinois.

At American Legion California Boys & Girls State, participants learn the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of franchised citizens. The training is objective and centers on the structure of the three branches of our government: Legislative, Judicial and Executive. This is conducted at the city, county, and state level. The structure of the program is based on the California State Constitution. Every step is taken to make the experience for the delegates as real as possible. The American Legion conducts Boys State Programs in every state except Hawaii. While these programs differ slightly, the foundation is the same: teaching government by allowing the delegates to “do it” themselves.

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, Boys States vary in content and method of procedure, but each and every Boys State adheres to the basic concept of the program - that of teaching government from the township to the state level.

Here in California, Boys/Girls State is held in Sacramento at the California State Capitol each year in late June. For more information about the California Boys/Girls State Program please click on the following link.

For more information about the National Boys State Program called Boys Nation please click on the following link.

If you are interested in attending the California Boys/Girls State, please ask your High School Counselor whether your High School has participated in the past and has been sponsored by your local American Legion Post.  To see which Post is nearest to your High School please go to this link and view the various Posts located in Santa Clara County. Contact the Boys/Girls State Representative or the Adjutant at the Post nearest to your high school and let them know you are interested and would like more information about the application process.

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