Program Overview

The youth movement in the United States known as “BOYS STATE” is a program of citizenship training sponsored by The American Legion.  Originated by the Department of Illinois in 1934, the plan was adopted by the national organization in 1935 and has since been put into operation in every state in the Union.

The program of training of Boys State has been developed on the fundamental assumption that youth can best “learn to do by doing.”  In the main, the mechanics of government in Illinois Boys State are patterned after the established agencies of city, county and state government in Illinois.  For all practical purposes, Illinois Boys State may be regarded as a mythical fifty-first state with a constitution, a body of law and practices peculiar to it alone.

Boys State aims at all times to make its program of training in functional citizenship effective through creating a wide amount of opportunities for participation.  The good that may come to a citizen is limited only by the extent of his willingness to participate in various citizenship activities that are made available.

From the point of view of the young citizen, the success of the week’s work will be determined very largely by the attitude of the boys themselves toward the program.  If the majority of the boys attending this session of Illinois Boys State reflect the same high ideals of citizenship that have characterized previous sessions, the program of the current season will undoubtedly be an unqualified success.

In Boys State, good citizenship means loyalty, good sportsmanship, cooperation, dependability, responsiveness, and keen interest in the week’s activities.  Good citizens think before they talk, and act only after mature consideration of their plans.  Good citizens are true American.

Let’s be Americans!

Hayes Kennedy, Founder
The American Legion
Illinois Premier Boys State