Saturday, we welcomed to Eastern University and the American Legion Premier Illinois Boys State program another group of young men to a week of growth, learning, and fun. These young men represent the future. The future of our state, our country, our society. The more they learn, not just here but in their schools and communities, the more they’ll be prepared to take their places in the future. It was heartening to see the smiling and relaxed faces interact in the registration and the cafeteria at meal times. Friendships start here over some of the smallest things. Conversations start up waiting while waiting their turn in line for dinner. Knowing smiles and light chuckles begin common experiences when minor printer issues cause a small delay during registration.
It was during this initial time of meet and greet that a Chicago area citizen met someone his age from south of Joliet for the first time. The other citizen was from the southern part of the state and it was his first time meeting someone his age from north of Springfield. Five minutes later they were joking and laughing around one of the pool tables in the basement. Maybe they’ll still know each other in twenty years, maybe they won’t, but it does leave hope for a better future. A future that these young men will be a part of, and that will be a good thing.