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American Legion's Boys State teaches high schoolers democracy

American Legion's Boys State teaches high schoolers democracy
Posted at 8:24 AM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-03 10:24:56-04

HELENA — American Legion's Boys State brings over 48 Montana high schoolers to the Capital City.

The event teaches juniors in high school democratic processes such as bill making, and government procedures.

American Legion Boys State Director Joshua Clement said due to Senior year being the primary year for Montana high schoolers to learn about civics, the instructors of the event had to teach them quickly.

"We have to do a very quick crash course because there is not much knowledge, and they do a wonderful job. They are so energetic trying to get through this process. They have late nights working through it, tons and tons of competition. Trying to get to quality bills, getting to understand the procedures, and that’s what we are trying to do. We don’t want to stop and let it go. That’s why we do the fourth wall, I will wear a different cap if I have to mentor them, because that’s what it is, they are running the sessions, they are at the microphone doing everything they need to. It’s super impressive,” said Clement.

The juniors applied for the chance to role play through democratic processes, and then voted into positions like Senate Majority Leader, Governor, and Lieutenant Governor.

For some of the high schoolers they heard about Boys State through their friends.

"Ive heard about it from friends at State Student council and it just sounded like an awesome opportunity, to learn more about my state and my country, and how the legislative process works,” said Charles Fox, Boys State Governor from Helena.

For Roman Jacobson, learning about democratic processes step by step is helpful for his future.

"It's definitely a lot about learning civics and that is just what I need, because I will be old enough to vote this november, so learning about governemnt is just what I need," said Jacobson, who was Boys State Legislative Director from Great Falls.

For Boys State Governor Press Secretary Grady Radtke, speaking to the press and listening in on law making processes was a huge success.

“It's a great experience and I believe everyone in Montana should have this experience just to get more knowledge about their government and how it works,” said Radtke.

2 delegates from Boys State will have the chance to go to Washington D.C. to compete in American Legion's Boys Nation and meet with the President of the United States.

The delegates will be chosen by American Legion leaders on Friday evening.