[caption id="attachment_33" align="alignright" width="300"] (Photo by Todd Vogts) VOLUNTEERS serving as the 2015 Boys State counselors listen to a training presentation.[/caption] The first Boys State originally took place in the state of Illinois in 1935. Since then, 47 other states have also started the tradition of having the brightest young men in the country gather on an annual basis. “At Boys State, participants learn the rights, privileges and responsibilities of franchised citizens. The training is objective and centers on the structure of city, county and state governments.” Originally started in 1937, it has always been the goal the American Legion Boys State of Kansas Leadership Academy to, “provide a relevant, interactive, problem-solving experience in leadership and team- work that develops self-identity, promotes mutual respect and instills civic responsibility.” In one week a Kansas Boys Stater can “Distinguish you in the competition for college admissions and scholarships,” “expand your leadership and problem- solving skills that will help you throughout life,” “give you a huge head start in your senior government class,” “introduce you to some of the smartest, most motivated high school juniors in Kansas,” and “establish lifelong friendships.” All of this leads up to what Boys State truly is; “the week that will change your life.” Understand, the previous was a powerful statement, but as most people who become truly involved in the Boys’ State government simulation will agree, it truly is a week to changes your life. This could be for any number of reasons being the friendships you make or the things you learn about people in general and about yourself. For KBS counselors, State does not start on the first week of June, but the Friday before. Counselors start on that Friday by checking in at the front desk and picking up blue shirts, bags, water bottles, and the famous counselor baseball cap.
This year, after counselors checked in and settled into their rooms they started with meetings with a welcome from the Executive Director, Rex Gardner, followed by an icebreaker activity, training on curriculum and safety, and became acquainted with peers on the county floors. The 2014 Stater year officially came to a close during the Saturday evening banquet.