Legion Programs

Boys State

American Legion Boys State is among the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for high school students. It is a participatory program where each participant becomes a part of the operation of his local, county and state government.
Boys State has been a program of The American Legion since 1935 when it organized to counter the Fascist inspired Young Pioneer Camps. The program was the idea of two Illinois Legionnaires, Hayes Kennedy and Harold Card, who organized the first Boys State at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.
The American Legion Auxiliary sponsors a similar program for young ladies called Girls State.
At American Legion Boys State, participants are exposed to the rights and privileges, the duties and the responsibilities of a franchised citizen. The training is objective and practical with city, county and state governments operated by the students elected to the various offices. Activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, chorus and recreational programs.
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.

Boys State Selection

The American Legion has established certain qualifications for prospective Boys State citizens. Following are the recommended guidelines that are employed by most American Legion Boys State programs.
– Only males who have successfully completed their junior year of high school and have at least one more semester of high school remaining are considered eligible to participate.
– Any boy who has previously attended an American Legion Boys State is not eligible to attend a second session.
– Only boys with outstanding qualities of leadership, character, scholarship, loyalty and service to their schools and community should be considered.
In the actual selection of boys as citizens of Boys State, merit and ability alone are the basis for selection.
American Legion Boys States are in compliance with federal handicap laws. Most programs require a medical/parental consent certificate signed by a parent and a registered doctor.
The selection process often differs in the various departments of The American Legion.
The recommended method is for the school to recommend a list of eligible candidates to the local American Legion post. The post would then conduct interviews and selects their representative(s) to the program.
For more information call the Post at 915.751.0850.

Oratorical Contest


The purpose of The American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program – “A Constitutional Speech Contest” is to develop a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the Constitution of the United States on the part of high school students. Other objectives of the contest include the development of leadership qualities, the ability to think and speak clearly and intelligently, and the preparation for acceptance of the duties and responsibilities, the rights and privileges of American citizenship.


Eligible participants in contest shall be citizens of or lawful permanent residents of the United States. All contestants must be bona fide students herein described as any student under the age of twenty (20) years on the date of the National Contest who is presently enrolled in a high school or junior high school (public, parochial, military, private or state accredited home school) in which the curriculum of said high school is considered to be of high school level, commencing with grade nine (9) and terminating with grade twelve (12). Students must be enrolled in high school or junior high school during the time of participation at any level of The American Legion National High School Oratorical Contest. Contestants must either be legally domiciled within or attend an educational institution within the Department (State) that they enter competition. Contestants can enter competition through only one Department.
The three finalists of the National Contest will be ineligible for further participation at any level.This is a scholarship contest in that winners at the District, State and National Levels receive scholarships of varying amounts. For more information contact the Post at 915.751.0850.

Visit the Texas State Oratorical Contest website for more information.