The American Legion Boys State is among the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for U.S. high school students. A participatory program in which students become part of the operation of local, county, and state government, Boys State was founded in 1935. The American Legion Auxiliary sponsors a separate, but similar program for young women called Girls State.


Virginia Boys State is a one week program held on campus at Radford University, while Virginia Girls State is held at the same time at Longwood University. At both programs, participants (“citizens”) learn the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of franchised citizens. The training is objective and centers on the structure of city, county, and state governments. Operated by “citizens” elected to various offices, these program activities include legislative sessions, court proceeding, law enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, choruses, and recreational programs.


Among the highlights of the VA Boys State program is a “College Day” which attracts recruiters from over 50 colleges and universities (to include military service academies) to promote their respective institute of higher education.


Local Legion Posts and Auxiliary Units select high school juniors to attend their programs, during June prior to the start of their Senior Year in high school. Tuition is paid for by the sponsoring Post or Unit, which includes room and board on campus. There are also scholarship opportunities for outstanding “citizens.” Two “citizens” from each program are selected to represent Virginia at Boys/Girls Nation – a similar program focused on the Federal government held in the Washington, DC area.

The American Legion Auxiliary sponsors a similar program for young ladies called Girls State. For online details visit www.legion.org

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