The purpose of The American Legion’s National High School Oratorical 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.
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.
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.
The American Legion Auxiliary sponsors a similar program for young ladies called Girls State. For online details visit www.legion.org
High School Oratorical Competitions: High school students vie for college scholarships awarded by The American Legion by demonstrating their knowledge of the United States Constitution in public speaking contests on local, regional and national levels. For more information contact Program Chairman Willie Edwards (757) 723-9325
American Legion Baseball: For many years, one of our country's best-known and most respected amateur athletic programs, Legion ball has been the training ground for many of our major league stars. Each year, about 86,000 boys experience the benefits of good sportsmanship and team play. For more information contact Program Chairman Bob Netherland (804) 556-2954
Boys State/Boys Nation: American Legion Posts select outstanding high school students to attend Boys State/Boys Nation every year. During the week-long program, participants receive instruction on citizenship and experience first-hand how their state and federal governments function. For more information contact Program Director Mike Harris (540) 569-6612.
Scouting Sponsorship: Legion posts sponsor approximately 2,500 Cub Scout, Boy Scout and Explorer units each year to foster wholesome development of America's youth. Annually, the American Legion awards the Eagle Scout of the Year with a college scholarship. For more information contact Program Chairman Lowell Badgley at (434) 295-5952.
Junior Shooting Sports: Local legion posts offer
Junior Law Cadet: Many legion posts work in conjunction with law enforcement agencies have established programs to introduce high school students to law enforcement and to establish cadet camps. For more information contact Chairman Jim Chapman at (757) 678-7576 or [email protected]
JROTC High School Drill Team Competition: High School ROTC drill teams compete in several different categories for the "General Colin Powell Trophy". For more information contact Legion Headquarters at (804) 353-6606 or [email protected]