The week-long session, part of The American Legion's Americanism Program, is one of the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for high school students in the nation. South Dakota American Legion Boys State started in Aberdeen in 1940 and continued through 1942. World War II made it necessary to drop the activity from 1943-1945 , but in 1946 South Dakota American Legion Boys State was resumed.
It is a participatory program where each boy becomes a part of the operation of his local, county and state government. The boys will be exposed to the rights and privileges, the duties and responsibilities of a citizen. The training is objective and practical with city, county and state government operated by elected and appointed officials duly placed in office by the participants. Activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, chorus and recreational programs.
Participants are normally selected by local American Legion Posts following recommendations by school officials. In most cases, the expenses associated with attendance are paid by a sponsoring American Legion Post, a local business or another community-based organization.
Approximately 60 volunteer staff members consisting of Legionnaires and educators, along with civic and government leaders, will participate as counselors and advisors during the week-long program.
The South Dakota American Legion Boys State program is conducted under the direction of Gary Watts, State Commander of The American Legion and Acting Director for this year. For additional information, you can contact your local American Legion Post, your local high school or the South Dakota American Legion State Headquarters in Watertown, SD at 605-886-3604.