Minnesota American Legion Boys’ State 2013 convenes

65th session begins June 9 in Marshall

Hundreds of Minnesota’s high school leaders will gather on Sunday, June 9 at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall for a week-long program that teaches Minnesota’s democratic form of government in hands-on way.

Sponsored by the American Legion, Boys State takes students just finishing their junior year to a college campus, where they join with their peers to form a mythical “state,” from local government to an entirely functional state government by week’s end.

Forest Lake American Legion Post 225 and SAL are sponsoring local students Branden Flasch and Michael “Ty” Nosser from North Lakes Academy and Garret Swanson of Forest Lake High School.

The program mirrors Minnesota’s unique caucus political process. Citizens are assigned to mock cities and campaign for office, eventually electing their own mayors, legislature and constitutional officers. At the end of the week, a Boys State governor is elected.

Students publish a daily newspaper, participate in athletic tournaments, and play in band and choir programs. Each year, the 49 Boys State programs in the U.S. select two Boys Nation senators to travel to Washington and meet with the President.

“No other program out there teaches youth about their system of government like this one,” said Mike Bredeck, Legion member and program director. “Our participants go on to play an integral role in society and state and national politics decades after they leave campus.”

Several Minnesota political leaders will address the delegates. This year’s participants include Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, Speaker of the Minnesota House Paul Thissen, House Minority Leader Rep. Kurt Daudt, State Senator Mary Kiffmeyer, Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Paul Anderson and U.S. Attorney Hank Shea.

Members of each military branch will be on hand to speak to interested students about applying to military academies. Governor Dayton has been invited to this year’s program.

“Boys State is a hands-on, leadership-building week that exposes students to our system of government and a college experience in the summer before their senior year.” said 2012 Boys State Governor Zach McFarland, St. Cloud. “Participants build a mock state government, plus friendships and skills that will last them a lifetime.”