What is Boys State?


The creation of the Boys State Program is credited to Hayes Kennedy, who in 1935 was an instructor in the Loyola University School of Law in Chicago and Americanism Chairman of the Illinois Department of the American Legion. Hayes Kennedy became concerned about a project underway in the late 1930's called "Young Pioneer Camps" promoted by the Nazis to attract high school students. These camps would advocate the virtues of Fascism and Communism and the uselessness of democracy.

The Illinois Department of the American Legion approved Hayes Kennedy's project, and in June 1935, the very first "Boys State" in the nation was held on the grounds of the Illinois State Fair.

Alabama Boys State began in 1937. Today, the American Legion conducts a "Boys State" program in 49 states. Hawaii is the only state that does not have a Boys State program. District of Columbia delegates attend either the Maryland, Virginia, or DC Boys States.


The American Legion believes that the survival of our republic rests on training our youth in the ideals and objectives of American government. Boys State is a unique summer program that does not rely on lectures and textbook scenarios, but hands on experience and participation in a model state government.

Boys State was founded to supplement the curriculum taught in high school civics classes. The program teaches that the preservation of our democracy depends on informed citizens electing responsible officials to administer our government.


While attending Alabama Boys State, your introduction and instruction in the Political Process will be a stepped system, so that the knowledge you gain at one level is a step toward the next level of participation.

You will be taught, in addition to other subjects far too numerous to cover here in detail:

  • The Responsibilities of Citizenship

  • The ABC's of Politics and Your Responsibilities as a Citizen and Voter.

  • The Political Units of Government and Their Functions. The Branches of Government and Jurisdictions. Functions of Each Office from City to State. Functions of a Political Party. Operating a Functional Government at All Levels.

    As has been stated previously, Alabama Boys State is practical participation. The knowledge you gain into the political process will be transmitted into actual operation by you and your fellow Alabama Boys Staters.

A week that shapes a lifetime

Are You Ready To Join Us for the 87th Alabama Boys State?

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