Boys State and Girls State
Co Chairmen Charlie Armstrong (Left) and Ed O’Shea (Right) with eleven of our thirteen 2016 Boys and Girls State Citizens. They each spoke to our members at our September monthly meeting about their experience and were presented proclamations from the Huntington Town Board by Commander Dennis Madden.
Boy’s and Girl’s State is a program for High School Juniors which gives them a unique personal experience in our form of government and how it is supposed to work. They participate in creating a model State that they themselves set-up through a non-partisan perspective to mirror the structure of the government of the State of New York. It helps to assure that our youth will be more knowledgeable and appreciative of “our democratic republic, and America will remain strong and ensure our freedom for future generations”.
It is known as “A week that shapes a lifetime”. Some of its more famous Alumni include Neil Armstrong, Michael Jordan, Bill Clinton, Tom Brokaw, Mark Walberg and Garth Brooks.
The Boy’s and Girl’s State programs expose the students to the rights and privileges, the duties and the responsibilities of a franchised citizen. The training is objective and practical with the local city, county and state governments operated by the students who are elected and appointed to the various offices. Activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law enforcement, assemblies, bands, newspaper, and athletic programs.
School administrators provide us with a list of potential candidates for us to interview. Over the past nine years, our Post has sent a total of 73 young men and women to Boy’s & Girl’s State, with almost three-quarters of that number occurring in the past four years. These juniors have come from Harborfields, Walt Whitman, Huntington, Half Hollow Hills East and West, Commack, St Anthony’s and Chaminade High Schools. In 2017, our Post sponsored seventeen (17) students (15 boys and 2 girls) from Harborfields, Walt Whitman, and Huntington High Schools. These are our future leaders!
The cost of this endeavor to date has been well over $30,000, which spurs us on to keep working hard at our fund raising efforts in order to keep this viable program operating. This would not have been possible without the ongoing generosity and support of our local businesses, elected officials, individuals, and other community based organizations. It seems that as we grow the program at our Post level, more and more people in the community are becoming aware of the benefits Boy’s and Girl’s State offers to our students at this critical time in their personal development.
At the end of their week at either SUNY Morrisville (boys) or SUNY Brockport (girls), two of the boys and two of the girls from each program are selected to participate in Boy’s Nation or Girl’s Nation (a structure and function of the federal government training program), in Washington, DC, to act as ‘senators’ from their respective State. They caucus at the beginning of the session, then organize committees and conduct hearings on bills submitted by the program delegates. On Capitol Hill, the ‘Senators’ get to meet elected officials from their home state. This is all capped off by the possibility of meeting with the President of the United States in the White House.
We ask all of the returning students to visit us at a Post meeting so they can tell us of their experiences. This is something all the Post members in attendance look forward to. All the students seems to have enjoyed the experience, and many describe it as life changing.
In the early Fall, we begin the process all over again for the students of the next year’s junior class – a task we look forward to. The Boy’s and Girl’s State programs, which have been around since the mid-1930’s, are among the most respected educational programs of government instruction for high school students. Many of the colleges and universities, including the military academies, have a question on their application "Have you attended Boy’s or Girl’s State?"