A program of this scope encompasses many important objectives. The American Legion feels the following are the most important:
- To develop civic leadership and pride in American citizenship. The American Legion hopes that each young man attending Boys State will return to his community a better citizen and display his willingness to make greater civic contributions.
- To develop a keen interest in government.
- To develop in the young citizens of Boys State a full understanding of our American traditions and belief in the United States of America. The American Legion Boys State teaches citizens the glorious traditions of this country
- To develop in the young citizens a determination to maintain our form of government
The final two objectives come from the Preamble to the Constitution of The American Legion:
- "To inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation . . ."
- "To safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy . . ."
In the actual selection of Boys State citizens, merit and ability alone are the basis for selection. Boys State is not a program for underprivileged boys nor is it a summer camp for recreation. American Legion Posts or other community-minded organizations often pay fees, or "tuition," with little to no expense to the young men.
We wish to secure equal delegate representation from all areas of the State of Connecticut; therefore, the Department Boys State Commission asks for one or more boy(s) from each accredited high school (public or private) to be nominated by the school to attend.
Characteristics of the "ideal" Connecticut Boy State Delegate
The candidate must demonstrate:
- Strong academic performance (e.g., a quick study) to thrive in this fast-moving program
- Excellent Interpersonal skills (e.g., gets along very well with others from all backgrounds)
- Exhibited leadership (e.g., a leader of leaders)
- Solid Oratorical skills (e.g., a persuasive speaker and confidence shown in group settings)
In addition, to be eligible for the program, the candidate must:
- be a male high school student
- have successfully completed his junior year
- have at least one semester remaining
- have not previously attended Boys State
- be recommended by his school officials
- have parents’/guardians’ permission to attend
- be certified by the sponsoring American Legion post, and
- sign the Connecticut Boys State Pledge
Connecticut Boys State Political System
Upon arrival at Boys State each citizen is assigned to one of two "fictional" political parties, which are the "Nationalists" and the "Federalists" at Connecticut Boys State. The entire program is non-partisan and problems considered are without reference to any existing political party and will be free from propaganda. The sole purpose is to enable the citizens of Boys State to grasp the meaning of some of the responsibilities to assume upon becoming an adult. Because of the time element and nature of the program, political party structure at Boys State, in some instances, differs from the realistic situation.
Each Boys State city/town has approximately 25-35 citizens and each city/town is as nearly balanced as possible between the two parties. All the citizens of the same political party within the city/town comprise a party. From each of the two-parties citizens are elected to local positions and also to the House and Senate as voting delegates to the political party’s Statewide Party Convention where state-level party business is conducted and various committees are designated. State Convention Delegates elect a State Party Chairman, Party Whips, and other officials they deem necessary. Although voting delegates are elected to the State Convention, all other party members attend the various party level meetings. Each Boys Stater seeking a party nomination for any elected city, town, or state office may declare at the appropriate time.
Each party has Party Advisors to aid in the development of the organization and to preside over the State Party Convention until a State Party Chairman is chosen by the delegates. County and District Advisors will aid the Party Advisor on their levels. Each participant should study the program schedule to keep pace with developments.
Following the Run-Off Primary Election, the party’s city/town chairmen will submit in writing the names of candidates to run for the General Election. The State Party Chairman will conduct nominations for State Office and once completed will submit the names for inclusion on the ballot. Each, City and town Chairman is responsible for certifying the ballots. Each should report the correctness or errors to Election Headquarters before deadline. Additions or corrections will not be made after the deadline.
Campaign supplies (paint, paper, thumb tacks, etc.) provided by the Boys State Program to all candidates in the General Election campaigns. Campaign materials brought to Boys State are not to be used. Campaign materials can be obtained by both Party's Campaign Committees at Election Headquarters.
Election results are tabulated before observers by election officials under the supervision of staff members and posted as soon as possible. Official Results will be posted outside of Boys State Headquarters. Elected officials function in the positions following their inauguration and Oath of Office.
Citizens seeking appointments to positions may make application with the elected officials who will administer the Oath of Office. Each citizen of Boys State should work towards the attainment of some office, either elective or appointive.