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Boys and Girls State delegates celebrated by American Legion and Auxiliary

This year’s Boys State encampment took place June 9 to 15 at Anderson University. Boys State is an annual program to teach young men about government and politics. The program is intended to motivate emerging leaders and to spark interest and pride in government at local, state and national levels. Participants learn by doing, conducting mock elections and legislative sessions of state and local governing bodies. Sen. Tim Scott attended Palmetto Boys State in 1982.
Boys State, which is sponsored by the American Legion, was first held in 1935 in Illinois. South Carolina began to host the program in 1940. Today, every state except Hawaii conducts Boys State. Participation in the Boys State Program is seen as a noteworthy achievement by universities, military academies, and many employers.
To be selected to attend, the students are first recommended by their school counselors and then by the American Legion coordinators. The qualities of leadership, character, scholarship, and service to their schools and community are considered. The American Legion sponsors rising senior boys from Colleton Prep Academy and Colleton County High School.
The American Legion Auxiliary sponsors a comparable Girls State program for young women. This year Girls State was held at Presbyterian College. This week long event is an opportunity to participate in a hands-on application of government and citizenship. Palmetto Girls State is in its 70th year, developing a pride and an understanding of our American traditions. By creating the mythical state of “Palmetto,” the Citizens of Girls State gain an understanding and appreciation of all levels and branches of government. Elections are held and offices won. The girls learn how the legislative system works. They establish “laws,” write and debate legislative bills, and conduct simulated “trials.” Visits are made to the South Carolina Senate and House and The Governor’s Mansion. The elected Governor has the opportunity to attend Girls Nation, which has representatives from all states. Another great opportunity is the Samsung Scholarship that offers financial assistance for higher education to descendants of wartime veterans. The goal is for delegates to return to their schools and communities with an interest in government and a sense of the responsibilities of good citizens. The concept of “God and country” is emphasized along with respect for the American flag. These experiences are life changing. Some may choose a career in the legislative system, some in the legal system, and others a life of service. Lifelong friendships are made.
Palmetto Girls State Delegates were Elise Walker, Madison Strickland, Abigail Altman, Grayson Altman, Lillianna Delk, Ashley Savage, Heather Davis and Hannah Wilson. Palmetto Boys State Delegates were Han Yuri Gabriel, William Finigan, Nicholas Armentrout, William Dandridge, Jacob Barrett, Riley Smoak, Gabriel Barnes, Francis Blubaugh, Nicholas Harvey, Clay Griffin. The delegates were honored at an Annual Reception held on August 1, 2019, at the American Legion Building.

Christie Slocum (547 Posts)