The American Legion is a military veterans organization which has local posts in every state of the union. We form a comradeship that stays informed on government policy regarding our returning veterans and attempts to influence the government to provide the best possible care for each veteran.
We believe that we should maintain a strong military but realize that it is not enough to provide the best possible environment for our entire population. A well-informed, vibrant citizenry, that is willing to participate in local government and beyond, is absolutely necessary for this to become a reality.
For this reason, the American Legion created a program to recruit young men and show them how our government actually operates as realistically as possible. The American Legion Ladies Auxiliary sponsors a similar program for young ladies. Each post solicits the help of local high schools in recruiting the best possible candidates from the junior class, and we interview them and select the students that we then call delegates. They are selected by their GPA, leadership qualities, active participation in extracurricular activities and enthusiasm.
Once selected, the boys are transported to and housed at the California State University Sacramento’s dormitory where they are guided by a well-trained and organized group of counselors for an entire week. They are placed in cities within counties and divided into two political groups. Candidates for each political position are nominated, then they campaign and actually hold elections. Afterward, bills and laws are introduced, debated and voted on. Of course, a governor is elected and he becomes eligible to participate in the national convention. The same process is followed for the girls in a different venue. There are 500 girls who attend Girl State and they are going to Claremont McKenna College in Claremont from June 17-22.
Past boys’ delegates are prominent in every level of business and government and many other fields. At this time, we are in the process of selecting the young people who will be attending the next Boys and Girls California Golden State Week which will be held on June 22-29.
American Legion Post #121 of Watsonville is very proud to participate in sponsoring our local youngsters and consider it our finest event. We work year round to cover all expenses for the delegates and are very pleased and honored to do so. Many other posts in California also participate to send approximately 1,000 boys. God bless America.
Henry Garcia is the Boys State Chairman, 28th district, for San Benito, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. Melanie Martinez Salas is the Girls State Chairperson, 28th district.
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