ABOUT Arkansas Boys State

Learn more about our program’s rich history, what to expect at Arkansas Boys State, and all of the need-to-know details.   



What is Arkansas Boys State?

Arkansas Boys State is an immersive program in civics education designed for high school juniors. Since 1940, the week-long camp has transformed the lives of young men throughout our state and beyond.



These young men have gone on to become incredible leaders, including President Bill Clinton, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and Senator Tom Cotton — just to name a few.

I was never quite the same after I went to Boys State and Boys Nation — after I realized what government was, what its role in our life was, what citizens were supposed to do to make it work. I never took it for granted again.
Pres. Bill Clinton

42nd President of the United States

When is Arkansas Boys State?

Arkansas Boys State meets each summer on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Arkansas.

Our summer program coincides each year with Memorial Day, which becomes a meaningful celebration where we welcome veterans and American Legion members to our Memorial Day activities to celebrate and honor their service. The program runs from Sunday to Friday of the corresponding week.

Arkansas Boys State 2021: May 30 – June 4, 2021








Who can attend Arkansas Boys State?

Only male students who are leaving their junior year and entering their senior year in high school are eligible to be delegates at Arkansas Boys State. The experiences gained during the camp can be invaluable in their senior year in school and, in fact, through life. If accepted into the program, each delegate is sponsored by an American Legion Post or by some other patriotic, civic, fraternal or religious organization. 

The American Legion has established certain qualifications for prospective Boys State delegates. The following are the recommended guidelines that are employed by Arkansas’ American Legion Boys State program.

  • Only males who have completed their junior year of high school and have at least one more semester of high school remaining are considered eligible to participate.
  • Any boy who has previously attended an American Legion Boys State is not eligible.
  • Only boys with outstanding qualities of leadership, character, scholarship, loyalty and service to their schools and community should be considered.

The Arkansas American Legion Boys State is in compliance with federal handicap laws. Our program also requires a medical/parental consent certificate signed by a parent and a registered doctor.

Interested in attending Arkansas Boys State?

If you’re interested in becoming a Boys State delegate please talk to your high school guidance counselor or contact the Arkansas American Legion Headquarters at (501) 375-4236.

What can you expect at Arkansas Boys State?

Wondering what you can expect at Arkansas Boys State? Check out this video from a Tuesday during the week of Boys State — full of elections, excitement, sports, friendships, new ideas, and lifelong memories.

Upon arrival at a Boys State, each participant is assigned a mock political party, city, and county. Throughout the week, delegates administrate this mock government as if it were the real government. Every phase of the program includes practical instruction on the duties and responsibilities both of a citizen and of public officials. Citizens of a “Boys State” are instructed in the duties of the various public offices. After they learn the function of each office, its powers and limitations, they function in that role throughout the remaining week.

Here’s an overview of what you can expect:

  • The “citizens” of each “Boys State” city and county nominate members of their individual parties to be candidates for the various city and county offices.
  • Elections are held with the citizens conducting their own registration of voters and the actual balloting.
  • Election boards serve at city, county and state elections, according to the laws of each state.
  • Legislative, administrative and judicial programs are developed to hold the interest of all citizens.
  • State legislative sessions, court trials, law and police schools, evening assemblies, bands and choral groups, etc., all involving boy citizens, are popular activities in a typical Boys State.

By week’s end, Arkansas Boys State has created their own state government including their own governor and staff of state officials, named appointive officers, established the state Supreme Court and other courts, and organized the legislature and all other divisions of government.

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