LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas Boys State has proudly appointed Tom Hamaker as Assistant Director of Operations for the youth leadership and civic engagement program, which has transformed the lives of young men throughout the state and beyond since 1940.

Hamaker first attended Arkansas Boys State during his delegate year in 2014, in which he represented Hampton High School. He has served the program as a junior counselor, state counselor, and senior counselor and has provided integral support to the program’s Operations, Instruction, and Engagement teams.

“I have benefited from Arkansas Boys State as much as anyone,” Hamaker said. “Being a part of this program’s brotherhood has given me a larger worldview, academic and professional mentors, and a way to give back.”

Hamaker is a Bank Examiner for the FDIC and volunteers with the Children’s Advocacy Alliance as a court-appointed special advocate for youth in the child welfare system. He holds a B.S. in finance and marketing analytics from Arkansas State University, where he was awarded the 2019 R.E. Lee Wilson Award.

“My goal in this new role will to be serve the Arkansas Boys State community, and chiefly, the young men who attend the program,” Hamaker said. “Our program is successful because we are focused on creating life-changing experiences and connections for those young men, and because we each know exactly how much the program has done for us.”

Craig DePew, director of operations for Arkansas Boys State, said Hamaker’s been a key part of the program’s growing success and outreach in the state.

“Tom has been instrumental in not only serving faithfully throughout various parts of Arkansas Boys State, but he has also transformed our internal services team by removing redundant activities and traditional operations,” DePew said. “He has innovated for our program in immeasurable ways, and I know that his impact on the state’s young leaders will only continue to grow in his new, incredibly well-deserved role.”

Arkansas Boys State is an immersive program in civics education designed for high school juniors. Since 1940, the week-long summer program has transformed the next generation of leaders throughout the state and beyond. These men have become state, national, and international leaders, including Pres. Bill Clinton, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former White House Chiefs of Staff Mack McLarty and Jack Watson Jr., Sen. Tom Cotton, Sen. John Boozman and Arkansas Chief Justice John Dan Kemp.

During their week at Arkansas Boys State, delegates are assigned a political party, city, and county. Throughout the week, delegates, from the ground up, administer this mock government as if it were real: they run for office, draft and pass legislation, solve municipal challenges, and engage constituents. By the week’s end, the delegates have experienced civic responsibility and engagement firsthand while making life-long memories and friends — all with the guiding principle that “Democracy Depends on Me.”