frequently asked questions

The Basics

Who, what, when, where, & why?

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 next generation of leaders throughout our state and beyond.

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 our guiding principle that “Democracy Depends on Me.”

Who can attend?

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 education, 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.

When is this program?

Arkansas Boys State meets each summer on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Arkansas. This summer, Arkansas Boys State is May 29 – June 2, 2023. 

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.

 
Where is this program hosted?

Arkansas Boys State has enjoyed a long partnership with the University of Central Arkansas, our host campus for the program. 

During the week, delegates stay in dorms on the UCA campus, eat in the cafeteria, participate in recreation in the HPER and football field, and become familiar with life on a college campus. 

Why can I expect at Arkansas Boys State?

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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what else you should know

Is Arkansas Boys State good for my resume?

Yes! Many universities, colleges, and scholarship organizations revere American Legion Boys State as the premier leadership camp in the country today.

In addition, the leadership and communication skills learned while at Arkansas Boys State are invaluable to success in the workforce and provide great conversation points for your resume and job interviews. 

Are scholarships available for attendees?

Yes! Two particular scholarships are highlights of the program: the Governor’s Scholarship and the Samsung Scholarship. 

The Governor’s Scholarship is available to the delegate who is elected Arkansas Boys State Governor — and is a full-ride scholarship to the University of Central Arkansas, Arkansas State University, or Henderson State University. 

The Samsung Scholarship is available to eligible delegates who are a direct descendant – i.e. child, grandchild, great grandchild, etc. – or a legally adopted child of a wartime U.S. military veteran who served on active duty during at least one of the periods of war officially designated as eligibility dates for American Legion membership. Learn more. 

As delegates apply for other scholarship opportunities, they should certainly list Arkansas Boys State on their resume and accomplishments. The program is respected nationwide in competitive awards and college admissions.

Is this a liberal or conservative program?

No. Arkansas Boys State does not advocate for any one political or religious ideology.

Delegates at Arkansas Boys State are encouraged to think critically about what they believe, share those beliefs with others, and be open to new ideas and perspectives from their fellow delegates.

 

What extra curricular activities can I do when I'm at Arkansas Boys State?

Arkansas Boys State isn’t just running for office. While at the program, delegates also have the opportunity to participate in the following, plus much more:

  • Band
  • Choir
  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Swimming
  • Color Guard
  • Speech and Debate
  • eSports

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