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"Democracy is a verb, not a noun"

The American Legion Boys State program started in Illinois in 1935 and came to Michigan in 1938. By participating in mock local, county and state government exercises, delegates learn firsthand about leadership, practical citizenship and the democratic process through activities that include legislative sessions, court proceedings, presentations, bands, choruses and recreational programs.

Quick tips:


  • Be a male high school student
  • Completed junior year of high school or an accredited home-school equivalent by the start of the boy's state program
  • Visit for information about the Michigan American Legion Auxiliary Girls State Program

Delegates' next steps:

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The American Legion Boys State is a non-partisan, non-political mock government exercise in a model state designed to mirror the structure and operation of its respective state government. It is intended to instill character, the importance of civic engagement and patriotism among rising high school seniors.

By participating in the weeklong program, delegates learn firsthand about leadership, practical citizenship, and the democratic process. It is an excellent academic opportunity and experience.

The program consists of classroom work, lectures, and camaraderie, with delegates taking on elected and appointed roles to experience democracy in action and learn how legislation is passed.

What are the requirements for participation?

Students who have just completed their junior year of high school, and have at least one semester of high school left to complete, are eligible to apply to The American Legion Boys State program.

Ideal candidates are individuals who understand the value of teamwork and possess outstanding leadership, character and community service qualities. An interest in government and public service ensures the student will be actively engaged in the program.

What takes place during the week?

Each day is filled with activities that vary throughout the week:
Speaker presentations, party and city meetings, campaigns, elections, recreation time, band and chorus. The experience replicates life in a college-like environment.

Graduation is held at the end of the week.  Two delegates who will represent State at The American Legion Boys Nation are announced. Parents and visitors are encouraged to attend.



Year-round contact

To contact the Michigan Legion Boys State off-season office email: or call 517-220-2754

During the Boys State program

Contact the Michigan Legion Boys State office during the week of Boys State, please email our director Garrett Veihl at or by phone at 616-502-8190