History of Michigan Boys State
The youth movement in the United States known as Boys State originated by the Illinois Department of The American Legion in 1934. The plan was adopted by the national organization in 1935 and has since been put into operation in all states except Hawaii. A Boys State is operated in the District of Columbia and also in France for Americans living in Europe.
Boys State began in Michigan in 1937. Almost all of the staff is made up of college students who are former Boys Staters who have had a continuing interest in the program. Senior staff members include educators, counselors, and lawyers.
Michigan State University was the host for Boys State in Michigan from 1938 until 2007. In the early days, Boys Staters slept on cots in the main room of Demonstration Hall. Assemblies were held in the same hall during the day. After World War II, the Quonset huts–which used to be located across from where Munn Ice arena is now located–provided shelter for Boys Staters. In 1954, Boys State moved to Brody Hall, which is surrounded by six dormitories. Meals and assemblies were held in Brody Hall.
From the beginning of Boys State, the program has grown in numbers to meet the needs of the youth in Michigan. The present program includes up to 500 of the youth leaders of our state each year. Participants are selected by local high schools and Legion posts throughout the State of Michigan.
In 2008, the Boys State program moved to Northwood University.
In 2017, the Boys State program moved to its present location at Grand Valley State University.