To the Legion:

Our son Cody Johnston of Pueblo had the privilege of attending Colorado Boys State in the summer of 2009. We have just received your "memories" CD and we are very grateful for this, which will serve as a nice remembrance of the experience.

We wanted to let you know that Cody will be attending the National Youth Leadership Forum on National Security in Washington D.C. February 2, through 8 this year. He will tour many distinquished institutions including Andrews Air Force Base, the Pentagon, the Centrial Intelligence Agency, the Foreign Service Institute, Congress and the Secret Service. It is a great opportunty and much in line with the community service spirit of Boys State.

The experience Cody was offered in Colorado Boys State has helped mold his career. He has become interested in public service and is exploring a wide range of options. We believe that the chance to convene with boys outside his school environment - boys who are like Cody, serious about their education and their future - is an enlarging experience.

Cody and both of us want to thank The American Legion, Boys State, and Cody's counselor Dave Turley, for the opportunity afforded him last summer. It certainly had an impact upon his career plans. Congratulations to all of you on the assistance you provide to our nation's young men.

Joan Conn
John Conn

To the Coloado American Legion and all whom it may concern,

I am writing to extend my thanks to all those who played a part in selecting and paying for me to attend the Colorado Boys State Program. I had heard that Boys State was a program unmatchable to any other camp for leaders, yet was still beyond floored at how awesume it really was. I have attended two other leadership conferences or camps and can honestly say that Boys State is the best and an experience that I will never forget.

Boys State opened m eyes to the needs and characteristics of a good leader. From the moment we divided up into cities, the program was non-stop and incredibly involving. Any attempt of any individual to slow down was quickly fixed, allowing all the citizens to take in as much of the experience as humanly possible.

I hope to take what I have learned from Boys State and aply it throughout my life, especially throughout college and my career. Wherever I find myself going to college, I no doubt will want to take an active role in leading the student body. Being strong in my views, another aspect I learned at Boys State, will help me to successfully manage my time in college. Perhaps the chief career I have been considering is that of an Air Force officer. As an officer, I will certainly be using the leadership skills I learned at Boys State on a regular basis when commanding the other enlisted airmen.

Thank you once again for your financial support and assistance in my attending Colorado Boys State. It has inspired me to take up a more active leadership role in my community and taught me just how many types of leaders there are in this world. I plan on seriously considering joining the American Legion and coming back as a junior counselor next year for the 2010 Colorado Boys State program. Boys State has made countless positive changes to my life, something I would like to continue to spread to the youth of this country.

Thank you once again for your financial support and sponsorship.

Robert M. Valek, Jr.
Colorado Springs

Dear Mr. Bock,

I would like to thank you and the members of The American Legion Department of Colorado for sponsoring me as a delegate to Colorado Boys State. Your generosity allowed me to participate in this year's camp, which will serve me well in years to come.

Throughout this summer's program, I learned many new things as a member of the City of Simpson. I was able to learn more about government, debating, and also about how to run for certain offices. With this knowledge, I fee lmore confident in my public speaking and leadership abilities. More importantly, I can apply these traits to things in my own life such as future academic endeavors and leading my sports teams.

Overall, my week at Colorado Boys State was a very positive one and I would be honored to retun to speak to your membership about my experiences.

Michael P. Butler
Liberty High School
Colorado Springs

Having the opportunity to be a part of Boys State in Colorado has given me a better insight into different aspects about our political system, leadership and most importantly myself. I am truly proud of my Boys State accomplishments and the helpful life lessons that I learned. I also hope to spread the word about this experience for many years to come.

Learning about our political system with a hands on approach, gave me a better understanding of the legislation process. This is a major piece of knowledge that is necessary to get by in the real world. I also was able to gain an understanding of the "Two Party System" that we use as well as the inner workings of the Senate and the House. One bill in particular was about using renewable energy sources in our state. We decided that Ethanol should not be used because of its expensive production. The bill received a majority of about 2/3 and it was off to the Senate. Another though, was about zombies taking over. Everybody knew this bill was a joke but it gave us all a good laugh. It really gave me good insight into the government system in Colorado and how it represents the way our federal government works.

Although I am a great leader naturally, I was more of a bystander at Boys State. I took more of a quiet approach during the week, and observed other leaders and their various styles of leadership. There was a wide array of great leaders from all over Colorado and it was a good learning experience to see them come together and iteract with each other. Since we as students were able to lead the program ourselves, it enabled us to learn great leadership strategies. That too, is a great characteristic to have as it can help you reach many goals or dreams. One citizen I noticed, had run for City Party Chairman but lost the election. Within the next day he talked to some of the other Chairmen and they exchanged their thoughts and ideas. He changed his strategy and wrote a new speech. Next time in our county caucus, he decided to run for the County Party Chairman and sure enough he won the election. He excelled as a person, because he learned from his mistakes. I could see that he had developed many leadership skills just from that experience. But I, too, learned a few things about myself.

When I had first arrived at Boys State I was hesitant about the program. I thought that maybe I would regret coming to Pueblo but as the days went on, I began to actually open up to more people in my city. I made many new friends over the course of the week and that helped with my self-confidence. Also, as the week went on I learned how to treat and see people for who they are rather than what they look like. Personally, that is one of the most important things you can learn in life, because without that, how will you actually know people? I now have connections to kids my age throughout Colorado it's great that they share so many interests with me. My two counselors Lou and Kenneth, taught me how to respect an older individual, America, and the American flag itself. The flag raising/lowering ceremonies showed me that the American flag is more than just a flag. It is symbol of our freedom and that freedom was paid for with the lives of many patriotic and humble Americans. Especially since I am an American citizen myself, it is important for me to know the meaning of our independence. I understand more now about what my two grandfathers and step-father sacrificed when going to war.

Although I am only sixteen, I feel as if I have grown as a man during this week at Boys State. I am so thankful for the American Legion choosing to sponsor me on my trip and I owe them a great deal of gratitude and appreciation. In closing, I would say my only critique would come from one of the guest speakers who told us that because the American Legion sponsored us, we owe them a life of military service. I'm wondering if that statement could have been presnted to us in a more positive manner. I'm really thankful for my experience.

Chad Basaites
Monarch High School