Boys State has been a program of the American Legion National Americanism Commission since 1935 and Colorado Boys State has been conducted annually since 1949. More than 25,000 young men participate in the American Legion Boys State program each year.
American Legion Boys State is among the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for high school students in the nation. It is a participatory program where each boy becomes a part of the operation of his local, county and state government. Boys participating in American Legion Colorado Boys State can receive up to 4 college credits.
At Boys State, young men are exposed to the rights and privileges, the duties and responsibilities of a franchised citizen. The training is objective and practical with city, county and state governments operated by elected and appointed officials duly placed in office by citizens of their respective Boys State
American Legion Colorado Boys State is conducted on the campus of Colorado State University-Pueblo. During the weeklong program the boys are assigned to cities, counties and a fictitious political party. They create their party platform, conduct party conventions, campaign for office, and nominate and elect officials from the city, county and state levels to form their 51st state.
Experienced public officials and professional leaders make presentations. Every phase of the program includes practical instruction on the duties and responsibilities both of citizens and of public officials.
Citizens not only will be required to review knowledge already acquired concerning the political machinery of state and local government, but they will find themselves performing exactly the same functions as real office holders in the everyday world even running for office. Delegates learn the duties of various city, county and state officials, and introduce and argue bills in their own legislature. Each citizen will have the opportunity to learn for himself that his government is exactly what he makes it.
The entire program is non-partisan. Problems will be considered without reference to existing political parties and will be free from propaganda. The sole purpose is to enable the delegate to grasp the meaning and responsibilities which he will be called upon to assume when he becomes an adult. It should be distinctly understood that the selection and assignment of citizens to parties is in no way connected to existing political parties in Colorado. Boys State "political parties" are called "Nationalist" and"Federalist". They are purely mythical and none of the principles typifying any of the existing parties will be adopted. In this way, we try to assure a democratic government in its purist sense. The Party Chairman and Party Executive Director are charged with the duty of helping his respective party develop a platform, nominate capable candidates, and ensure that his party's platform is achieved and its candidates elected.