LAWTON, OK (TNN) - The American Legion of Lawton wants to send five local kids to a camp that teaches them about leadership and our government.
Oklahoma Boys State is a week-long camp that happens each year in Miami, Oklahoma. It is only open to boys between their junior and senior years of high school, though there is a separate camp for girls of the same age.
Boys State is sponsored by the Oklahoma American Legion and aims at giving students first-hand experience of how our government works.
"It’s one of the more respected programs, our high school juniors get to participate in a mock system of government where they nominate, elect and then act out the positions they are elected to,” said Chip Bates with Lowery – Whitehead American Legion Post 29 in Lawton.
Students will also receive lessons on law enforcement, the legal system, and emergency management, as well as receiving extensive leadership training.
"The more our young folk know about government, the more likely they are to get involved. These types of programs help build leadership characteristics. They help build outstanding qualifications that we want for our future leaders. We want to build these things up because at some point in time they’re going to have to take control, they’re going to have to lead,” Bates said.
The camp is made up entirely of people hand-selected by the American Legion across the state and the Lawton branch is looking for local kids that want to attend. They will pay the cost for five students: one from each Lawton High School, one from Cache High School and one who is home schooled.
"If there is a high school junior male that is interested in it, they can reach out to their high school counselor. High school counselors can also nominate but there’s an application process that is involved where the junior has to sit down with their parent and fill out the application. Then we review those applications to see who we can sponsor,” Bates said.
In addition to the educational merits of the camp, there are also college scholarship opportunities that come along with it.
“The Samsung American Legion to date has handed out $5.5 million in scholarship funds to over 2,000 recipients. If they attend this program they will receive scholarships from the state level, from the American Legion’s Department of Oklahoma and then they can go onto the national level and there’s more than $10,000 of scholarship money at stake.”
If you’re interested in applying or would like to nominate someone, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure to put Boys State in the subject line. Or, you can call 405 - 300 - 8330. You have until March 12 to submit your application.