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Boys State

Illinois Premier Boys State


About Boys State

Learning about and participating in the functions of government may be the best way young men can learn the American system of government, according to the Illinois American Legion.


Illinois Premier Boys State was the first of its kind in the United States, established 81 years ago in 1935 by the American Legion, Department of Illinois which is why it is proud to claim the title Premier.


As a mythical 51st state of the Union, Premier Boys State teaches citizenship and the workings of government through experience. The late cofounder Hayes Kennedy described the original concept of the activity: “Boys State is pure democracy in that all of its citizens may vote and hold office. Its government is operated of, by and for the people.”


“In Boys State,” Kennedy said, “good citizenship means loyalty, good sportsmanship, cooperation, dependability, responsiveness and keen interest in the week’s activities.”

“”Good citizens think before they talk and act only after mature consideration of their plans.”


“Good citizens,” Kennedy wrote, “are true Americans.”


Boys State is a seven-day hands-on experience in the operation and fundamentals of government. The program draws together the best and brightest high school students to help lead them down the path of individual success and leadership through doing, not just learning.


Illinois Premier Boys State is: “A week that shapes a lifetime”

What do you do?

Boys State is a week long government simulation where participants are citizens in a mock 51st state.  Throughout the week, attendees learn how the American political system works by participating in their own primaries, elections and assemblies.

 During the week, students gain first hand experience by:

  • Campaigning for elected office

  • Running the three branches of government

  • Competing for nearly $20,000 in scholarships

  • Meeting other talented students from around the state.

  • Participate in intramural sports and other activities like band, broadcasting and lobbying

The recognized quality of students who attend Boys State is an asset for applying to colleges.  Each year, Illinois Boys State attendees are admitted into the top colleges and universities in the country. The accomplishments of Boys State citizens provide them with valuable experiences that can help enhance admissions applications and essays.


June 8th-14th, 2024


Eastern Illinois University

Charleston, IL


Any male student who has completed his junior year in high school, and has one or two more semesters left to complete is qualified to apply.

What is the cost?

Naperville Post #43 will cover enrollment and transportation cost. We are committed to sponsoring boys who are interested in attending.


Thank you for your interest in the Illinois Boys State program. 

For more information about Boys State and to access the application visit .

Local Contact

Arvin Verma-Co-chair            


Tom Richert-Co-chair


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