Government in Action: Youth in Government 1976

June is traditionally the month in which selected high school students from across Kansas assemble at the University of Kansas to participate in Boys’ and Girls’ State. The two one-week sessions, sponsored by the American Legion, enabled students to study and practice the concepts and principles of democracy.

In separate sessions, boys and girls were assigned at random to an imaginary city and county. The “citizens” of each community engaged in party politics and were divided equally into Nationalist and Federalist parties. Those who were interested in campaigning for elective offices circulated petitions to qualify themselves as candidates for the primary election. The winners from each party then competed in a general election to decide the political officials.

After the political vacancies were filled, students formed “mock” governments and discussed the current issues and passed legislation concerning education, tax reform, welfare, and crime.

Boys’ and Girls’ State was a learning experience that did not require teachers or textbooks. Knowledge concerning state government was obtained first-hand.