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June 15, 2007
Delegates for the American Legion Nevada Boys' State's 61st session arrived at the University of Nevada, Reno campus Sunday, June 10 to begin their week-long program. The 122 delegates divided into six fictional cities and established a mock state government modeled after the Nevada government. The delegates represent a cross section of 52 high schools throughout Nevada.
"We have delegates from Laughlin to Austin," said Tony Vaughan, American Legion Department of Nevada Commander
On the first day, delegates met and established their cities before participating in an opening ceremony and Wacky Olympics. After some introductions and team-building, delegates learned about parliamentary procedure, public speaking and established legislative committees to review the bills submitted to the Nevada Boys' State Legislature.
"All of the cities are under fictitious names but are modeled closely after real Nevada cities such as Elko, Reno, Henderson and Las Vegas," said Josh Brauer, director of communications and administration.
After twelve hours of activities the cities met in the late evening to elect city officials. The staff of The Statesman newspaper worked overnight to produce the first newspaper of the 2007 session.
"To watch these young men learn how their government, at all levels works, is truly amazing," said Vaughan. "It is inspiring to see these fine young men come to Boys State as strangers and depart as lifelong friends."
Throughout the week, many speakers paid a visit, including Jim Gibbons, Dean Heller, Jill Derby and Charles McNeely.
Monday's program included forming the Boys' State political parties, starting campaigns for state offices, a speech by Nevada State Senator Dennis Nolan(R) and a flag retirement ceremony in the evening.
On Tuesday, the state party caucus was formed and the delegates were presented with a Supreme Court case. They also elected legislators and given a city crisis to respond to.
The legislature began to meet on Wednesday afternoon. The primary elections took place later in the day. Candidates were given the opportunity to give speeches to gain support. Political rallies were held Thursday morning for the candidates.
On Friday, the boys will travel to Carson City to gain real-life political experience. The Boys' State elected senate and assembly will meet in the real state assembly chambers. The elected Supreme Court will also meet in the Nevada Supreme Court chambers. All of the boys will tour the government buildings in Carson.
After the boys return from Carson City, they will celebrate with a barbeque party.
American Legion Boys' State programs run annually in 48 states. Nevada's program was established in 1946 and first met in 1947. American Legion Nevada Boys' State is one of the only American Legion Boys' State programs in the country run by program alumni. The program's counseling has a combined 179 years of experience with the program. This year's staff includes leaders from business, government and industry from around Nevada and across the country. Staff ranges from first-year staffers who will graduate from high school this week to experienced leaders who have been appointed to clerk for the Supreme Court of the United States.
"The biggest benefit of this program is the opportunity for the boys to learn the government process hands on and to understand the value of getting involved," Brauer said.
Leadership and citizenship form the core of the program designed to develop future leaders by educating and inspiring Nevada's youth. American Legion Nevada Boys' State is sponsored by the American Legion Department of Nevada. American Legion Nevada Boys' State also receives funding from the State of Nevada, businesses and individuals throughout Nevada, and the Nevada Boys' State Foundation.