85th Session – June 11th – 17th, 2022

Hosted at Eastern Illinois University

American Legion Boys State is among the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for high school students. It is a participatory program where each participant becomes a part of the operation of his local, county and state government.

Boys State has been a program of The American Legion since 1935 when it organized to counter the Fascist inspired Young Pioneer Camps. The program was the idea of two Illinois Legionnaires, Hayes Kennedy and Harold Card, who organized the first Boys State at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.

At American Legion Boys State, participants are exposed to the rights and privileges, the duties and the responsibilities of a franchised citizen. The training is objective and practical with city, county and state governments operated by the students elected to the various offices. Activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, chorus and recreational programs.

High school juniors are selected by local American Legion Posts to attend the program. In most cases, expenses associated with attending this program are paid by a sponsoring American Legion Post, a local business or another community-based organization.

American Legion Boys State is currently conducted in 49 Departments of The American Legion. Hawaii does not conduct a program. As separate corporations, Boys States vary in content and method of procedure, but each and every Boys State adheres to the basic concept of the program - that of teaching government from the township to the state level.



American Legion Illinois Premier Boys State – A Week That Shapes A Lifetime (


Boy's State Info -2022 Program
March 22, 2022
I am pleased to report that so far everything is on track to host the 85th Annual Session of American Legion Illinois Premier Boys State on the campus of Eastern Illinois University from June 11-17, 2022.
Boys State staff has been continually monitoring the ongoing COVID situation and have been in touch with both EIU staff and Department leadership.
We remain hopeful that we can gather in Charleston this year. We are however also mindful that we have had to make difficult decisions the past two years in cancelling Boys State due to COVID.
The 2022 fee for Boys State is $300. For this year only students entering their senior year can attend the Illinois program. They are not eligible to attend Boys Nation.  Online registration has been streamlined into a fillable form. It will ask if the student is sponsored by a Post and the Post number should be entered.
I can’t stress enough that we need active recruitment to have a successful year. Extra efforts are needed to remind and reacquaint people with the program since we have not held a session in two years.
Besides building relationships and reaching out to the schools remember there are also other local advertising and networking opportunities. This includes local recreation departments, churches, event centers, libraries, Boy Scouts, youth athletic leagues, and local community service organizations and clubs.
Build on the prestige and history of the program when presenting to others. Also mention Boys State participation is favorably recognized by many colleges in the admissions review process including the Military Academies
Brochures and flyers are available from Department or can be downloaded from the Department of Illinois website under Programs and Services, Premier Boys State. I personally prefer the color printed brochures from Department because I think they look nicer, and you can get them in quantity but you can also make copies of the brochures from the PDF files on the website if necessary.. .
The Spring meeting of the Illinois Premier Boys State Board of Directors will be held on April 2, 2022 at Department Headquarters
Respectfully submitted, for God and Country
Mike Vozar 


The American Legion Auxiliary sponsors a similar program for young ladies called Girls State. For online details, visit Index ( or see Girls State tab on our website.