Each year, Sunbury’s Colonel Benson W. Hough Post 457 American Legion sponsors area high school juniors attending Buckeye Boys State at Bowling Green University and Buckeye Girls State at Ashland University.
The students attend a week-long event where they form government bodies from the township, city, and up through the governor’s level. The delegates form parties and committees, campaign, and hold elections; and each delegate ends up with a position in the overall government.
This year, Post 457 was able to sponsor eight delegates, five to Buckeye Boys State and three to Buckeye Girls State. The funding was available via donations from local service clubs and private donations as well as Post 457 fundraising events.
Following their trips to Buckeye Boys State and Buckeye Girls State, the students return to a Post 457 meeting to report on their activities and thank the members for sponsoring them.
Many delegates make lifetime friends while attending the state events; and they also learn about their chosen field of study and future career paths.
Founded in 1936, Buckeye Boys State is the largest Boys State program in the nation with an attendance of 1,400 young men annually. Boys State programs throughout the nation are sponsored by the American Legion, the nation’s largest veteran’s organization.
Buckeye Girls State is the name given to Ohio’s Girls State program. The Ohio American Legion Auxiliary has sponsored Buckeye Girls State for over 60 years.
Both Boys State and Girls State affords participants an opportunity to live together as self-governing citizens by informing them about the duties, privileges, rights and responsibilities of American citizenship and encourages their participation in the democratic process as they progress into adulthood.
Other Boys State and Girls State program activities include journalism, law enforcement, music, field trips, group devotions, and patriotic ceremonies.
Additional information is available online at < ohiobuckeyeboysstate.com > and at < buckeyegirlsstate.org >.
For additional information about the American Legion go to < legion.org >; for additional information about Sunbury’s Col. Benson W. Hough American Legion Post 457 go to < americanlegionsunbury.com >.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.