Myself and the coordinators of the 2015 American Legion Boys State of Kansas Leadership Academy pose for a picture with Executive Director Rex Gardner following the completion of the week that hopefully changed the lives of many Kansas young men.

The first weeks of June are always a special time for me, and June 2015 was no different.

It is when the American Legion Boys State of Kansas Leadership Academy takes place, and I am honored and lucky to be one of the people involved in supporting this program, which is
a week-long leadership camp using government as a laboratory for experimenting with various leadership styles and positions.

When young men, who we call Staters, come away from the program, they go back home with a newfound sense of civic duty and thoughts on how to lead others.

In order to attend, a young man must be a junior going into his senior year of high school.

For the past few years I have been a coordinator, which means, in the most simplistic terms, I am in charge of helping oversee the entire week. Specifically, I am in charge of the media department of Boys State, which. The media is a more behind-the-scene entity within the scope of Boys State. We produce, with the help of Staters, a daily newspaper and a daily news broadcast. We also post pictures to our Flickr account, update social media pages, maintain the website, and, new to this year, post news stories to a media website, among other duties. After the close of each year, we also produce a yearbook, which we give to each person who attended State.

I was personally a Stater in 2003, and I have been involved in various capacities ever since, minus a few-year hiatus.

I am often asked why I give up nearly two weeks of summer to volun- teer with this program.

That answer is simple.

It gives me the opportunity to affect the lives of the youth in our state. I feel it is one of the most important activities I do with my life. I get to work with some of the greatest people I know, and we are all working for the same goal, increasing civic leadership and involvement within our State.

I treasure each person I get to work with, and it is beyond rewarding to see the change that takes place in the Staters.

I could go on and on about this program (over the years, I have in these posts). It is truly transformative for the Staters who dive in and give it their all.

If you are interested in this program, I urge you to visit www.ksbstate.org to learn more, and if you are interested in sending your young man or another young man to this program, please drop me a note via the “Contact Me” page.

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