The American Legion Boys State


The American Legion Boys State is among the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for U.S. high-school students. A participatory program in which students become part of the operation of local, county and state government, Boys State was founded in 1935 by two Illinois Legionnaires, Hayes Kennedy and Harold Card, who organized the first Boys State at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.

At Boys State, participants learn the rights, privileges and responsibilities of franchised citizens. The training is objective and centers on the structure of city, county and state governments. Operated by students elected to various offices, Boys State activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law-enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, choruses and recreational programs.

The American Legion Cornhusker Boys State

For Students:

The American Legion Cornhusker Boys State is held annually during the summer before the senior year of high school, typically during the first week of June, on the main campus of the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Legion posts throughout Nebraska select high-school juniors to attend the program. In most cases, individual expenses are paid by a sponsoring post, a local business or another community-based organization. If you are interested in attending, the best local points-of-contact are your local Legion Post; and your high school principal, guidance counselor, and government teacher.

The 2024 Cornhusker Boys State Program will take place June 2-8, 2024 at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

- Download the 2024 Boys State Program brochure.

- Download the2024 Boys State Program application.

- Visit and click on the video on the home page to learn more about The American Legion Boys State.

- Download a video message from Tom Brokaw about his experiences at The American Legion Boys State.

- Download a video message from parents about the benefits of attending The American Legion Boys State.

For Legion Posts:

Applications for The American Legion Cornhusker Boys State are typically mailed to all Legion Posts in Nebraska in early February. There is no enrollment quota for selection to attend, and each Post may sponsor as many qualified candidates as they see fit. It is encouraged that every Nebraska high school be represented, as well as home-school students.

Any boy meeting the following standards who is a member of the junior class in an accredited high school during the respective academic year, and who is a Nebraska resident, is eligible to be considered for selection to Cornhusker Boys’ State: (a) preferably in the upper half of their class scholastically; (b) stand well in school citizenship; (c) have leadership qualities, and (d) are in good health. Sponsors are requested to note that Cornhusker Boys’ State is not a disciplinary or recreational camp. Only candidates with outstanding qualifications in character, service and leadership, who will have a serious attitude toward an intensive citizenship training program should be selected.

For additional assistance in identifying a local point-of-contact for The American Legion Cornhusker Boys State Program, contact Department Adjutant Dave Salak at 402-464-6338.

Visit for more information.

American Legion Youth Programs Video Available

The American Legion has created a video about its youth programs and the one common denominator they all have – responsible citizenship. The video also highlights why those who served in the U.S. military and continue their service through membership in The American Legion have a stake in the youth programs that develop future leaders. Click here to watch the video.