The American Legion – Department of Texas

For Parents

Calendar of Events

Event Date
Registration Opens January 2, 2019 Apply
Registration Ends/Wait list begins May 10, 2019
Boys State 19 June 9-14, 2019 Itinerary
Apply Now


A program of this scope encompasses many important objectives. The American Legion feels the following are the most important:

  • To develop civic leadership and pride in American citizenship. The American Legion hopes that each young man attending Boys State will return to his community a better citizen and display his willingness to make greater civic contributions.
  • To develop a keen interest in government.
  • To develop in the young citizens of Boys State a full understanding of our American traditions and belief in the United States of America. The American Legion Boys State teaches citizens the glorious traditions of this country
  • To develop in the young citizens a determination to maintain our form of government
The final two objectives come from the Preamble to the Constitution of The American Legion:
  • "To inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation . . ."
  • "To safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy . . ."

Boys State Criteria

In the actual selection of Boys State citizens, merit and ability alone are the basis for selection. Boys State is not a program for underprivileged boys nor is it a summer camp for recreation. American Legion Posts or other community-minded organizations often pay fees, or "tuition," with little to no expense to the young men.

We wish to secure equal delegate representation from all areas of the State of Texas; therefore, the Department Boys State Committee asks for one or more boy(s) from each accredited high school (public or private) to be nominated by the school to attend.

Characteristics of the "ideal" Boys Statesman

To be selected for nomination or appointment as a Texas Boys State delegate, the candidate must demonstrate:

  • Strong academic performance (e.g., a quick study) to thrive in this fast moving program
  • Excellent Interpersonal skills (e.g., gets along very well with others from all backgrounds)
  • Exhibited leadership (e.g., a leader of leaders)
  • Solid Oratorical skills (e.g., a persuasive speaker and confidence shown in group settings)
In addition, the candidate must:
  • be a male high school student
  • have successfully completed his junior year
  • have at least one semester remaining
  • have not previously attended Boys State
  • be recommended by his school officials
  • have parents’/guardians’ permission to attend
  • be certified by the sponsoring American Legion post, and
  • sign the Boys State Pledge

What to Expect

  • Check-in delegates between 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Sunday in the Kinsolving Dormitory complex
  • Host City Orientation with 1,100+ delegates from around our state!
  • Hear from a keynote speaker on governmental topic
  • Begin both our election politics (e.g., running for an elected office) as well as our party politics (e.g., setting a party platform)
  • Organize Party political process and choose party leaders
  • Begin Boys State Marching Band activity and City Olympiad (7v7 football, 5v5 basketball, and dodgeball)
  • Conduct Flag Lowering Ceremony and meet Visiting Dignitaries
  • Begin speeches for elected offices
  • Start Talent Show tryouts and continue Band and City Olympiad
  • Conduct Flag Lowering Ceremony and meet Visiting Dignitaries
  • First full primary election process (we vote!) and finalize party platforms
  • Conduct runoffs (we vote again!) during party political election process
  • Continue Band, City Olympiad, and Talent Show Tryouts
  • Conduct Flag Lowering Ceremony and meet Visiting Dignitaries
  • Visit / Tour State Capitol
  • Hear from a dignitary on governmental topic and have our Talent Show
  • Have speeches for State offices (including the Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor, and Governor candidates -- top 3 offices at Texas Boys State)
  • Complete election process to pick the general election winner for all offices
  • Have the College Fair with over 45 universities from around the country attending
  • Conduct Flag Lowering Ceremony at UT Mall Area
  • Conduct Closing Ceremonies for Texas Boys State!
  • Conduct checkout and depart mid-afternoon on Friday from the Kinsolving Dormitory complex
What the boys will gain
  • A new appreciation for patriotism (flag etiquette, service to both our state and our country, and an understanding of the part they are to play in society as they become adults)
  • New and lasting friendships with young men from across the state
  • A better understanding of how to build consensus through civil discourse and debate
  • Knowledge of the two party political system and putting that knowledge into action
  • An eagerness to be a servant leader in their schools and communities (if they do not already possess such a characteristic)
How you can stay informed during the week
  • Check our website for updated information.
  • Come to our College Admissions Fair (come and go) on Friday morning
What we want to happen when they return home
  • Allow them a day or so to sleep in – they will be quite tired physically
  • Be sure to write a Thank you note to their Sponsoring organization(s)
  • Review their packet of materials that they receive upon checkout with them
  • Working with the local newspaper, publish the press release about his week at Boys State (note: if more than one boy comes from that city/community, coordinate placement of the story in the local paper)
  • Working with school leadership (principals, coaches, etc.), talk up the program so that you can generate excitement and interest for next year’s group
How Boys State builds their resume for college and beyond
  • Be sure to include on college applications – it is seen quite favorably by most universities and has a strong weighting on the scoring system for those seeking an appointment to a US Military Academy!
  • In addition, make sure to note both the offices sought and/or won, as it shows a passion for trying new things
  • Include Boys State pin on Graduation Attire, as it should be seen as a part of the "honors" that High School graduates achieve
  • Join groups on both Social Media and via college alumni that have Boys State as a connection point – it is a nice networking tool for both job seekers and career advice

Frequently Asked Questions

NOTE: You must have turned in your medical form according to procedures outlined in the registration package you received after being confirmed to attend Texas Boys State.
Dress Code
  • Trousers (long pants, jeans, khakis, etc.) — Shorts are not allowed, except during recreation time.
  • Belt — The Boys State shirt is worn tucked in, except during recreation time.
  • Closed-toe shoes (tennis shoes, loafers, etc.) — Flip-flops are not allowed, except during recreation time.
  • Socks
  • The American Legion Boys State t-shirt — these are available on site at a cost of $8 each (if you buy 1 to 3 shirts), $7.50 each (if you buy 4), or $7 each (if you buy 5 or more shirts). Note: one shirt is provided as a part of the registration fee and it is recommended to purchase enough shirts to have 1 for each day of the session.
  • Hats / baseball caps — not allowed, except during recreation time.
  • Laptop computers and tablets (e.g., iPads)not allowed, except during recreation time. (note: each Boys State delegate will have the opportunity to leave valuables in a Boys State safety deposit box upon registration.  The American Legion is not responsible for lost valuables that are not deposited with the Safety Deposit area.  As an aside, WiFi access is not widely available on campus.
Additional Items
  • Funds for incidental purchases (Snacks, Boys State memorabilia from the Boys State Store, etc.)
  • One roll of quarters (for vending machines that may not make change)
  • Snacks/bottled water for storage in the dorm room (small refrigerators are found in each dorm room) 
  • Towels (2)
  • Bath soap and shampoo
  • Other personal hygiene supplies
  • Appropriate clothing and shoes if participating in team sports (shorts are allowed, and official t-shirt is worn during the athletic period) — cleats are not allowed
  • A few ballpoint pens for taking notes
  • If participating in the Boys State Band, bring your instrument (even if it is large) and foldable personal music stand
Items Provided
  • Sheets, blanket, and pillow
  • One Boys State t-shirt with registration
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) during the program (note: gluten free menu options are available in the dorm cafeteria)
  • All political process materials (poster board, markers, etc.)
Jester Dorm

Texas Boys State is honored to continue its long relationship with the University of Texas at Austin. The Texas Boys State program is one of the largest summer camps to be hosted by the university. All of the Boys Statesmen attending will be housed in the Kinsolving Complex of dormitories on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.  During the week of Boys State, daily office hours for Monday -- Friday of Texas Boys State are from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Where Do I Park?

Please check with the sponsoring post on what arrangements need to be made for transportation to and from Austin for the statesman.

Citizens driving vehicles to Boys State do so at their own risk. Upon arrival, the car must be parked in a designated area (the closest Parking Garage is the 27th Street Garage on campus) and locked. Statesmen are encouraged to deposit their car keys in the Boys State safety deposit box.  The approximate cost, based on previous years, is $75-95 per week, payable in advance upon arrival.

Citizens are not allowed to drive their cars during the program. Although the University Police routinely patrol the parking areas, automobiles are vulnerable to vandalism, theft, and damage. The American Legion assumes no responsibility or liability for private vehicles belonging to Boys State citizens or staff members.

To mail care packages to a delegate during the week of Boys State, use this format:

{Statesman Name]
American Legion Texas Boys State Program
[Boy’s State City Name and his Roster number]
University Station
Kinsolving Dormitory
2605 Whitis Avenue
Austin, Texas 78705


Boys State BandYes! Though we have a limited amount of musical instruments available to borrow, we always prefer that you bring your own (even large ones like drums and tubas) as well as your foldable music stand. We will keep them under lock and key when not in use. Percussionists should also bring their own sticks and specialized equipment. The Boys State band rehearses during recreation time each day.

Talent ShowNear the end of the week, we will have a Boys State Talent Show. It is always amazing to see the Talent that exists with this group! Bring your props, instruments, and other items that are needed to showcase your various talents... we will keep these under lock and key when not in use.

We encourage parental/guardian involvement on Sunday during check-in and then again highly encourage participation of friends and family on Friday, when we have our final events.  Bring your cameras!

In a word – yes; however, there will be times where we do not allow usage (such as during Flag lowering, visiting dignitaries, plenary session speakers, etc.).

Boys State is a fast-paced program that requires your full attention and complete involvement for the week. Any unique circumstances requiring time away from the program must be cleared with both the Chairman and Director in advance of the program.

Unfortunately, things happen outside of the program that are beyond your control (such as a substantial health issue for a family member).  In these situations, you will need to get the approval of both the Boys State Chairman and Boys State Director. Once approved, they will help arrange the logistics of getting the stater prepared to leave the program.

The website will be updated daily with posts and pictures. Also, you can follow us via , , and YouTube

Parents Day

The final day of the program is especially focused for parental involvement to view the program.  On Friday morning, we are having a “come and go” College Fair for the Statesmen from 9:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. at a campus location on the UT-Austin campus (we will make sure you can locate it via signage that morning), and you are welcome to meet with college admissions professionals at that fair as well.  A sample of some of the scheduled schools that plan to be in attendance (subject to change, of course) are the following:  Abilene Christian, Arkansas, Baylor, Florida, Iowa State, Michigan State, Mississippi State, North Texas, Ole Miss, SMU, Southwestern, Texas A&M, Texas State, Texas Tech, The Citadel, UT-Austin, and West Point, to name but a few.  
In addition on Friday, we would love to have parents/guardians attend our closing ceremonies, which are scheduled to take place during the late morning hours.  We will also make sure to point you to that campus location through signage.  At the conclusion of the Closing Ceremonies, we will we will be gathering with parents to reflect on the week of what your sons have learned while they also have a similar meeting with their Boys State City members (we will direct you to that meeting location via signage). At the conclusion of this Parent Meeting, we will release you to pick up your sons and will provide direction on the bet way to do that logistically, as all 1,100+ young men will be departing at the same time, and we want to make your checkout process as smooth as possible.

Press Release Template

Now that the week of Texas Boys State has come to a close, we encourage you to spread the news to your local newspapers, TV stations, radio stations, and blogs. Below is a step-by-step guide and a template for sending out a news release to your local media outlets.

  • Step 1 — Download the following news release template (in Word document format) by clicking here
  • Step 2 — Customize the template for your son/student by inserting his full name and the name of his high school in the first paragraph of the release. These sections are noted with brackets and asterisks, such as [**Insert first and last name here**]
  • Step 3 (optional) — You may also choose to add an additional sentence or two about the specific offices your son/student won while at Texas Boys State or activities he may have been involved in. The best place to include this additional sentence or two is at the end of the first paragraph. For example:
    • AUSTIN, Tex. — The American Legion, Department of Texas today announced that Jimmy Jones of Austin High School has graduated from American Legion Texas Boys State. During the week, Jones was elected county judge, served as a party whip, and participated in the Boys State band.
  • Step 4— Save the news release and get ready to send it out to local media.
  • Step 5 — Identify the local media outlets you plan to contact with your news release. Nearly all news organizations have websites that provide clear instructions for how to submit a news release or a news tip. These submission instructions are usually found under a “Contact Us,” “Submit a News Story,” or “News Tips” link, which is usually found at the very top or very bottom of the page, and sometimes in a left-hand or right-hand menu. Or, you may find a list of staff members for the news organization on the website. If there is no specific instruction on how to submit a news release or news tip, then send the news release as an email attachment to the local news reporter or local news editor. Managing editors, assistant managing editors, and producers (for TV and radio) are also good people to contact.
  • Step 6 — Send the news release to the media organization and be available in case the reporter replies to your email with further questions and follow-up.
  • Step 7 — Watch your local newspaper, TV station, or radio station to see if your news story got picked up.
  • Step 8 — If your news release does turn into a published or on-air news story, we would love to keep track of that. Please notify us of any news mentions at

Media Team

As a Statesman, you have the chance to be a part of the Press Corps if so chosen by your city at Texas Boys State. Here is a brief video that shows what that team does — if you are interested in a career in Journalism, consider this as an opportunity to put those skills into action.