RUMFORD — The American Legion, the nation’s largest veterans’ organization, is inviting all members of the River Valley Area to join them in sponsoring young men to attend the American Legion’s 71th annual Dirigo Boys State this summer.

“These young men are the future leaders of America,” said Bill Petrie, commander of Napoleon Ouellette Post 24. “We are seeking boys with outstanding qualifications in character and leadership to attend one of the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction ever designed for high school students. One of the most important qualifications is a desire to attend.”

High school juniors are selected in early spring by local American Legion posts to attend the program, which will be held at Thomas College, Waterville, from June 17 to 21.

“It is a participatory program where each young man becomes a part of the operation of his local, county and state government,” said Petrie.
In most cases, a sponsoring American Legion post, a local business or another community-based organization or an individual pays expenses associated with attending the program at a cost of $300 for each boy.

“I encourage the entire community – and in particular high school counselors, community leaders and business owners – to submit their recommendations for candidates to attend the American Legion Boys State program,” said Petrie.

”The American Legion’s Boys State program is a unique way for young men to learn about the American system of government by taking part in a mock governmental system,” said Petrie.

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

For more information, contact Post 24 Boys State Chairman Kirk Thurston at 207-369-0831 or Anyone can donate to sponsor or co-sponsor a Boys State delegate.

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