85th Session of American Legion Boys State of Kansas Set for June 4-10 in Manhattan
May 22, 2023 — High school students from across the State of Kansas will participate in the 2023
session of the American Legion Boys State of Kansas, Sunday, June 4, through Saturday, June 10, at Kansas State University in Manhattan. This will be the program’s 31st consecutive session at KSU and 85th overall.
The Kansas Boys State program includes students who have just completed their junior year of high school (will be seniors in the fall) and sophomore year of high school (will be juniors in the fall).
The objective of the ALBSK is to inculcate a sense of individual obligation to community, state and nation. Kansas Boys State provides a relevant, interactive, problem-solving experience in leadership and teamwork that develops self-identity, promotes mutual respect and instills civic responsibility. Boys State is a “learning by doing” political exercise that simulates elections, political parties and government at the state, county and local levels, providing opportunities to lead under pressure, showcasing character and working effectively within a team. It’s also an opportunity to gain pride and respect for government and the price paid by members of the military to preserve democracy.
Among the major events during the week (the below events are open to the public unless noted; members of the media are invited to attend all events):
Sunday, June 4
• Delegate check-in, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Goodnow Hall (This event is not open to the public.)
• Opening ceremonies, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., McCain Auditorium
o Keynote speaker: Kendall Gammon, 15-year NFL veteran with the Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers. Considered the best long-snapper in the NFL, Gammon, a 1987 graduate of Rose Hill (Kan.) High School and 1991 graduate of Pittsburg (Kan.) State University, was a member of Pitt State’s 1991 NCAA Division II national championship team. He also played in Super Bowl 30 and in the 2005 Pro Bowl. Gammon talk will draw on personal life challenges with a message threaded with vulnerability and authentic stories to inspire attendees to use emotional strength to embrace change, build strong relationships and positively impact growth and success.
Monday, June 5
• Swearing in of Kansas Boys State mayors, 7 p.m., Kansas Boys State Assembly Area (Goodnow Hall/Marlatt Hall parking lot [between buildings on Claflin Road]).
• Party caucuses, 7:30 to 10 p.m., Federalist Party, Fiedler Hall, Room 1107; Nationalist Party, Rathbone Hall, Room 1073 (each party will select their candidates for the six state offices and formulate their party platforms; this event is not open to the public.)
Tuesday, June 6
• Kansas Boys State governor candidates’ debate, 1 to 2 p.m., McCain Auditorium
• Announcement of Kansas Boys State general election winners for state offices and swearing in ceremony, 7 p.m., KBS Assembly Area.
Wednesday, June 7
• Flag retirement ceremony, 7:30 p.m., World War II Memorial in front of McCain Auditorium. The event is an observance of the proper respect for the American flag and how unserviceable flags are properly disposed. The honor guard from American Legion Pearce-Keller Post No.17 in Manhattan will present the ceremony. Dr. John Lindholm, a 1949 KSU graduate who provided the dog tags as a model for the “Tags of Honor” sculpture at the Memorial, was a longtime Kansas Boys State staff member as a Legionnaire advisor before passing away in January 2020.
• Evening ceremonies, 8 p.m., McCain Auditorium.
o 2023 Kansas Boys State governor’s inaugural address.
o Address by Jeremy Ehart, Hutchinson, Kan., American Legion Department of Kansas commander, and introduction of Kansas American Legion dignitaries
Watch and read Ehart’s cover story from the February 2017 issue of The American Legion magazine.
o Kansas Boys State band, chorus and talent show.
Friday, June 9
• Announcement of delegates who will represent Kansas Boys State as senators at Boys Nation in July, 8:30 a.m., KBS Assembly Area.
Saturday, June 10
• Closing ceremonies, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., McCain Auditorium
o Announcement of Kansas Boys State outstanding citizens, Kansas Boys State Samsung American Legion Scholarship winner and various awards, including Advisor of the Year, Counselor of the Year, New Counselor of the Year, William “Bill” F. Stahl Outstanding Justice Award, Outstanding Senator Award and Outstanding State Representative Award.
• Final State Assembly/Final Flag Lowering, 10:45 to 11:15 a.m., KBS Assembly Area
In addition to the above events, the public is invited to view the daily morning assembly/flag raising at 8:30 a.m. (8:45 a.m. on Saturday) and evening retreat/flag lowering at 7 p.m. (6:50 p.m. on Monday). For those who cannot attend these events, Boys State of Kansas will provide updates during the week on its Facebook page, facebook.com/KansasBoysState.