Two delegates from the 2019 session of the American Legion Boys State of Kansas Leadership Academy have been elected by their peers to represent Boys State of Kansas as senators at Boys Nation this summer.

Ian Gould, a resident of Roeland Park, Kan., and a senior-to-be at Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, Kan., and Zachary Wash, a resident of McPherson, Kan., and a senior to be at McPherson High School, will attend Boys Nation, Friday, July 19 through Saturday, July 27, at Marymount University in Arlington, Va. The announcement was made this afternoon during the ALBSKLA’s closing ceremonies at Kansas State University in Manhattan.

Benjamin Brake, Wichita, Kan., Wichita Collegiate School, and Gabe Wolff, Pawnee Rock, Kan., Macksville (Kan.) High School, were selected as first alternate and second alternate, respectively.

At Boys Nation, Gould and Wash will join representatives from each of the 49 Boys State programs across the country (Hawaii does not have a Boys State program) to receive an education on the structure and function of federal government. At the event, each delegate acts as a senator from his Boys State. The young lawmakers caucus at the beginning of the session, then organize into committees and conduct hearings on bills submitted by program delegates. Senators learn the proper method of handling bills, according to U.S. Senate rules. Participation in the political process is emphasized throughout the week, including organization of party conventions, and nominating and electing a president and vice president.

The week of government training also includes lectures, forums and visits to federal agencies, national shrines, institutions, memorials and historical sites. On Capitol Hill, Boys Nation senators meet with elected officials from their home states.

Approximately 405 young men from across the State of Kansas, all of whom will enter their senior year of high school this fall, participated in the 2019 session of the American Legion Boys State of Kansas Leadership Academy. The event, which completed its 82nd year, started June 3 and concluded today (June 8).

The ALBSKLA 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.

— #KSBoysState —

The American Legion Boys State of Kansas Leadership Academy is an interactive simulation that teaches high school seniors-to-be the value of democracy and civic duty. Participants form mock governments and campaign for positions at the city, county and state levels. After the elections, participants find out firsthand the difficult decisions made daily by those in government through a series of challenging simulations. Delegates, nominated to attend by their high school counselors and other influential people in their lives, are sponsored by American Legion posts and various civic organizations from across the state. All delegates demonstrate outstanding leadership qualities in student government, athletics and/or other activities.

The Boys State program was founded by Legionnaires Hayes Kennedy and Harold Card in Illinois in 1935, and was first held in Kansas two years later in Wichita. The Kansas program moved to the University of Kansas in Lawrence in 1963 and remained there until 1991. The following year, it moved to its current location at Kansas State University in Manhattan. For more information about the American Legion Boys State of Kansas Leadership Academy, visit or

Boys Nation — The first Boys Nation, then called Boys Forum of National Government, convened at American University in Washington, D.C., in August 1946. The 1946 American Legion National Convention adopted the event as an official youth activity. Three years later, it became American Legion Boys Nation. Since Boys Nation began in 1946, a number of its graduates have been elected to public office, including presidents, congressmen, state governors and state legislators. Many others have been inspired to work for the campaigns of individuals seeking public office. For more information, visit