The American Legion Department of Kansas’ Boys State Committee has appointed Shane Wilson to serve as the executive director of the American Legion Boys State of Kansas Leadership Academy. Wilson’s three-year term began on June 8 at the close of the 2019 ALBSKLA session. He takes over for Jake Ellis who served in the role for the past four years.

Wilson, a resident of Lawrence, Kan., was a Kansas Boys State delegate in 2006 from Abilene High School before graduating there in 2007. He has served KBS in a variety of volunteer positions since 2007, most recently as its dean of counselors for the last two years. Wilson previously served Kansas Boys State as a general advisor in 2017, as a coordinator from 2014-16 and in various counselor roles from 2007-13.

Wilson is employed as a product support specialist for PROSOCO Inc., in Lawrence. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from Emporia State University in 2014. Wilson is pursuing Master of Arts in educational leadership from Saint Mary’s University (Minn.). He is a member of the Shawnee Tribe of Indians based in Miami, Okla.

As executive director for the American Legion Boys State of Kansas Leadership Academy, Wilson is responsible for the direction and oversight of all objectives for the program. Along with implementation of strategic planning and visioning, Wilson is accountable for the long-term health and longevity of the ALBSKLA and its resources.

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.

Approximately 410 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 concluded its 82nd year, was held June 3-8 at Kansas State University in Manhattan for the 28th consecutive year. The 2020 session will begin on Sunday, May 31.

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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