For video highlights of Boys Nation day two, click here.
Day two came early for 15 Adams section senators who voluntarily woke up at 5 a.m. for an outside workout with their junior counselor, David Harper, a junior ROTC at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. And while it was another warm day on campus, the day's activities still pressed on.
The morning began with the raising of the Boys Nation and U.S. flag followed by a general orientation conducted by Mike Buss, the Boys Nation program director, and American Legion Past National Commander Bob Turner.
Buss and Turner addressed the young men on the objectives, rules and traditions of the 65-year-old program and provided a further insight into the Legion's mission. They too emphasized that throughout the week, the senators will build character, patriotism and loyalty to their peers all while their knowledge of politics and ability to lead will be tested.
"Shakespeare said, ‘All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players,'" Turner said. "What you do on stage here is going to shape your future, our future, the future of Boys Nation and the future of our country."
During orientation, the senators received an unexpected announcement. Two of them were randomly selected to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns on Monday's visit to Arlington National Cemetery. The two men selected were Luke Huston from Brownsburg, Ind., and Casper Adrian from West Paducah, Ky.
After the exciting announcement, Tim Tetz, director of the Legion's Legislative Division, swore the 98 young men in as senators to the 65th Boys Nation program and spoke on his role as a lobbyist for veterans issues. He too gave examples of veteran-related legislation the Legion has brought forth and shared the eye-opening reality of how a bill is voted upon.
"I enjoyed how Tim Tetz was realistic and unapologetic to his job as a lobbyist, and I appreciated that so much because too many people in their positions try to sugarcoat what it is they do," said Zach Hendrickson from Hutchinson, Kan. "He was honest about the problems he faces but also about the rewards he gets from his job. I used to not be fond of lobbyists, but Tim made me understand that lobbyists are vital and we need to pay attention to them."
Following a quick break, the senators dove right in to choosing a senate committee that interested them and one where they will propose a series of bills or resolutions. The four senate committees are:- Committee one: Agriculture, appropriations, armed services and banking- Committee two: Budget, commerce, transportation, energy and natural resources- Committee three: Environment, public works, finance, foreign relations, government affairs, Indian affairs and intelligence- Committee four: Judiciary, rules, veterans' affairs, health, education, labor, small business, ethics and aging
Before day two came to a close, the Federalist and Nationalists party gathered for their first senate session to appoint a president pro-tempore and a secretary of the senate. Senators in both parties looking to hold either position campaigned behind a podium for two minutes on how they will get bills passed quickly. This, along with one-on-one talking with peers, was their way to win votes. The senators then held caucuses before voting and ballots were casted until a candidate won by 45 votes.
"This entire process is fascinating, and I really like that we are able to do multiple votes on the same ballot," said Jacob Tarrant from Columbia, Mo. "I really like that the candidates are allowed to mix with the voters and are not just standing up separate from us which allows them to come talk to us and answer any questions we have. It's a lot more hands on than most of the real-life political processes that I've seen."
Appointed secretary of the senate was Ryan Fulmer from Broomall, Penn., and William Sadock from Riverside, Conn., won president pro-tempore by a single vote.
"I am thankful for that extra vote because the competition is so great here that it's never an easy victory, it's always hard fought and every handshake matters," Sadock said. "When I first learned I was coming to Boys Nation I had the vision of running for president pro-tempore, vice presidency, etc. But when I got here, I realized it's much more about the people and the experience than it is about holding office positions."
Mike Bzozowski echoed Sadock's sentiments regarding Boys Nation. Bzozowski, a 2005 New Jersey Boys State and Boys Nation delegate, currently lives in Silver Spring, Md., and is pursuing his graduate degree in law at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. He took time away from his busy schedule and dropped by Marymount University to meet the 2011 Boys Nation delegates and visit with the staff.
"It's a bit nostalgic to come back to visit and see the looks on the delegates faces and how excited they are," Bzozowski said. "I remember the first couple of days that I was here and just the shock and awe that there were 97 other kids that were as excited about the country as you are. The relationships were the best thing that I took away from it, and I still keep in touch with guys that I was delegates with. And it's because of Boys Nation that I wanted to come back to D.C. for college."
Today the young men will participate in a memorial service, have dinner at Greenbelt Post 136 with American Legion National Commander Jimmie Foster as special guest, and an evening tour at the National Mall.
Click here to see highlights from Boys Nation day one.