Increase participation to Boys State

In 2012, American Legion West Virginia Mountaineer Boys State celebrated its 75th anniversary and achieved a lofty goal of increasing enrollment by 100 delegates.

"We were able to get our numbers up from previous years because our volunteer staff worked year-round to ensure the program remained strong," said David Robinson, assistant director of Mountaineer Boys State. "Our staff consists of Legionnaires, Sons of The American Legion and Auxiliary members, volunteers, former delegates and family members. They are the heart of our program."

Mountaineer Boys State volunteers successfully conducted the following efforts to increase enrollment:

  • Hosted a forum about the program during the department’s state convention and mid-winter conference.
  • Invited news media to Boys State activities held throughout the year.
  • Mailed a copy of the program’s promotional DVD to American Legion posts statewide.
  • Wore Boys State apparel around town and to high school events.
  • Visited and spoke with high school principals and guidance counselors.
  • Visited Legion posts that have had little to no Boys State participation and educated the post members on how to recruit and sponsor delegates.
  • Contacted county commissions and city councils to assist with sponsorship.
  • Sent "thank you" letters to program sponsors.
  • Encouraged delegates to share their experience upon returning home.

Additionally, Mountaineer Boys State volunteers addressed West Virginia Board of Education members and personally met with the state superintendent of schools. As a result of both meetings, Mountaineer Boys State was able to exhibit at the state guidance counselor workshop and send Boys State program material to every high school in the state.

"Both meetings enabled us to network with schools that had not participated in the program before and secure contacts for future years," Robinson said. "It’s a never-ending process to put Boys State on, but you must work as a team and use the resources available to you because it’s important that we continue to instill patriotism, integrity and honor in America’s youth."