Boys Nation: 'It's all about the people'

Editor’s note: This is the second of a series of profiles of the Boys Nation 2016 officers. Boys Nation 2017 takes place July 21-29 at Marymount University in Arlington, Va.


Of the four elected positions at American Legion Boys Nation, Aaron Jaffe felt that if he were elected president pro tempore, that’s where he would have the most impact.

“The president pro tempore is the workhorse of the senate, runs it, gets a lot of stuff done behind the scenes and tries to make everything as efficient as possible. So I thought by giving up my voice I would be able to allow everyone else the opportunity to really give their constituents a voice,” Jaffe recalled.

Jaffe, of Old Greenwich, Conn., was elected president pro tempore of the 2016 session of Boys Nation. The president pro tempore presides over the Boys Nation Senate in the absence of the vice president.

Jaffe is grateful for the experience he received at Connecticut Boys State and at Boys Nation.

“These programs provide young men like myself an opportunity that would otherwise not be there, to really experience what it’s like to be a citizen and to be an American. And I will be forever changed going forward in my view of what it’s like to live in the United States,” he said.

The experience helped lead him to a Veterans Day speech in his hometown where he reflected on his time at Boys Nation.

“It was during the really tense final weeks of the election process, and what I wanted to get across to the members of my town, which was the most important lesson I learned at Boys Nation, was that it’s all about the people,” he said. “You can hate the politics, you can dislike or disagree with the ideas, but we’re all unified Americans and that’s something that we all need to realize and all need to come together about. So I gave the speech, not trying to divide people along party lines but hoping to celebrate what Veterans Day is all about, and that’s America. It’s about the people who sacrificed to make our country so incredible. My sense of patriotism has really been pushed by my experience in the Boy Scouts as well, an Eagle Scout, but also by the two weeks I spent at Boys State and Boys Nation, really experiencing what it’s like to be an American and be a citizen and to interact with such incredible veterans.”

Jaffe is grateful for the experiences The American Legion — including his sponsor, Post 29 in Greenwich — helped him achieve.

And he’s quick to encourage others to pursue their opportunities at Boys State and Boys Nation.

“It provides an amazing opportunity to spend a week or two weeks with guys from around the state or around the entire country, all of whom are absolutely brilliant and all of whom are genuinely nice guys, genuinely interested in what you’re doing there, and there are very few other places where you can find such genuine people,” he said. “Secondly, it’s just an amazing academic experience. I learned an incredible amount, not only during the debates on the floor of the senate from the guys I interacted with, I learned about the entire breadth of opinion, about social policy issues, about economic policy issues, and my eyes were really opened in a number of ways to pretty much every facet of America.”

Jaffe plans to attend Columbia University in New York where he’ll major in applied mathematics with minors in international relations and computer science.


Boys Nation

At Boys State / Nation, participants learn the rights, privileges and responsibilities of franchised citizens. The training is objective and centers on the structure of city, county and state governments.

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