Change has come to American Legion Boys Nation—staff changes, schedule tweaks, and most notably, two more delegates than in years past.
The 72nd annual Boys Nation program includes two rising seniors representing the District of Columbia in Chris Bond and Robert Gerber, bringing the total number of delegates in Boys Nation’s mock Senate to 100. Hawaii remains the only state without a Boys State program.
The D.C. delegates and their peers arrived Friday at Marymount University in Arlington, Va., to begin their second “week that shapes a lifetime” of the summer, the first being the time they spent in May or June at their respective Boys State programs. Each one selects two delegates to represent them in July at Boys Nation. Some served as governors at Boys State, but most did not.
With the retirement of PNC Bob Turner as Boys Nation’s Director of Activities last year after 35 years on staff, another past national commander, Dale Barnett, has stepped into the role. There’s also a new program director in Tyler Mitchell, replacing the retired Mike Buss, and Dennis Barlow taking on the retired Bob Craig’s duties as office manager.
But much remains the same. Marymount University has hosted Boys Nation since 1986. As the delegates check in, they’re reminded as they are every year to take care of their room keys and are handed the yellow polos that will serve as their uniforms for the next week. There are section meetings to attend, the welcoming ice cream social, and the party receptions in which Federalist party counselor Joe Bishop and Nationalist party counselor Joe McCraith let the fledgling senators know what awaits when party conventions begin on Saturday.
It’s a day for the members of Boys Nation 2018 to get acclimated to each other and the campus they’ll call home for the next week. The real work begins Saturday, when they’ll be sworn in and elect a president pro tempore and secretary of the senate.
Follow the happenings at American Legion Boys Nation 2018 here on legion.org and on social media using the hashtag #BoysNation2018.