Earlier this month the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary held their annual Girls and Boys State Conventions.
Posted on 6/25/16
By Melissa Anderson
The two conventions bring high school girls and boys between their junior and senior year together to learn about government.
Two area teens, Amanda Thompson and Dawson Schefter, not only attended the Girls State and Boys State conventions but ran for and were successfully elected to positions within the mock governments of the two conventions.
Thompson attended Girls State, sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary, which was held on June 5 – 10 at the University of North Dakota campus in Grand Forks.
At the conventions, instead of sitting through lengthy lectures, the “citizens” learn about city, county and state government by actually running for offices, holding elections, writing ordinances/laws, and various other activities. Those that attend don’t just hear about the government process, they are a part of the process. The students learn leadership skills. Thompson was nominated to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction position within the mock Flickertail state government.
“It was really an honor to be nominated just for the simple fact people thought I was a good candidate and could do it well,” Thompson said.
Thompson explained that in order for her to be elected as Superintendent of Public Instruction, she had to do a lot of networking.
“It was a lot of going around talking to people, letting them know who I was and what I stood for,” Thompson explained.
“At first it was really uncomfortable but I began to know a lot of the girls and it became easier to share my opinion and views,” Thompson added.
Schefter was elected Governor of North Dakota Boys State, a gathering of 90 participants during the week of June 12-17 at the North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) campus in Wahpeton.
“It means a great deal to me to have been called upon by my peers to lead them through the remainder of the 74th annual Boys State assembly and into the 75th annual assembly,” Schefter said.
“My fellow Boys State delegates have called upon me to lead, and it is truly an honor to answer that call. I look forward to being a vocal advocate for the American Legion Boys State program as I serve in my capacity as Governor,” Schefter added.
Schefter was asked to represent North Dakota at Boys Nation in Washington, D.C. during the week of July 22-30.
“I was selected to receive the LeRoy Pease Memorial award which is accompanied by an expense paid trip to Marymount University and the American Legion Boys Nation program,” Schefter said.
Boys Nation functions much the same as Boys State but with a focus on governance at a Federal level. The nation’s 49 Boys States select two delegates to represent their state.
At Boys Nation, Schefter will act as a senator from the state of North Dakota. He, along with the other Boys State delegates, will act as lawmakers and caucus at the beginning of the session then organize into committees and conduct hearings on bills submitted by program delegates.