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The American Legion Boys State of Missouri Logo
"Missouri Boys State was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I truly believe that Boys State has changed the way I think about government, the world, and my own life!"

-- Wyko ter Haar '06
Springfield, MO


Missouri Boys State History

Evening Colors

Developed originally in Illinois in 1934 by Dr. Hays Kennedy and Harold Card, both educators and members of the Illinois American Legion, the Boys State program was designed to promote democracy, and counteract the Fascist principles taught to the youth in Germany. It didn't take long for the Boys State program to become America's foremost leadership program.

The 13th of its kind, Missouri Boys State took form just four years after the creation of the first ever Boys State in Illinois. Legend has it that during an early 1937 luncheon, four of the American Legion's most dedicated and hardworking members agreed that Missouri needed a Boys State program and decided to work for its creation. Little did they know that some 65 years later their program would flourish and become one of the most coveted honors afforded a high school junior in Missouri.

Since its inception in 1938, Missouri Boys State has realized remarkable growth providing over 40,000 high school students with the privilege of attending this practical laboratory in citizenship and leadership training.

At the very first session, held in Fulton, MO, 129 young men and 14 counselors convened the inaugural session of Missouri Boys State. Now held at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, MO, an average of 1,000 young men and over 120 counselors make up this Week to Shape a Lifetime. However, the message is still the same - "Democracy depends on me!"

Due to the continued support of the Missouri American Legion and over 500 other civic- minded organizations, Missouri Boys State is stronger than ever. Over the years, Missouri Boys State has produced many distinguished alumni and citizens. Doctors, lawyers, politicians and professionals - many that credit Boys State with providing the inspiration to succeed in all walks of life.

Our Founding Fathers


Jerry F. Duggan, (1886 - 1952)
Harry M. Gambrel, (1896 - 1962)
Dr. Truman L. Ingle, (1894 - 1954)
A. B. Weyer, (1889 - 1977)

Important Dates in MBS History


1999: MBS celebrates its 60th session and MBS Secretary of State Ryan Rippel of Columbia is elected President of Boys Nation in Washington, D.C.

1995: Charlie Mickey celebrates his 50th consecutive session as an active member of the MBS counseling staff. Charlie served 51 years on the staff before his death in 1997.

1988: During our 50th Anniversary celebration, MBS adopted a slogan authored by Aubrey Sullivan. The slogan's message is one that the American Legion obviously has recognized since 1938. That is: "Today's Youth is America's Future".

1982: The A.B. Weyer Memorial Trust was founded by Past National Commander Charles L. Bacon.

1971: St. Louisan John Glunt, Senate President Pro-Tem of Boys State is elected President of Boys Nation in Washington, D.C.

1970: William Quigg and Herbert Kohn were named Director and Dean of Counselors respectively, marking the first time in Boys State history that non-Legionnaires held leadership positions.

1966: MBS expands to its current size of 960 citizens, 16 cities and 8 counties.

1953: Missouri Boys State moves to Central Missouri State College in Warrensburg, Missouri and Bruce Campbell of St. Joseph is elected as the first-ever write-in candidate for Governor.

1949: MBS Governor William Quigg of Jefferson City is first Missourian to be elected President of Boys Nation in Washington, D.C.

1948: Missouri Boys State moves to Kemper Military Academy in Boonville, Missouri.

1945: Missouri Boys State is again canceled due to restrictions from World War II.

1943: Missouri Boys State is canceled due to wartime restrictions on gasoline stemming from World War II.

1938: The first session of MBS is held at the Missouri School for the Deaf in Fulton, Missouri.

1937: Our founders went to work on what would eventually be recognized as one of the most innovative and successful youth in government programs in the country.

The American Legion Department of Missouri

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