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"The experience is a foundation not only for senior year in high school, but for a career and life still ahead. You go home physically tired but mentally exhilharated."

-- Chris Turner '81
Jefferson City, MO

Boys State Testimonials

Over 40,000 citizens have been through the Missouri Boys State program. Here's what some of them had to say about their experience at The American Legion Boys State of Missouri.

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“Wow! The best part about Boys State isn't everything you learn, it's about the leaders you meet. In Carnahan City we made it to where we weren't friends, but brothers. One week with these guys and you come out a new person. It's such a great leadership program as well.”

- Garrett McCorkle, Sedalia, MO
(Citizen - 2008)


“Hey everyone, I just wanted to share that the whole "week to shape a lifetime" stuff is so true. Going to MBS was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I was the Carver City Police Chief, the reason I did this was to learn about Law Enforcement and see if it was something I would like to do in the future. It totally was. I will be attending College of the Ozarks next fall to study Law Enforcement. In that short week I met some really cool guys who I still talk to almost everyday.  I would do anything to go back. It was something I will never forget the rest of my life. I think about my MBS experience and all the friends I have made along the way.  Thanks guys and God bless.“

- Justin Keith, Mansfield, MO
(Citizen - 2008)

Model City Winners

“The week of Boys State was the best in my life. It was the greatest experience I have ever had! I will never forget my experience there or those great people I met there. I would like to thank all those who make Boys State so wonderful! God Bless America!!!”

- Anthony E. Navarrete, Slater, MO
(Citizen - 2007)


“Boys State was one of the greatest, most life changing experiences of my life. Though at first it seemed boring, as the cities, counties, and eventually whole state formed, I realized that the more active I became in the community the more I learned about how the Missouri government worked, and I gained more respect for all the people who work in Missouri politics. Not only did I learn about politics but I learned a lot about myself. The members of my city taught me a lot too. I support Boys State and would be honored to come back as a staff member! I would like to thank all of them for taking time out of their busy schedules to make Boys State a great experience for me and all the other citizens!”

- Jordan Rasmussen, Sedgewickville, Mo
(Citizen - 2007)


“Missouri Boys State is not just a week that shapes a lifetime, it is an experience that will ultimately transfix the outlook that you carry for the rest of your life. MBS not only provides the hands on experience of learning how our government works, but it also allows citizens to understand the bond and personal ties associated with a certain sense of patriotism. The friendship that you develop here not only carries through the week, but burns an image in your soul, one of trust, honor, respect, and obligation.”

- Kyle Radford, Steelville, MO
(Citizen - 2007)


“The catch-phrase for Boys State is "A week to shape a lifetime" but that does not even begin to describe the impact Boys State has on you.  You walk out of Boys State not only with new knowledge over government, law, and politics, but with friendships and memories to last a life time.  You will never experience anything like Boys State and the things that you accomplish during that one week.  It truly is "A week to shape a lifetime."

- Brett Dinkins, Annapolis, MO
(Citizen - 2007)


“Boys State holds true to 'A week to shape a lifetime'. My life has definitely been affected by this experience. I learned more than I ever have about government and the way it works. Thank you to all those staff who worked hard to serve the citizens of Boys State. I will forever use the skills and characteristics I learned there. Thank You Boys State.”

- David King, Harrisonville, MO
(Citizen - 2007)


“Quite simply, Boys State is everything it’s said to be any more. It really is a week to shape a lifetime. I have never experienced a camp or conference that was as exhilarating, as fun, and as self-revealing as Boys State. And when they say come prepared to 'hit the ground running', they mean it, but that's all part of why it is such a great experience. If you have the opportunity to attend Boys State, don't miss it, because you will never find anything else like it.”

- Chris Jones, Lathrop, MO
(Citizen - 2007)


“In attending the 67th Session of Missouri Boys State, I realized not only that government is much more complicated than I once thought, but that someday, one of the men that were seated next to me in services or speeches will be in a leadership position in our great state or the country. God has blessed Missouri with the best Boys State program in the country, and I am glad I attended. "A week to shape a lifetime" is definitely how I would describe the best week I had in the summer of 2006. May God bless you all, and remember that tomorrow's leaders are today's youth.”

- Blake Tade, Livonia, MO  
(Citizen - 2006)


“Boys State was one of the best times of my life. I realized that no matter how smart you think you are, there is always someone else just as smart or smarter. It was a time of realization that has pushed me to do better in life.”

- Brandon Ruiz, St. Louis, MO
(Citizen - 2006)


"I had a lot of fun at Boys' State. It really helped me come out of my shell a little bit. I was really shy before I came to Boys State and it really helped. I really enjoyed my time here."

- Jason Phinney, Unionville, MO
(Citizen - 2006)


“The week I spent at Missouri Boys State was perhaps the most profound week of my life.  I went there not wanting to be involved, but I left not wanting to leave.  While there I gained more than just knowledge about politics, government, and law, I gained 62 new brothers.  And those are people who I will never and can never forget.“

- Jeremey Striegel, Warrensburg, MO
(Citizen - 2006)


“I just want to say that Boys State is hands down the best program I have ever attended.  I didn't know if I wanted to go when I found out I was, but I am so glad I did.  Not only was it a great leadership and citizenship camp, I made 63 friends on the first day.  I am so glad I went.  Thank you MBS!”

- Kristofer Bolz, Wentzville, MO
(Citizen - 2006)


“I admit to initially stepping into Boys State with a sense of hesitance. What kind of a hokey tag line is a "week to shape a lifetime" exactly? Well, after a few days I was dead wrong. I took a risk, and I put myself out there. I bonded with individuals who I never perceived I could bond with.  No matter how much politics, background, and points of view differed, I bonded with everyone.  Boys State helped me become a more active, understanding and accepting citizen. For that, I'm eternally grateful.”

- Max Glenn, Kirksville, MO
(Citizen - 2006)


“Missouri Boys State was one of the greatest experiences of my life. When I first came there, I heard the phrase "A week to shape a lifetime" repeated often, but I never realized what it ment untill I came home again. I truly believe that Boys State has changed the way I think about the government, the world, and my own life!”

- Wyko ter Haar, Springfield, MO
(Citizen - 2006)


"Boys State was the most fun I have ever had at a camp. Not to say that church camp and scout camp is not fun, it is just that I have never met so many new people, learned how the Senate works first hand, and worked together with people that I didn't know at all. Boys State was a very positive experience for me and I hope to be on Boys State staff in the future!"

- Daniel Williams, Smithville, MO
(Citizen - 2005)


"Rarely have I experienced the mental attrition associated with lacking words to in writing or verbally express my sentiments. However, having recently returned from the "Week to Shape a Lifetime," I have been unable to convey the transformational nature of the program. This program should be commended for its emphasis on consecrating lifelong relationships, citizenship, and participation. Missouri Boys State will undoubtedly remain a highlight in my personal and professional life, and maintain a reference point for my future public servitude."

- Corey Scott Dutra, Purdy, MO
(Citizen - 2005)


"When they say "The week to shape a lifetime", they definitely mean it. The true pleasure of attending Boys State wasn't just the knowledge I attained about the democratic philosophies of this nation, but also the friendships formed with young men from all over this great state. In one week I made friendships sure to last a life time. I learned about the morals and viewpoints of others, and my very own morals and viewpoints as well."

- Tanner Boyd, St. Charles, MO
(Citizen - 2005)


"Boys State was one of the greatest times of my life. I experienced guys from all walks of life. I go to a school that is preschool through 12th grade, and there are about 230 people in our whole school. I met people who have two or three times that in their class. I made many friends that I will stay in touch with for a very long time."

- Zack Craft, Ludlow, MO
(Citizen - 2004)


"On the first day I kept hearing that MBS, was a 'Week to shape a lifetime.' It was exactly that and beyond. I would like to thank the staff and counselors for their hard work and dedication to the program. MBS brought out the best in me, and it was great meeting people who had their priorities straight. I made several best friends throughout the week. I was the Colonel of MBS Highway Patrol at MBS. It was a great experience and I would go back in an instant. The schools of instruction, speakers, and other events were great. Thanks again.
Blair City 2004 Rocks!"

- Bradley O. Bailey, Kansas City, MO
(Citizen - 2004)


"Thanks to everyone at Missouri Boys State for taking good care of my son, Sylvester L. Holmes II. He told me he had a wonderful time filled with magnificent and great experiences each moment of each day. Syl II said he learned a lot and treasures all of his new friendships. At first Syl didn't want to attend but did so with the encouragement of his parents. On Sat., the last day, our son was probably one of the last young men to leave because he didn't want to leave his new friends. At the closing ceremonies all parents attending got a chance to see how every young man who participated was made to feel special and important. We observed how each young man left Boys State with a spirit of love, confidence, respect and understanding for all human lives and a responsibility to better serve their communities. As a parent it was a comfort to me to be able to communicate with my son by email sometimes just to say hello. My son enjoyed the guest speakers and thought Attorney General Jay Nixon was 'so cool and real'. Thanks again to Mr. Neger and the Grandview American Legion Post for sponsoring Sylvester and all American Legionaires, leaders, counselors, cafeteria staff and to CMSU for supporting such a great program. THANKS! THANKS! THANKS!"

- Tonya D. Holmes
parent of Sylvester L. Holmes II, Kansas City, MO
(Citizen - 2004)


"My name is Darryl Kemp and I was a citizen of Weyer City in the 65th Session of Missouri Boys State. Words honestly can’t explain what I feel about the program, but I shall try anyway. I arrived at the program with everyone else, but was so scared to open up and talk to anyone. I spent the first two days questioning whether I should stay or leave. By Thursday, I was dreading Saturday because I knew that I had to leave the greatest thing I had ever participated in. Boys State gave me confidence, strength, and a passion for life in general. My experience completely turned my life around and I can’t thank you enough for what you have given me. I feel that I could never pay back the debt that I feel I owe to the program, and would consider it a privilege and honor to come back and return as a counselor. Boys State has opened my eyes to myself and the world and I sincerely thank you for allowing me to participate in such a wonderful program. It truly is 'A Week to Shape a Lifetime.'"

- Darryl Kemp, Wellsville, MO
(Citizen - 2004)


"I wanted to thank you for giving me the opportunity to attend the 2002 session of Missouri Boys State. It was truly an honor to be selected along with the other 940 boys to be a part of such and exceptional leadership learning experience.

I learned some valuable lessons at Boys State, but perhaps the most valuable thing I found at Boys State was my interest in Law. When I went to Boys State I had thought that I might want to go to the Law School and once I got there I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Those seven days have sparked my interest in Law and I am now seriously considering going into Law as a career.

Again, thank you for the opportunity you gave me, it really was "A Week to Shape a Lifetime" and was an experience that I will remember for a very long time."

Joseph Leavens, Kirksville, MO
(Citizen - 2002)


"Recently our son attended Missouri Boys State. On June 22nd he was home three hours, before leaving for a 4-H trip to Washington D.C. I was afraid after that trip, we wouldn't hear much about Boys State. I was wrong. Washington D.C. was an exciting trip for him, but Boys State was a wonderful experience, too.

Thank you. I can tell by what Justin has told us so far, that a lot of people put a lot of work into this program to make it such a success. I know things just don't happen. Someone has to work to make it happen.

I understand Missouri Boys State ranks at the top of the Nation. I can understand why.

Thank you again for such a positive experience for our son, Justin."

- Gary & Anita McAllister
parent of Justin McAllister, Jacksonville, MO
(Citizen - 2002)


"I believe that this is probably the best leadership experience that anyone in this world could offer. Words can't explain the effort that must be put towards this program. This experience has prepared me for the world and the future."

- Brandon Mayberry, Kansas City, MO
(Citizen - 1999)


"This experience should really help me set goals for my life. I will never forget this week…it was a great adventure into life."

- Darron Morgan, St. Louis, MO
(Citizen - 1999)


“I think that by going to Boys State it really helped me learn a lot about myself and helped me develop my leadership skills.  It has been 10 years since I have attended Boys State but I will remember my experience for the rest of my life.”

- LeJuan Strickland, St. Louis, MO
(Citizen – MBS Gov., 1997)


"My time as a citizen at Missouri Boys State taught me so much more than politics or governmental process. I learned that one person can make a difference, provided that one person actually participates in the process. I learned that I do have it in me to make a difference, and every day since I left Boys State, I have kept that all-important motto in my head... "If it is to be, it is up to me." During my nine years as a staff member, I have had no greater reward than watching each year's citizenry walk away from the program convinced of the same message."

- Jason Lewton, Raytown, MO
(Citizen - 1993)


"I did not realize the concepts that I learned back in Boys State were important until I actually was faced with my name on the ballot. The one concept I brought home from our Boys State election and participating in a Gubernatorial Debate was that elected officials are and should be stewards of the people. Without that experience, I would never had pursued the opportunity to be an elected official and put those concepts into action. Thank you American Legion."

- Bob Hughs, St. Joseph
(Citizen - 1992)


“I had no idea what I was in for, having had no prior interest in the political process at any level. But on the day the votes were tallied and the announcement was made that I won the highest executive position in the state I was overwhelmed with joy and excitement. I had a new outlook on what our government officials go through to get where they are. Although only one person can hold the position of Governor, there are so many more responsible for them being there. Great experience.”

- Aaron Andrew Nickens, Kansas City, MO
(Citizen - MBS Gov., 1988)


"It is hard to believe that it has been 31 years since I was a citizen at MBS. I remember the many activities I participated in, including running/campaigning for the Senate and singing in the MBS choir. I also remember the excitement I felt when we WON model city! I just happened to find this link and was glad to see that MBS is still in existence. I hope it continues to thrive and provide an opportunity for young men throughout the state."

- Rod Crain, Chillicothe
(Citizen - 1974)


"For the past 18 years I have been the Monday night speaker at Minnesota Boys State on the topic of Democracy, Participation and Minnesota Politics." and then I still wear my Missouri Boys State pin when I speak at Minnesota Boys

State. At Missouri Boys state I recall being overwhelmed the first couple of days. I didn't get elected to much because I didn't catch on right away. I advise Boys Staters today to get a move on and declare their candidacies quickly. Political success involves good timing, at Boy's State and in the real world. Thanks to all the counselors, staff and volunteers." The lead in could still be, "Thanks to Missouri Boys State for your motivation and encouragement to be an active citizen and community leader."

- Joe Kunkel, St. Louis, MO
(Citizen - 1967)


"The experience was important to me. It gave me confidence to run for school president, and was elected in 1940, my senior year. Interestingly, one of my rivals for overall recognition in high school was William H. Webster, "Judge" Webster, who went on to become a Federal judge, and head both the CIA and FBI. He wrote in my class yearbook, "You will get to the Senate before I will." He got closer to it than I."

- Stephen T. Boggs, Webster Groves, MO
(MBS Governor - 1939)


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