Before the Program
- Who do I need to contact if I want to attend Boys State and haven’t heard anything through my school or a member of the American Legion?
- Who is my district contact for Boys State/the American Legion?
- What is my District? How do I find out my District?
- What if I don’t have a post to sponsor me? Do I go through another district/my school/other?
- When/where is the orientation meeting?
- When/where does the bus leave from my district?
During the Program
- Can I drive myself to the program in my own vehicle? What do I do if I drove myself?
- Can I leave the program early? What if I have another program/camp to attend before Boys State ends?
- Can my parents visit me during the program?
- Can I visit with a friend during the program who lives around NSU?
- How much sleep will I get?
- What is the cell phone policy at Boys State?
- Can I have my own room? What if I don’t like my roommate?
- How much walking is done during the program?
- I have food allergies/other dietary restrictions (e.g. for religious reasons). Who should I contact/what accommodations cans be made for me?
- I forgot to pack something. Can my parents drop it off/ship it to me? To what address should my parents send packages?
- Do participants attend religious services? Are there any accommodations made for religious observances?
- Will there be interaction with Louisiana Girls State?
- What should I pack?
- How much money should I bring? Should I bring cash, credit card or check?
- Will there be laundry services?
- Will there be a nurse or health care services provided?
After the Program
- I had a great time at Boys State. Can I come back as a Counselor/How do I come back as a Counselor?
- Does LABS sponsor any kind of Citizen reunions after the program?
BEFORE THE PROGRAM
Who do I need to contact if I want to attend Boys State and haven’t heard anything through my school or a member of the American Legion?
Recruitment (or “procurement” as it’s termed in the American Legion) is handled by the Legion at the District level. There are eight geographic regions in the Louisiana Department of the American Legion and each one has a different contact person.
This website is maintained by the Program Staff. They can answer any question about the course of the Boys State program itself but will direct all questions regarding recruitment, pre-registration activities, and transportation to the appropriate District contact person.
Who is my district contact for Boys State/the American Legion?
In order to find your District contact within the American Legion for the Boys State program, please visit the Applying to Attend page.
What is my District? How do I find out my District?
Find your District number and contact person by visiting the Applying to Attend page.
What if I don’t have a post to sponsor me? Do I go through another district/my school/other?
Speak with your District contact person. There are a variety of ways to attend the program if you are accepted even if there is not a Legion post to cover the cost including corporate or other community organization sponsorship or personal payment. You can find out more about how the process works in your District by contacting your District contact person.
When/where is the orientation meeting?
Orientation meetings vary district by district and may be scheduled any time from a few days to a month before the program starts. Contact your District contact person for more information specific to your location.
When/where does the bus leave from my district?
Contact your District contact person. This information will also be covered in your orientation meetings.
DURING THE PROGRAM
Can I drive myself to the program in my own vehicle? What do I do if I drove myself?
Arrival to the program is coordinated by District Chairmen, and Citizens from each district ride together on pre-arranged buses. The only exceptions to this are Citizens from the Fourth District and portions of the Eighth District due to their proximity to NSU’s campus who have made contact to this effect and received approval from their District Chairman.
Citizens who are not dropped off by parents but who have vehicles remaining on campus must park their vehicles for the week in the campus lot designated by NSU Police and turn over keys to the Chairman of the Boys State Commission or his designee for the length of the program.
Can I leave the program early? What if I have another program/camp to attend before Boys State ends?
It is considered essential to the Boys State experience to complete the program in its entirety. A Citizen who departs the program early will not be considered to have completed the program or be able to list himself as a participant. Citizens who know they cannot complete the program should contact their District Chairman so that an alternate attendee can be sent.
Can my parents visit me during the program?
There are two events – the Capitol Program and the Awards Convocation – for which we invite parents to attend and see what their sons have done over the course of the program. Outside of these times, we ask that parents not visit as it disrupts the flow of the program. Because of our packed schedule, any distraction inhibits the experience for the Citizen. Please see the Parent Visits page for more detailed information.
Can I visit with a friend during the program who lives around NSU?
No. During the program, Boys State Citizens only interact with individuals outside the program as is considered part of the official schedule. In addition, Citizens are not allowed to depart from the program at any time during attendance.
How much sleep will I get?
The Boys State schedule allocates an average of 7-8 hours of sleep a night. However, most (if not all Citizens) report getting varying amounts of sleep much less than this due to their preparing for campaigns, speeches, song competitions, or presentations. Citizens are given the option to complete any program activities after the scheduled lights out should they so desire.
Boys State does recommend planning to set aside the day after the program to rest.
What is the cell phone policy at Boys State?
Citizens are allowed to bring and carry their phones during the week. Because constant use of electronic devices does distract from the program and lessen the experience for Citizens, it is recommended that Citizens leave phones or other electronic devices in their rooms during the day. In addition, during certain program activities (Convocations, academics, etc.) Citizens will be instructed to put away phones.
It should be noted that neither Boys State, the American Legion, Counselors, and Staff, nor anyone else affiliated with the program can be responsible for any lost, stolen, or broken phones or other electronic devices.
Can I have my own room? What if I don’t like my roommate?
Depending on the housing units occupied by the Boys State program, a Citizen may have a private room in a shared apartment or shared room. This arrangement is determined solely by the available housing units to the program. Once a Citizen has been placed in a room, they cannot switch rooms.
Roommate issues should be addressed with Counselors and if they continue to escalate will be addressed by the appropriate Staff Member and/or the Boys State Chairman.
How much walking is done during the program?
All movement during the program is done by walking, and the program moves as a single unit when crossing campus. Citizens who are unfit enough for strenuous activity should reconsider attendance at the program. That being said, Citizens who have legitimate medical issues or handicaps which require accommodations should contact the Program Staff so that necessary arrangements can be made.
I have food allergies/other dietary restrictions (e.g. for medical or religious reasons). Who should I contact/what accommodations cans be made for me?
You should contact the Program Staff immediately. Boys State uses NSU’s dining services, contracted through Sodexo, a full-service food service company. Any needed accommodation can be made (and likely has already in the past) so long as we are given prompt notification of the need.
I forgot to pack something. Can my parents drop it off/ship it to me? To what address should my parents send packages?
Parents can either drop off forgotten items or have them shipped. Drop offs can be made to either a member of the Program Staff or the American Legion at the program office in the Columns apartment complex.
Parents who wish to ship forgotten items may do so by sending it to the following address:
Natchitoches, LA 71497
(We highly recommend using USPS over UPS or FedEx because of simpler/faster delivery times on campus.)
|UPS or FedEx
175 Sam Sibley Drive
Natchitoches, LA 71457
In the case of forgotten prescription medication, parents in the past have also had prescriptions called in to a local pharmacy. We have worked with the pharmacists at Brookshire’s in Natchitoches in previous years. They may be reached at (318) 352-3141. Parents are responsible for any delivery charge.
Do participants attend religious services? Are there any accommodations made for religious observances?
Louisiana Boys State is a nonsectarian program. It welcomes and has been attended by Citizens from a variety of religious and faith backgrounds. As such and given the length of the program, Boys State does not include as part of its program formal religious services nor does it have time set aside for such in its schedule. However, if a Citizen has a specific inquiry regarding religious observance or practice on an individual basis, he should contact the Program Staff.
Will there be interaction with Louisiana Girls State?
Boys State and Girls State interact on two occasions during the week. The first, the LABS/LAGS Dance, is held on the evening on Day 5 of the program. This also includes the famous t-shirt exchange in which Boys and Girls State Citizens exchange spare program shirts with one another. The second period of interaction is the annual Joint Convocation, held on the evening of Day 6, in which the programs come together to hear from guest speakers and entertainment.
What should I pack?
Please refer to the suggested packing list.
How much money should I bring? Should I bring cash, credit card or check?
There are a few optional costs that arise during the week. Each Citizen is provided with one program t-shirt upon registration and offered the opportunity to buy additional ones. (We recommend two – a spare to alternate wearing each day and one to keep clean to exchange at the Dance.) Each additional shirt is $10. There are two nights during the week in which Citizens can order a pizza to eat in the dorms. Pizzas (large cheese or pepperoni from Johnny’s Pizza) must be pre-ordered at registration and cost $10 each. NSU also operates a concession stand each night at the dorms with an assortment of canned drinks, candy, chips, etc.
Overall, $50-$60 in spending money to cover the costs of shirts, pizza, and snacks should be more than sufficient.
While there is ATM service on campus at NSU, it is very limited and inaccessible for much of the Program. In addition, we cannot be responsible for cashing checks on behalf of Citizens. Therefore, we recommend that Citizens bring any spending money with them in cash, especially since all payments processed during registration (shirts, pizza, etc.) must be done in cash.
Will there be laundry services?
Members of the American Legion provide laundry service to wash Boys State shirts ONLY each day. Each night Citizens turn in dirty shirts and receive back clean shirts turned in the night before. Citizens should bring an adequate amount of other clothing items (shorts/pants, socks, underwear, etc.) to last the week.
Will there be a nurse or health care services provided?
When possible basic medical needs (headache, upset stomach, etc.) can be handled through the Program Staff or the American Legion. If there is a serious issue requiring doctor’s examination or care, the American Legion will coordinate taking the Citizen to the Natchitoches Hospital ER for examination after consultation with parents.
AFTER THE PROGRAM
I had a great time at Boys State. Can I come back as a Counselor/How do I come back as a Counselor?
Counselor selection for Boys State is headed by a selection committee composed of a mixture of Staff Members and Senior Counselors. Based on evaluations of Citizen performance during the week as judged by Staff, the committee will invite certain Citizens to apply for open Counselor positions. All Citizens are evaluated equally throughout the week of their Boys State experience for consideration without regard to elected position within the program.
Counselor selection is based solely on performance at the Boys State program, formal applications, and/or phone interviews with Staff Members. While outside factors such as extracurricular activities, GPA, or having relatives in the American Legion might bolster an already strong Counselor application, they are not a determining factor in the decision to extend a Counselor application to a former Citizen.
Does LABS sponsor any kind of Citizen reunions after the program?
Boys State is known for the close friendships that Citizens build with one another over the course of the week. Unfortunately, though it is a constant request, the Program Staff and American Legion do not at this time sponsor or coordinate any type of LABS Citizen reunion events throughout the year. While it is a possibility we are looking at in the future, at this time any such activities are coordinated personally between former Citizens themselves.