Friday, March 4, 2016

Boys and Girls State 2016: A week that can shape a lifetime - By Dave Tanguay

It is time again for our high school juniors to be thinking about going to Boys State and Girls State in June. Last year American Legion Field-Allen Post 148 of Windham sent four junior boys and Field-Allen ALA Unit 148 sent three girls from Windham High School to their respective Boys or Girls State. Many past Boys and Girls State attendees have gone on to become pillars of the community as well as local and state political figures. For example, Maine State Senator Gary Plummer (now retired) of Windham attributed his interest in entering politics to his time at Boys State in 1963. A long time history teacher at Windham, Mildred Black, attributes her interest in history and government to her time at Girls State. Mildred now sponsors one of the ALA girl delegates. 
The local Legion Post and Auxiliary are again looking for highly motivated juniors to attend either Boys or Girls State to be held in June. These State conventions, Boys at Thomas College, Waterville and Girls at Husson University, Bangor, provide opportunities for Maine juniors to participate in programs that supplement high school civics courses and help to better understand the process and responsibilities of government. Attendees role-play as they learn to campaign for various state positions and organize and carry out the functions of government. This is an amazing opportunity to our youth to learn about how government works.

Sponsorship is through the American Legion, Department of Maine, with local financial scholarship support coming from the local American Legion Post and ALA. There is no direct cost to the participants who are selected for the programs. 

Interested juniors desiring to place their names into consideration may do so by contacting and submitting their names to the Windham High School Guidance Office. There will be a preliminary information meeting for all applicants with American Legion Post and Auxiliary Unit 148 Boys and Girls state coordinators scheduled for late March at the high school, followed by an April interview and selection session, again at the high school.

The Legion Post and women’s auxiliary unit currently have funding to send three boys and two girls to their respective conventions in June. Organizations or individuals wishing to provided additional funding for this program or sponsor a student may do so by contacting Field-Allen Post Financial Officer Dave Tanguay at 892-1306 for details. Full or partial sponsorships are always welcome.

Additional program information is available on the American Legion, Dept. of Maine website at and click on programs in the left column, or for Girls State visit For local information, call Mel Greenier at 892-7449 (boys) or Pam Whynot at 892-4720 (girls).

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