By GLENDA CAUDLE
Special Features Editor
Seventy-eight years ago, Hayes Kennedy moved forward with his idea to create a counter movement to the left-wing Young Pioneer Camps that were springing up across this country and were rumored to be communist-inspired training camps for youth.
Kennedy, who was an instructor at the Loyola University Chicago School of Law and was involved in the American Legion, teamed with the latter’s Boy Scout chairman and junior high teacher Harold Card to promote a Democratic training ground for youth.
As the program grew rapidly in popularity, those with an interest in a similar program for young women stepped forward and in 1938, the first Girls State program, under the direction of the American Legion Auxiliary in Illinois began its program. By 1984, there were programs in all 50 states, although Hawaii no longer supports the effort to teach government from the township to the state level.
According to information from the Boys State website about the opportunities for rising seniors at high schools across the state, “At American Legion Boys State participants are exposed to the rights and privileges, the duties and the responsibilities of a franchised citizen. The training is objective and practical with city, county and state governments operated by the students elected to the various offices. Activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, chorus and recreational programs.” The program for Girls State is very similar.
This year, Volunteer Boys State will be at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville Sunday through June 1.
Girls State will be at Lipscomb University in Nashville during the same period.
Students selected to attend from South Fulton High School include Ryan Harper, son of Mark and Becky Lister of Martin, and Adysen Swader, daughter of Dick and Melinda Swader of South Fulton.
Ryan is vice president-elect of SFHS Beta Club and the Future Business Leaders of America parliamentarian-elect. He enjoys soccer and golf and was named a delegate to Student Congress on Policies in Education this year.
Miss Swader is a Beta Club member and a member of Health Occupation Students of America.
Alternates to the Boys and Girls State programs are Ryan Moore, son of Jennifer Battle and Jay Moore of South Fulton, and Abby O’Neal, daughter of Walton and Gayle O’Neal of South Fulton.
Ryan is involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and plays football, basketball and soccer.
Miss O’Neal is secretary-elect of SFHS Beta Club, was a SCOPE delegate and HOSA member and is in the Top Ten of her class academically.
Published in The Messenger 5.22.13