Letter from the Director
Virginia Boys State delegate:
I personally congratulate you on the honor, which you recently received to represent your school at the 2023 AMERICAN LEGION BOYS STATE OF VIRGINIA PROGRAM. This Session marks the 80th Session of our program. You will find this opportunity an exciting adventure as you study government at the state and local level; participate in varied recreational and extracurricular activities; live, work and associate with other outstanding young men, instructors and counselors representing practically every city and county in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The program will be conducted at Radford University in Radford, Virginia from June 18 – June 24, 2023.
Please review BASIC RULES AND REGULATIONS relating to the Boys State Program. I urge you to read these carefully and if you agree to observe them in their ENTIRETY, sign the Pledge Card and present it when you arrive on Sunday, June 18, 2023. Your execution and return of this pledge is a requirement of your acceptance to the program.
We require every delegate of Virginia Boys State to have a physical prior to participating in the program. If you have had a physical within 12 months prior to Virginia Boys State for Boy Scouts, high school athletics, etc., you can use it for Virginia Boys State. For the 2023 Session each delegate should have had a physical between June 2022 and June 2023. This medical certification must be presented upon your arrival at Boys State during the registration process. In addition, YOU MUST ATTACH A COPY OF YOUR PARENT’S OR GUARDIAN’S HEALTH BENEFITS, INSURANCE IDENTIFICATION CARD. Boys State will provide SECONDARY ACCIDENT AND HEALTH INSURANCE.
YOU WILL NEED TO BRING THE FOLLOWING ITEMS:
- Navy blue walking shorts (2 pair minimum) NO OTHER COLOR (no denim or cut offs)
- Underwear and white socks; sweater or jacket
- Bed linen for a twin bed; pillow; blanket, towels, toilet articles
- Musical instruments if you plan to be a member of the Boys State band
- Refillable water bottle
- Athletic equipment (frisbee golf, bowling, billiards, soccer, flag football, volleyball, and basketball) If you have knee pads or equipment that you would like to bring to enhance your game, bring them.
- Boys State will provide 2 t-shirts, lodging and meals (extra t-shirts will be available for purchase at the time of registration)
Prior to the start of the program, telephone numbers will be published on this website. These numbers, along with other contact information, will be posted in advance of your arrival at Boys State. This website will also provide you with an overview of the program.
The amount of money you may wish to bring should be a small amount. The average suggested amount is $50 to cover the costs of any additional t-shirts you may wish to purchase, your city group photo, Friday night city party, and snacks available on the Radford campus.
Your parents are welcome to visit during the Friday night program. The hours of the program are 5:00 – 10:00 PM. During their visit, your family is welcome to eat with you, and enjoy the concert and parade. There are a number of hotels in the area for an overnight stay. Graduation from the program occurs on Saturday morning and the program ends at 11:30 AM. The cafeteria will be open for the citizens and parents who would like to eat lunch prior to leaving.
YOU ARE REQUIRED TO ARRIVE BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 11:00 AM AND 14:00 PM ON SUNDAY, JUNE 18, AND STAY THE ENTIRE WEEK. IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO ATTEND THE ENTIRE WEEK, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR SPONSORING AMERICAN LEGION POST WHO WILL MAKE ARRANGEMENTS FOR YOUR ALTERNATE TO ATTEND.
Please note that the only person who can authorize late arrivals or early departures from the program is the Director of American Legion Boys State. No one else may do so. The Director will only authorize late arrivals or early departures due to emergency situations.
Again, I extend my congratulations for the honor you have received to attend the American Legion Boys State Program. I look forward to meeting you, and I am sure you will find this an outstanding and rewarding educational program.
Director, Virginia Boys State of The American Legion
Pledge Card (2023) — 80th Session – updated 11/20/2022
All delegates must be able to participate in the program for the full week. Delegates must have a physical exam certifying that they are healthy and free of communicable diseases, and do not have any medical condition that would preclude participation in the program. The medical form must be signed and completed by a licensed physician. The cost of the physical exam is the responsibility of the parents of the delegate. Be sure to read about Health Insurance coverage.
Includes the medical form and parental consent. It is mandatory for all participants.
Program Schedule (2023)
Athletic Activities PDF (2018)
Flag Book PDF (2023)
The Flag Book is the one document that covers the Boys State experience in a booklet format. These handbooks are distributed to each citizen attending Boys State on the first day of the Session.
Health Insurance Coverage
As stated on the Pledge Card, delegates must bring a photocopy of their health insurance card. The Boys State insurance policy covers delegates while at the program but is in excess to any and all other insurance. Those without health insurance coverage should search the internet for “short term insurance coverage” and obtain a policy. Attach a printed receipt to the medical form. Delegates should also bring a photo ID to be used along with the health insurance card.
The American Legion Post that is sending delegates to Virginia Boys State may provide transportation to and from the program. If the Post does not have the resources to transport the delegate, it is the delegate’s responsibility to make his own arrangements.
Basic Rules and Regulations
- I will obey all rules, regulations, and directions as established by the officials of the program.
- I will render proper respect to the Flag of the United States, at all times, including during the National Anthem.
- I will perform my duties as a Boys State citizen to the best of my ability and endeavor to conduct myself as a gentleman, also as to honor my parents, school, community, state, and Nation.
- I will participate in all aspects and events of the program as scheduled.
- I will not actively campaign for any Boys State office prior to my arrival for the program.
- I will not bring or circulate campaign literature or material prepared prior to attending this program.
- If elected to an office, I will agree to serve in that position to the best of my ability.
- I will not leave the Radford University campus without permission and I will wear my official Boys State uniform when permitted to be off campus.
- I will proceed in an orderly manner when moving about the campus in groups.
- I will not possess, obtain, or use any firearms, fireworks, or explosives while attending the Boys State program. I will not possess any weapon while attending the Boys State program.
- I will not obtain, possess, consume, or in any other way use alcoholic beverages, unlawful drugs, or proscribed substances while attending the Boys State program.
- I will not participate in any form of gambling while attending the Boys State program.
- I will not use tobacco in any form while at Boys State.
- I will not damage any property or any facility on the Radford University campus. I understand that I will be responsible for the cost of any repairs from damages that I am deemed responsible.
- I will not keep or operate an automobile or motorcycle during the week of this program. I will not ride in or on such vehicle unless authorized to do so by a Boys State counselor.
- I will endeavor to arrive for the Boys State program between the hours of 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM on Sunday and remain through the completion of the program on the following Saturday. I understand that I am not to leave for any reason other than an emergency. I understand that I must secure prior approval from the Director or his designated assistant before I may withdraw from the program.
Uniform Requirements During Virginia Boys State
- The uniform of the day consists of the following:
- Official Boys State t-shirt tucked in pants.
- Name tag positioned on the right, even with the Boys State logo.
- Blue walking (non-athletic) shorts with belt.
- Appropriate closed toe shoes with socks (no flip flops, sandals, slippers, or Crocs).
- Boys State issued backpack. First and last name will be inscribed on the space provided above the logo and Boys State City name in the space provided below the logo.
- The Flag Book is part of the uniform and must be carried in the pocket or backpack (optional during
recreation period when wearing workout/athletic attire).
- The uniform of the day shall be worn at all times except during the recreation period when workout/athletic attire is authorized. Name tag is required when traveling to/from recreation activities, but removed while participating in athletics.
- All citizens must be in the proper uniform of the day before entering the cafeteria. No workout/athletic attire is permitted during meals.
- Adherence to the uniform requirements will contribute to points attributable to the Best City competition. Citizens not properly attired will receive demerits, which will count against their cities.
- Optional items:
- Sunglasses may be worn outside. Sunglasses will NOT be worn during flag raising/flag lowering at the court of flags.
- Long-sleeve white t-shirt with Boys State logo. A plain long-sleeve white t-shirt may only be worn under the issued short-sleeve Boys State t-shirt (must be able to see the logo and name tag).
- Boys State jacket may be worn with the uniform of the day. Staff may restrict wearing of the jacket during certain activities (city photos, sessions with dignitaries, parade, etc.).
- Rain jackets (or other jackets brought from home) may be worn during inclement weather at the discretion of the Counselor in Charge in coordination with the American Legion Boys State of Virginia staff.
- Sweatshirts may be worn when cooler temperatures dictate at the discretion of the Counselor in Charge in coordination with the American Legion Boys State of Virginia Staff. Plain white sweatshirts (no hoodies) may be worn under the issued short-sleeve Boys State t-shirt (must be able to see the logo and name tag).
- Delegates may only wear hats during the recreation period when wearing workout/athletic attire.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before Boys State
- What are the dates for the upcoming Session?
- What should I bring with me to Boys State?
- What are the uniform requirements while at Boys State?
- What should I leave at home?
- What should I expect?
- Can I drive my car to the program?
- Can I bring my laptop, stereo system, or other electronic equipment?
- What should I do to prepare for the program?
- Can I bring a musical instrument?
- How much money should I bring?
- Can I bring my own campaign materials?
- What offices can I run for?
- What time do I have to arrive at Boys State?
- What if I arrive late?
- Do I have to stay all week?
- Where is the program located?
During Boys State
- Will I see other people from my high school during the week?
- Can my best friend be my roommate?
- Will I have access to my email?
- Can I have visitors while I’m at Virginia Boys State?
- What are the lodging arrangements?
- What is the food service like?
- What kind of sporting activities are available?
- How much free time is there?
- Can I leave the campus during the week?
- I’m 18 years old. Am I allowed to smoke?
- What is the political structure of Boys State?
- What is a typical day like?
- Do I have to participate in all the activities?
- Are there laundry facilities in the dorms?
- Are the dorm rooms air conditioned? Do I need a fan?
- How long does the program last?
- What scholarship opportunities are available to me?
- Can I receive mail while at Boys State?
Before Boys State
What are the dates for the upcoming Session?
The 80th Session of Virginia Boys State will begin on Sunday, June 18, 2023, and concludes at 12:00 on Saturday, June 24, 2023. You are required to arrive between 11:00 and 14:00 on Sunday, June 18th. Additionally, you must not leave the program during the week.
What should I bring with me to Boys State?
First and foremost, bring a positive attitude, a solid work ethic, and an open mind. Boys State is NOT a recreational camp so be ready to work while having fun. Regarding supplies, please see our Packing List.
What are the uniform requirements while at Boys State?
Dress expectations are detailed in the Uniform Requirements section.
What should I leave at home?
There are a few things that you should not bring to Boys State.
- Expensive jewelry, watches or any keepsake that would present a problem if lost or stolen.
- Electronic equipment such as laptops, CD players, and stereo systems are not necessary at Boys State.
- Pre-printed campaign materials and supplies are prohibited.
- Water guns, toy guns and any other toy items deemed inappropriate by Boys State staff are prohibited.
- Of course, any illegal drugs or controlled substances are prohibited and will result in an immediate dismissal from Boys State. Prescription medication should be cleared through the medical staff upon registration at Boys State.
- State laws prohibit the use of alcohol and tobacco products by minors. Boys State is a smoke free environment. The use of alcohol or tobacco products by Boys State citizens is prohibited. Violation of these rules will result in immediate dismissal.
- Laser pointers and any other laser emitting devices are prohibited.
What should I expect?
You should expect a fast-paced, high-energy educational program designed to test your leadership, citizenship and scholastic abilities. You should expect to compete with the best and brightest high school students in the state of Virginia. You should expect to push yourself like never before. You should expect to commit yourself to the program for the entire week, and not allow yourself to be distracted by outside influences. Finally, you should expect to leave the program a better person than you were before you arrive.
Can I drive my car to the program?
Yes! You are allowed to drive your car to Virginia Boys State. There is even a place to park it. When you check in, we are going to ask you for your keys. This keeps you from having the urge to go cruising around Radford. At the end of the week, your car will be in the same exact spot you left it … same mileage and all!
Can I bring my laptop, stereo system, or other electronic equipment?
No. There is no need for you to bring these items with you. A small radio is allowed, but Boys State cannot be responsible for lost or stolen items. Because of the size of the program and the number of citizens, we cannot keep track of expensive and valuable belongings for nearly 1,000 students. As a special precaution, items of value can be locked up with your counselor, but please do not bring items that have great financial value. Items such as laptops, CD players, and stereo systems are not needed so please leave them at home.
What should I do to prepare for the program?
Get plenty of rest! Boys State is a fast-paced program. Also, read the Flag Book (the Flag Book for the current Session will be posted as the program commences; Flag Books from previous Sessions can be found in our archives). The more you know about the program the better you will fare. The Flag Book contains all the pertinent information about Boys State. You may also want to brush up on your public speaking skills since you will need them!
Can I bring a musical instrument?
Yes, we encourage it! If you are interested in participating in the band and chorus you are welcome to bring your instrument. You may also bring your instrument for the talent show on Thursday evening. Electric instruments such as keyboards and guitars can be accommodated.
How much money should I bring?
We recommend you bring about $50. This should cover all expenditures you will incur during the program including a city picture.
Can I bring my own campaign materials?
No. When you arrive at Boys State, you are all on a level playing field. You will have access to all of the things you will need to produce your campaign materials while at the program.
What offices can I run for?
There are elected offices on three levels – citywide, countywide and statewide. You can run for any office you want from mayor of your city to governor of the state. All it takes is determination and the will to succeed. If you do not win an election, run for another office. Virginia Boys State runs on the leadership of its elected officials.
What time do I have to arrive at Boys State?
Registration is Sunday, June 18, 2023, from 11:00 to 1. All participants MUST be registered NO LATER THAN 3:00 PM.
What if I arrive late?
Plan to arrive before 2:00 PM on Sunday. If it is unavoidable that you arrive after 3:00 PM, you must obtain permission from the Director by the Thursday prior to arrival date. NO LATE ARRIVALS WILL BE ADMITTED TO THE PROGRAM. NO EXCEPTIONS!
Do I have to stay all week?
Yes! Gaining the best experience possible at Virginia Boys State is dependent on your full participation during the course of the program. You have been selected over many others at your high school to attend this program. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Leaving early not only wastes your sponsor’s money, but also keeps another student from the experience of a lifetime. Citizens may not leave the program until graduation ceremonies are finished on Saturday. Those who do not stay the entire week will lose eligibility for scholarship money and college credit. Students should commit to staying the entire week.
Where is the program located?
The Virginia Boys State program is located on the campus of Radford University, located in Radford, Virginia.
During Boys State
Will I see other people from my high school during the week?
Probably. However we try to place students from the same high school in different cities. Because there are nearly 1,000 participants in the program, you will most likely not see your friends. When you leave the program, hopefully you will have made connections that last a lifetime.
Can my best friend be my roommate?
No. We want you to have the experience of meeting new people. We try to divide up the students who come from the same high school into different cities. The chances of you seeing one of your friends from home are slim due to the number of citizens at Virginia Boys State.
Will I have access to my email?
You will probably not have access to email while at Boys State.
Can I have visitors while I’m at Boys State?
Yes. We welcome parents and other family members to come and see the program. We ask them to not interfere with the program … just observe. Contact will be limited and should not interrupt the flow of events during the week.
What are the lodging arrangements?
You will stay in the university dorms for the entire week. You will have at least one and possibly two roommates. To learn more about what you might bring, see our Packing List.
What is the food service like?
The Radford University Muse Dining Hall provides dining facilities for the entire week. There will be three square meals a day, with a variety of menu items.
What kind of sporting activities are available?
Beginning on Monday, there will be an athletic period each afternoon. Every citizen is required to participate in a variety of sporting events. Those events include: basketball, flag football, table tennis, track & field, and other sports as facilities are available.
How much free time is there?
We keep you busy the whole week. During the day there may be some free time set aside, but this should be used to study for your school of instruction. Meals are also considered free time but you are required to sit with your respective city. Lights Out is set at 10:30 PM, but due to some events, this may be pushed back. You may think this is too early, but at the end of each day, you will be tired. At 6:30 AM, everybody is up and preparing for breakfast which begins at 7:00 AM in the cafeteria.
Can I leave the campus during the week?
No. You must stay on campus during the entire week. Virginia Boys State takes place entirely on the campus of Radford University. If you leave campus, you are no longer able to participate in the program. We must have your complete attention throughout the week. The program boundaries will be fully explained at the beginning of the week. We ask for your full cooperation. If you drive a car, we will ask you for your keys when you arrive.
I’m 18 years old, am I allowed to smoke?
Even if you are of legal age to smoke, Virginia Boys State is a smoke-free program, and smoking will not be tolerated.
What is the political structure of Virginia Boys State?
Virginia Boys State is a pure democracy in that every citizen is allowed to vote and participate in the political process. Each citizen will be assigned a political party prior to coming to Boys State. Boys State employs the two party political system. The parties are called the Federalist Party and the Nationalist Party. Neither party is associated with any real life political party. Each year, citizens develop their own party platforms and their own style of governing.
What is a typical day like?
After reviewing the schedule, you will see that each day is packed with activity. Breakfast starts at 7:00 AM and Lights Out is at 10:30 PM or later. Schools of instruction typically take place in the morning, lunch is at noon, and city/county activities are in the early afternoon. Sporting activities are before the evening meal, and general assemblies featuring keynote speakers take place immediately after.
Do I have to participate in all the activities?
Boys State is what you make it. If you don’t involve yourself, you are missing out on a great opportunity. Every activity you involve yourself earns points for your city. At the end of the week, the city with the most points earns the title Best City. The more you are involved, the better your city’s chances of winning, and the more you will take away from the program.
Are there laundry facilities in the dorms?
Yes, there are washers and dryers in the dorms; time to do laundry will be limited though.
Are the dorm rooms air conditioned? Do I need a fan?
Yes, the dorm rooms are air conditioned. You may bring a personal fan if you would like.
How long does the program last?
Virginia Boys State lasts 7 days (Sunday to Saturday). Please consult the information packet sent with your acceptance. The Session concludes after the awards ceremony, usually around 10:30 AM on Saturday.
What scholarship opportunities are available?
You can learn more about scholarships here.
Can I receive mail while at Boys State?
RU Conference Services
c/o Boys State of Virginia
Post Office Box 6911
Radford, VA 24142
RU Conference Services
c/o Boys State of Virginia
501 Stockton Street
Radford, VA 24142
It’s important to come prepared! This list will help make sure your week at Virginia Boys State is a great one!
Things you’ve got to have:
- toothbrush and toothpaste
- comb or brush
- soap, shampoo, toiletries, towels and washcloths
- sheets, blanket, pillow and pillowcase (twin size)
- at least 2 pairs of navy blue walking shorts (no cut-offs or denim)
- 6 pairs of socks or more; athletic-style socks are best
- clothes and shoes for athletics
- sweater or light jacket (it can get chilly in Radford!)
- your medical form signed by legal guardian
Be sure to read the Uniform Requirements and pack accordingly.
Other things you might want:
- stationery to write home
- camera (especially if you want to be a media photographer)
- athletic/sports equipment (including flag football, soccer, volleyball, basketball, tennis and table tennis)
- band instrument (if you plan to be a member of Virginia Boys State band)
- tools and accessories for your talent (the talent show is Friday night)
- spending money ($50 will be plenty)
- a donation item — 2023 Donation Letter (updated 11/20/2022)
The following items are neither tolerated nor should they even be suspected within the vicinity of Boys State:
- non-prescription drugs
- weapons (including pocket knives)
- campaign materials
Boys State will provide:
- 2 Virginia Boys State t-shirts (extra shirts can be purchased for $8 each; keep in mind that you will wear the Boys State shirt every day)
- lodging and meals
- services of the on-site nurse
- accident and health insurance (for medical expenses not covered by the delegate’s insurance plan)
If you forget any items, our host has a campus store that is stocked with many items you might need. You will be informed of its hours during the week.