American Legion Post 1244 of Greenlawn will receive $5,000 in state funding to support the post’s Boys and Girls State program.
State Sen. Jim Gaughran, who announced the funding, said, “The American Legion Greenlawn Post 1244 is committed to ensuring students are exposed to how government is supposed to function. These are critical teachings which allow students real exposure to the fundamentals of government and encourage young adults to be active, engaged citizens. I am proud to provide funding to allow them to expand this great program and thank the Greenlawn American Legion for their unwavering commitment to creating meaningful opportunities for our youth.”
The program gives high school students experience in government and how it is supposed to function. Students participate in creating a model state that they set up through a non-partisan perspective to mirror the structure of the New York State government. This program exposes students to the rights, privileges, duties, and responsibilities of a citizen. The training is objective and practical with local city, county, and state governments created by students who are elected and appointed to various offices.
This funding will allow 11 Long Island high school students to attend the program.
The Post said that in the past, it had sent 73 students to the program, from Harborfields, Walt Whitman, Huntington, Half Hollow Hills East and West, Commack, St Anthony’s and Chaminade High Schools.
It is the first year Greenlawn is receiving money from the State Senate for the program.
Charlie Armstrong of the Greenlawn Post 1244 said, “When we saw the positive effect this program had on the students we sent, it became our goal to give as many more young people as possible the opportunity to have this experience. After all, they are the future of our country.”
Damian O’Malley, a 2019 program participant, said “My time at Boys State was by far one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. During the week, I met so many people who I would have never gotten the chance to meet, had it not been for this experience. I also got to step out of my comfort zone, when I stood in front of everyone in my county and ran for county judge. “During this time at Boy’s State I learned how our form of government is run and about leadership. Not only that I learned about team work as well and how much easier it is to do things with a team rather then with one person during the trip. I participated in county caucuses, city caucuses, and party caucuses, which caused me to speak out for which position I wanted. Every day we had assemblies with fantastic speakers who were willing to tell us about themselves and even their jobs.”
This summer American Legion Greenlawn Post 1244 was able to send 22 students from across seven high schools to participate in the program, with a goal for next summer to increase the students they send. The program has existed since the 1930s, with Greenlawn participating since 2009.