26 May 2020

District 10 Department of Texas

Still Serving America

American Legion Texas Boys State 2020

Though the challenges of COVID-19 will keep us from being together at UT Austin, we are pleased to announce this year’s American Legion Texas Boys State program will be conducted virtually!  To confirm, each of you is fully registered and your attendance is paid for; therefore, you have been approved to attend by your local American Legion representative.

Read on for significant details associated with this year’s program.

The 2020 program will have an exceptional cohort of young men from across our great State. This year’s program fully maintains the highest level of rigor and meaning in accordance with our American Legion values and Texas Boys State charter, as if it were taking place in person at the UT Austin campus.  Leveraging powerful technology, this innovative, virtual program will be a hearty, engaged, get-your-hands-dirty, “learn-by-doing,” top-notch experience that will be cherished by all attendees.

What We Need From You

  1. By 5 PM, Friday, May 22nd — please let us know if your circumstances have changed and your Delegate can no longer attend. If you still plan on attending, you do not need to send a note.  See below for more information.
  2. By 5 PM, Friday, May 22nd — please complete the online pre-program survey.  See below for more information.
  3. By 5 PM, Friday, May 22nd — complete survey (if you wish to be part of the band).  See below for more information.
  4. By 5 PM, Friday, May 29th — complete Talent Show tryout requirement if you wish to share your talents.  See below for more information..
  5. 7:00 – 8:30 PM on Wednesday, June 3rd is our system connectivity test.  See below for more information, and we will send more about “To Dos” as they day gets closer.

Table of Contents

As you make final preparations to join us virtually, we wanted to share important information with you, including:

  • Schedule of Events for the program
  • Technological Requirements and Attendee Conduct
  • Texas Boys State Uniform Expectation
  • Cancellation of attendance (if circumstances dictate)
  • Some testimonials from previous delegates
  • A reminder to fill out the pre-program survey 
  • A quick survey for those planning to be in the Boys State Band
  • Talent Show Virtual Tryouts
  • Contacts for any last minute questions you may have

First, we are excited about this year’s innovative program and having this group of delegates join our distinguished alumni upon completion of Texas Boys State!  We have excellent speakers planned as well as a wonderful time of “Learning by Doing”…..we are sure Texas Boys State will be a very unique and meaningful experience at it has been for 80 years!

Schedule of events for the program (times and actions are subject to change as the schedule finalizes)

The actual events associated with the program will take place between Saturday, June 6 and Friday, June 12.  In addition, there will be a “setup” time to test technology in advance of the program.

Note: Exact times and final schedule will be e-mailed and provided via the website (a primary source of information for you) as the program comes closer to commencing.

DateTimes for meetingsActions to be completed during meetings
Approximately two weeks prior to program beginningNot ApplicableStatesmen will receive an information packet (2 Texas Boys State T-Shirts, Lanyard, Name tag, their Manual) at their home address via a mailed package.
Wednesday, June 37:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (come and go testing to ensure technical connectivity)Test the access to the technology portals (like Freshman Orientation at a High School does with their computers) to ensure connectivity….details will be forthcoming via e-mail at the end of May on how to join this test event.
   
Saturday, June 6Afternoon and early evening (2 sessions at 2 hours each); exact meeting times will be announced as we get closer to the program.City Orientation; begin Servant Leadership curriculum process; hear from Legionnaire John Brieden on Flag etiquette and Texas Pride as well as from the Director and Chairman; review weekly schedule with all Statesmen; sign Boys State pledge.
Sunday, June 7Afternoon and early evening (4 different sessions lasting 60 minutes each); exact meeting times will be announced as we get closer to the program.Setup Political Party process; begin seeking office via solicitation of signatures; set-up of Party Politics; hear Keynote speaker Major General (Ret.) Tony Cucolo.
Monday, June 8 through Thursday, June 11We will be meeting between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. each day with breaks midmorning, for lunch, midafternoon, and for dinner…meeting times each day will total between 8-10 hours; exact meeting times will be announced as we get closer to the program.Begin speeches for office; debate party platforms; participate in House and Senate hearings; meet Visiting Dignitaries; hear keynote speakers including General (Ret.) Hagee, Department of Texas Commander, and several Texas governmental office holders, such as State Representative Kevin Ellzey.
Friday, June 12Morning hours; exact meeting times will be announced as we get closer to the program.Conduct virtual College Fair; conduct graduation ceremony with final keynote speaker Bluebell Creameries President and Texas Boys State alumnus Mr. Ricky Dixon.

Statesmen are expected to attend the entire program and will not receive a certificate of completion without doing so.

Technical Requirements and Attendee Conduct

Because we are a Virtual program, here are key items to note related to technology access: 

  • Each Statesman will need access to an internet connection and a device (computer, tablet, or smartphone). Currently all Texas schools are operating virtually/on-line, and reports are that most schools are going to permit students to keep their devices over the summer. Log-in and other such details, including which virtual tools will be used (e.g., Zoom, Google Classroom, and the like) , will be provided as the program nears.
  • We know there will be some circumstances where it may be difficult to obtain computers/tablets for some Statesmen. We believe many Posts might be able to be creative in procuring technology tools to assist, but please let us know if there are issues as we may have some flexibility to provide equipment in some cases.  After coordinating with your Legion post first, please contact us at contactus@texasboysstate.com if help is needed.
  • In addition, we ask you to choose a spot in your home / work area where you can have an appropriate background for your video image…..while we do not require any special arrangements (e.g., a kitchen table work area is more than fine), we do ask that the background not contain images that would be deemed inappropriate or in poor taste be shown.  As a general guideline, we suggest using a quiet spot in the home with a blank wall or other limited items shown in the background of the video image so that the background is not distracting to others (for example, try to not have bedroom furniture if choosing to setup the workspace in a bedroom).
  • Note that all messages, backgrounds, and sessions will be recorded.  Participants are expected to behave professionally, and you will be contacted in the instance of inappropriate language, conduct, or any other disruption. Inappropriate conduct of any kind, including but not limited to sexual references, swearing, etc. may result in immediate dismissal from our program.  For an example of how poor judgment in this area can impact your future, see the case of a group message between several Harvard students whose admission was rescinded for racist and sexist comments.


Texas Boys State Uniform
As noted above, you will be receiving two (2) Texas Boys State T-Shirts in your forthcoming packet.  These should be worn at all times that the program is underway and you are on video/audio during the week.  This is intended to help us bond together by having the same shirt appearance in all activities.


Cancellation of your attendance (if circumstances dictate) to be completed by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 22

On a note of importance of attendance, please let us know now if the delegate’s ability to attend this year has changed and he can no longer attend.  Please contact us via contactus@texasboysstate.com as applicable.

Testimonials from previous delegates

We asked a few of our alumni to share their thoughts and experiences – a few of those are shown here:

On life lessons learned:

“Through Boys State, I took my first steps to becoming a man.  I learned that standing for what you believe in is your responsibility and not doing so is failure.  I learned that opportunity is a small window that will close if you don’t take advantage of it.  But if you do it opens up into incredible possibilities.  I learned that if you really want something, you just have to go and get it, before somebody else does.”

 On joining the Boys State Alumni network:

“Boys State ranks among the top programs I have been privileged to be a part of. I’m reminded constantly about the unique bond I share with the select few. For example, over spring break, I wore a Boys State t-shirt while on a mission trip in Johannesburg, South Africa.  During this trip, I was stopped in the Johannesburg airport by a man who attended Boys State over 50 years ago. During the same trip, a mother in the Baltimore-Washington International Airport stopped to tell me her son went to Boys State 10 years ago.  These encounters took place because I was wearing a Boys State t-shirt.”

 On humility and grace:

“During my experience at Boys State, I had the opportunity to seek and hold some of the ‘coolest’ positions: state party delegate, party whip and even Governor candidate. Though I lost in the general election for governor, I learned a very important and valuable lesson, reflected in one of my favorite quotes – ‘There is no progress without failure, and each failure is a lesson learned’ – Fred McClure”

Pre-Program Survey to be completed by 5:00 p.m., May 22
Please make sure to fill out the Texas Boys State 2020 Pre-program Survey if you have not already done so.  This helps us get a better understanding of the knowledge you currently possess, measure what you are about to learn, and improve the program for future years.  Responses are 100% anonymous and will in NO WAY affect your standing within the program.  To access the survey, click on this link: https://surveyors.wufoo.com/forms/texas-boys-state-preprogram-survey/.


Information for those planning to join the Boys State Band to be completed by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 22

The Boys State Band is a wonderful part of our program.  Led by Justin Smith, Director of Bands at a High School in the Austin area, we plan to make a “virtual band experience” a reality this year.  As we prepare, please have your instrument, foldable/lightweight music stand, and a comfortable, quiet area readily available…. Justin will be in touch with you in late May to help set expectations for how the band will be practicing virtually and creating exceptional music.  If you have not done so already, and plan to possibly be in the band, please click on this link to take a survey that will help Justin plan for our week together: https://surveyors.wufoo.com/forms/texas-boys-state-band-survey/.

Talent Show Virtual Tryouts – make known desire to tryout by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 29

This year’s talent show and tryouts will be done virtually. If selected, videos of your talent will be shown via broadcast during our larger sessions and voted upon by 3 judges. The winning talent will be announced at our closing ceremonies.

Your talent may be playing an instrument, performing a song vocally, or providing basketball dunk highlights. We do not specify what the talent must be, except that it upholds the values of our program and represents your best effort at your talent.  To be considered, note the following requirement — your video must be in horizontally shot on a device in a MP4 format. If the video is low quality or is in a format that will not play immediately when opening from email, your talent will not be considered in judging. 

Please submit your talent show entry via this Google Form here no later than Friday, May 29. You should also send a follow up email to contactus@texasboysstate.com with the subject line ‘Boys State 2020 Talent Show Entry’. You will receive a confirmation email by June 1 with a link to a folder to upload your video. If you do not receive a confirmation email with a link to the drive, please reply to the original message to ensure we’ve seen it. 

Contact us for last minute questions

Please visit the Texas Boys State website at www.texasboysstate.com.  If the website does not have the answers you need, please contact us at contactus@texasboysstate.com

Thanks for your attention and we look forward to the best Boys State EVER! 

Regards,

Your American Legion Texas Boys State Counselors

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