JACKSON’S MILL, W.Va. – The 83rd annual American Legion Mountaineer Boys State wrapped up at WVU Jackson’s Mill on Saturday morning.

The morning’s commencement ceremony awarded several awards, as well as invitations for two boys to go to Boys Nation to represent West Virginia.

The class of just under 200 learned how to become “Men of Tomorrow,” as the program’s song suggests.

This was the first camp to be held since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the camp is usually near 400 participants, camp organizers said they were pleased with this year’s cohort of boys.

Boys from the 83rd annual American Legion Mountaineer Boys State file into the multipurpose arena for the commencement ceremony. (WBOY Image)

The week-long camp teaches high school juniors and a few select seniors from across the mountain state how government works in a hands-on environment, which creates the “51st state” in the United States.

Citizens must get a job via interview, manage their money and elect their fellow citizens to government positions, such as governor, senator and board of education.

12 News’s Harley Benda coordinated the broadcast journalism program for the camp, helping teach nine boys about how to be a TV reporter and the ethics of journalism.