JACKSON’S MILL, W.Va. – For the entire week, almost 350 high school senior boys will be living at Jackson’s Mill in Lewis County, creating their own version of West Virginia’s government at the American Legion Mountaineer Boys State. The 82nd annual event aims to teach students good government by letting them do the jobs themselves. Camp Administrator Randall Kocsis said there’s nothing else like it.
“I believe this is the only opportunity that young people, primarily high school students, get to receive training on how state county and city government actually works,” said Kocsis.
Throughout the week, students will hear from and learn from state and federal officials around the state, including Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who visited for lunch on Monday. He said he aims to share information with the students, but to learn from them too.
“These guys do represent the future of our state, and I think we have an incredible future when you see the talents that gets together here at Boys State. So I’ve been pleased every year, it’s one of the highlights for the year for me, because it a way to send a message that there’s going to be a bright future in our state,” said Morrisey.
Some former Boys State citizens like Kyle Garrett return each year as counselor, and they say the lessons they learn while at the Mill are often things that can transfer into real life and the real government.
“So they can go and make a change in their communities. Those changes can affect what happens here, so this gives them a great practice as to what they can do in real life,” said Garrett.