By Ed Pierce
Boys State and Girls State is a long running civics program in Maine designed for high school students and once again this year the program is being sponsored locally by American Legion Post 148 in Windham. Applications are now being accepted for students to attend the 2023 DIRIGO State program to be held in June at Colby College in Waterville.
Delegates to DIRIGO State are immersed in political experiences aligned to the local, county and state’s political processes. The delegates to state run for political office and assume roles in advocating for legislative bills.
It is a comprehensive, experiential learning, youth leadership program modeled on the Maine State government, where all students come together to create their own town, county, and state governing bodies. The week-long program is intended to give students a well-rounded look at the political system in general and to foster and develop outstanding and informed citizens and leaders for the future of the nation.
The American Legion has redesigned and strengthened the program into a unique, and a first for the American Legion National Family, a combined youth government leadership program. The Maine American Legion believes that the union of Boys and Girls State will offer a better experience for all students and a more realistic simulation of Maine State government.
DIRIGO State, the merged National Boys State and Girls State programs, is among the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for U.S. high school students.
Delegates learn the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of franchised citizens. The training is objective and centers on the structure of city, county, and state governments and is operated by students elected to various offices, activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law-enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, and recreational programs.
The DIRIGO State program is open to all high school juniors and in Windham, the American Legion Field-Allen Post 148 is looking for junior candidates from local public and private school or home-schooled students to participate. All individual expenses are paid by the American Legion Field-Allen 148 Post, as well as any local business, parents, the school, or another community-based organization that may like to sponsor participants.
The Windham American Legion Field-Allen Post will host an information session for interested juniors at Windham High School at 7:30 p.m. April 3 at the WHS Guidance Office.
Past DIRIGO State attendees will also be invited to the meeting to assist in answering questions.
For more information about the DIRIGO State program or application process, call American Legion Auxiliary President Pam Whynot at 207-892 4720 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Post 148 Commander Tom Theriault at 207-405 8218 or by email at email@example.com.
2023 DIRIGO State applications and further information can be downloaded and printed at: https://mainelegion.org/pages/programs/dirigo-state.php <