By Bella Heilner
Nathan Blaker and Alex Decker were both sponsored by the Morenci American Legion for the one-week program that helps students develop leadership skills and gain a better understanding of politics. Students take part in creating and managing their own government.
At Boys State, each individual is elected or appointed to a position in the newly developing government. The participants are divided into different cities. Nathan was elected the deputy in his designated city of Monroe.
"I was appointed by the mayor to be a public defender,“ Alex said. “Jefferson City was the worst city in all of Boys State. We had the most debt and highest homeless rate. But as a group we had a lot of fun."
Both boys left with more likes than dislikes.
"You got to see different people's perspectives when they ran for office and I like that I got to see that,” Nathan said. “It showed me a different side of things. The food was killer, their café was amazing. The one thing that irked me was seeing how corrupt people make things. After two days we already had a government built on lies."
They both learned many things from their experiences at Boys State.
"I think I've learned to enjoy politics a little more,” Alex said, “because I used to listen to social issues and not really care."
"One of the main things I learned there was that politics is probably not the best job for me,” Nathan said. “But I got to see the other side of it and how much politicians have to do to get anything passed through the system."
Both were glad they had the opportunity to be part of the program and would recommend it to others.