By TRICIA HILL
It has been said that when participating in Badger Boys State, it is an experience that in unlike anything else. It is a program that is designed to teach the workings of government “by doing.” According to the Badger Boys State website, it is a week-long journey through many things that make us who we are: leaders, friends, students, athletes—and most of all—citizens of our respective cities, towns, and our state.
Boscobel High School sends two boys who have just completed their junior year and are ranked in the top 20 percent of their class. Then they choose from the top 20 percent based off the students citizenship, activities, and service to the school. This year the school sent Ryan Latham and Ethan Lucas to Badger Boys State, held June 13-20 at Ripon College. This was a memorable year for Boscobel’s school district as Latham was named Senate President.
“This is really exciting because in my 17 years working for the school, we have never had anyone receive the president role,” high school counselor Rhonda Scallon said.
When arriving at the Badger Boys State program there are multiple elections held for city, county, and state levels. Latham ran for Senate and Lucas ran for County. They were required to start their own campaign by making fliers and giving speeches.
“It’s just like running for the Senate in real life, but on a much smaller scale,” Latham said.
Latham was elected into the Senate along with 26 other students. Out of those students, it was required to select one person for their Senate President spot and that was given to Latham. Then after that, the counselors picked out of the nine counties five people that they thought would best represent each county in terms of speaking and how they present their life story.
“So we did an interview process with the counselors, and I was picked out of my county,” Latham said. “So there were nine students that went through an interview process with the board of directors.”
Headed to D.C.
During that interview process, the counselors were looking to pick two students out of the nine and Latham was picked out of them. Due to this he earned himself an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C. He will get the opportunity to create his own legislation, do a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and then lastly they will get to meet President Barack Obama. Latham will leave for his trip on July 17 and he will be there for eight days.
“I am excited to meet the other people from the different states and listen to their perspectives, because it is really interesting just going to Boys State to see the things that people go through and they still have the ability to become successful,” Latham said.
While Latham was going through his days at Badger Boys State, he thought the most difficult part was when they would ask questions and they would be required to answer within a matter of seconds. Another thing that he had to overcome was giving a speech in a large group.
“In my public speaking class I had to give a speech in front of a few hundred kids,” Latham said. “I was supposed to write a report for it, but I didn’t even prepare one. But when I did prepare a speech it helped me to just practice giving the speech before hand.”
Lucas and Latham were both pretty impressed with the experience they had going into Badger Boys State. When they were told that they had the opportunity to participate, they both agreed but were not really excited about going. However, their outlook changed by the time their week-long journey was completed.
“I wasn’t thrilled about going but I did end up having fun,” Lucas said. “It takes about one day to really get into the swing of things. But once I did, I enjoyed getting to know new people and go through the process.”
Latham felt the same way as Lucas and thought he was just going to “enjoy the week and play it easy” as he put it.
However, as he made more friends, he decided he wanted to see how far he could go and that is exactly what he did as he earned the Senate President position.
Badger Boys State
The 2015 Badger Boys State marked the 74th session at Ripon College. Ripon College has been the site for Badger Boys State since 1941. Young men from every part of Wisconsin attend Badger Boys State for eight days, in which they will be grouped into cities and counties to form the “51st state.” During that time the young men will be the citizens of this “new state” and will carry out all the main functions of city, county, and state government using basic laws and fundamental procedures of the State of Wisconsin as their guide.
The young men will start by electing their own municipal, county and state officials. As alderman or county supervisors, they will frame , present and pass their own ordinances and laws, while their own police and sheriffs will enforce them. The attorneys would prosecute or defend and the judges would hear cases in their own courts.
When coming to Badger Boys State, the young men were not allowed to bring any printed or previously prepared campaign or election literature. They were provided with facilities and supplies for preparing promotional material once they arrived.
“I had a fun experience and I recommend to future students attending, to give it a chance and they will make friends and have fun as well,” Lucas said.