Oklahoma Boys State will mark its 70th anniversary next week when it convenes in Miami.
The event, sponsored by the Oklahoma American Legion, begins a seven-day run Saturday at Northeastern A&M College.
"It’s a great experience for the boys," said Oklahoma Legion adjunct David Kellerman.
High school juniors are selected to attend the program by local Legion posts.
Approximately 640 delegates will check in from 3:30 to 5:45 p.m. Saturday.
A variety of activities will be held each day, including the election of city, county and state officials.
Kellerman said the anniversary of Boys State will be marked during Monday night’s assembly.
Lt. Gov. Jari Askins will be the keynote speaker at Saturday night’s first main assembly. Marian Opala, former chief justice and currently an associate justice on the Oklahoma Supreme Court, will speak on Wednesday.
Delegates can receive college credit for attending class and government practicum sessions.
Delegates from Ottawa County include Drew W. Benne, Eric Duesler, J. Evan Fenska, Brock Fletcher, Caleb Aaron Heatherly, Mark Alan Hickey Jr., Alex Jurgensmeyer, Robert G. Lake Jr., Jesse McNeely and Jeff Meeks, all of Miami; Dusty Redden, Quapaw; Jamie Blaylock and Braxton Reece, both of Fairland, and Zaine Gibson, Nathan Josiah Roberts and Stephen Turley, all of Commerce.
Delegates from Grove include Nathan Webb, Mitch Hauser, Jesse Carper, Josh Harjo, Riley Behm, Adam Hardesty, Tyler Linn, Caleb Cook, Deangelo Reyes and Carter Londagin.
Boys State was launched in 1935 to counter the Fascist-inspired Young Pioneer Camps. The program was the idea of two Illinois Legionaires — Hayes Kennedy and Harold Card — who organized the first Boys State at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill.
Participants are exposed to the rights and privileges, the duties and the responsibilities of a franchised citizen. The training is objective and practical with city, county and state governments operated by the students, elected to the various offices.
Delegates are randomly assigned to a political party (Boomer or Sooner) and to a legislature (representative or senator).
Activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, chorus and recreational programs.
Girls State, sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary, runs at the same time at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.