American Legion Post 49 in Athens hosted a pizza party and orientation May 7 for local high school juniors selected to attend Boys and Girls State and their parents.

The programs are organized and operated by the American Legion Department of Alabama and the Alabama American Legion Auxiliary. They are conducted at the University of Alabama.

Boys State is set for May 27–June 2, while Girls State runs from June 10–15. This is the 80th year the Alabama American Legion has sponsored the Boys State program. It operates under the overall supervision of Judge O.L. Johnson of Birmingham.

“This year, we increased our delegates from 19 boys to 26 boys,” said Bob Borden, chairman of Post 49’s Boys State Committee. “There were several new partners who stepped forward this year to help us with scholarships for these young future leaders. We very much appreciate their support.”

Ruby McCartney, chairwoman of the Girl’s State Program, said 11 girls participated as delegates this year, three more than last year. She also expressed her satisfaction with this year’s delegates as “fine young ladies who show me a lot of future promise in what we believe they can accomplish.”

Past Adjutant Rod Huffman welcomed the delegates and parents and introduced the speakers, Adam Harm and Matthew Osborne. Huffman emphasized how fortunate the attendees were to hear both speakers as each of them are Boys State graduates from other states — Harm from South Carolina (1990) and Osborne from Ohio (1994).

Both Harm and Osborne, who are also veterans, live in Limestone County and contribute time to local youth organizations. Each of them emphasized the expectations for Boys State and Girls State graduates.

Among Harm’s and Osborne’s pursuits and public contributions are their positions as leaders of local Boy Scout Troop 236 and Cub Scout Pack 236, respectively. Huffman thanked the speakers for their comments that they had been “inspiring and instructive.”

The orientation was held to ensure all administrative requirements are understood by the delegates, they know what to expect at the University of Alabama and they know how to get the most out of this experience.

McCartney was assisted in briefing the Girls State delegates by Lauryn Cochran, a senior at Athens High School who attended Girls State in 2017. Assisting Senior Boys State Councilor Yancy Mitchell in briefing the Boy’s State delegates was Cooper Yancey of Tanner High School, a 2017 Alabama Boys State graduate.

Huffman thanked Mitchell, an Ardmore resident, for his 21 years of assisting Post 49 with this orientation and 29 years of dedication to Boys State activities.

— Information provided by Rod Huffman.