Mansfield senior attends Evergreen Boys State

By Adrienne Douke
Empire Press Correspondent

David MacDonald with the Certificiate of Completion he earned for attending Evergreen Boys State June 17-23 in Stanwood. (Empire Press photo/Adrienne Douke)

Mansfield School senior David MacDonald attended Evergreen Boys State June 17-23 at the Warm Beach Conference Center in Stanwood.

The American Legion summer program is an experience for high school boys, having just completed their junior year in high school, to learn about government and simulate its operations on local, county and statewide levels. The program also develops an understanding of American traditions and long-held American beliefs.

Participants had an opportunity to run for office, explore court proceedings, create and enforce laws, improve public speaking skills as well as hear a variety of guest speakers. There were also recreational activities including pizza parties, celebrations and chances to make new friends.

“We learned about different job descriptions of different government positions, like mayors and governors, public administration and communications,” MacDonald said.

The delegates listened to speakers who inspired and encouraged them to develop an interest in civic leadership and pride in young American citizenship.

Everyone attending was initially placed in group. “There were five groups, I was an Elm,” MacDonald said.

The young lawmakers held caucus at the beginning of the assembly, then they organized into committees.

“Ours was an agricultural-national resources committee, business and financial committee,” according to MacDonald.

As the week progressed, the delegates were encouraged to discuss and study the different levels of political structure.

MacDonald said he learned how bills were made and killed.

“A lot of bills get killed before they even get to the voting floor of the House or the Senate, because they have to go through committees that decide whether the bill will even reach the floor for a vote,” he said.

MacDonald and his group created a bill of their own.

“Our bill was to give farmers tax breaks if they donated part of their crop to food banks,” he said. “We tried to push it really hard, but they adjourned before it could be heard, and either passed or rejected.”

MacDonald emphasized that, “even if young people don’t like politics, they should still go and learn about how our system of government works. It was a great learning experience for me. It helped make me more aware of how amazing our form of government really is.”

The Boys State program provides inspiration for young men to pursue public service. It also shows them how to become involved in campaigns helping other individuals who are seeking public office.

At the conclusion of Boys State, MacDonald received a Certificate of Completion. He is considering career possibilities in political science, architectural design and business management. The exposure to the political processes at Boys State was a great starting point for him. It’s a week that can shape a lifetime.