Arkansas Boys State goes virtual this summer

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,326 views 

Arkansas Boys State, the civic engagement and leadership program, began its 80th session in virtual fashion this year.

The program started Sunday, May 30 and runs through Friday, June 4.

Notable alumni include former President Bill Clinton, former Gov. Mike Huckabee, and Sen. Tom Cotton.

The 2021 program, which is sponsored by the Arkansas American Legion, is operating virtually due to COVID-19, which prompted the cancelation of the 2020 program. While the program typically serves students entering their senior year of high school, current graduating seniors who were eligible to attend the canceled 2020 program were also invited to attend this summer’s session.

“One session of Arkansas Boys State was one too many for us to miss, and taking our 2021 program virtual ensures our students don’t miss a chance at this life-changing experience,” said Dr. Lloyd Jackson, executive director of Arkansas Boys State.

The virtual program includes the usual slate of Arkansas Boys State activities: administering a mock government from the ground up, engaging with peers on social and political issues, and hearing from prominent keynote speakers. This year’s speaker lineup includes the Arkansas congressional delegation, Lt. General Martin Steele, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and other state leaders.

In addition, Arkansas PBS and Arkansas Boys State have partnered to livestream presentations, speeches and elections from the program on the Arkansas Citizens Access Network (AR-CAN), myarpbs.org/arcan.

“The staff has essentially reinvented the wheel to build an engaging, dynamic virtual leadership experience that promises the value our program has promoted for 80 years,” said Jackson. “We’re confident these students will experience that value, and we look forward to seeing their creativity, passion, and drive take hold this week.”

More than 400 students and 50 volunteer staff are participating in the program’s 80th session this week. For more information, visit www.arboysstate.org.

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