"The best program we have that a lot of Legionnaires don't know about"
The above quote was from Ken Kramlich, the Department of California Commander to the counselors at Boys State here in rainy Sacramento. And he's right I think. There are probably a lot of Legionnaires who don't know much about the program, or how they can help. And it is a shame, because it really is awesome, and the kids love it. As will be obvious if you watch this video:
I've done the Virginia Boys State as a counselor for 8 or 9 years now, and enjoy it every year. This is my first time doing California, and it's been somewhat of a growing experience as I learn the differences which could be summed up merely by pointing out it is California and not Virginia. Which is not to say either is better, they are simply very different.
In hindsight, back-to-back Boys States was a bad idea. It reminded me once again that I am just north of 40, and can't do what I could do in my 20's and 30's, which is to say exist on little sleep and college food. At this point I am at the "one foot in front of another" stage. I'll make it, but man am I exhausted.
California is significantly less military oriented than Virginia. Virginia is very regimented, and focuses on teaching kids about their state government from the smallest unit (the City) on up to the highest levels of state government. California replicates the same thing, but it is far more "hands on" and less instructional. I was pretty scared when I was told I would be a Senior City Counselor out here because I don't know that much about California Laws and government structure. But, being a counselor here is significantly easier because you pretty much have the kids do everything. It can be somewhat chaotic, even under good circumstances. The city ordinances they are passing are basically what you would expect of a Government run by 17 year olds.
I often hear jokes about people on the "left coast" kind of doing their own thing when they want to. Well, from what I have seen, it is a well-deserved reputation. It's like herding cats. I know everytime I sweep through the rooms I'll find a kid sleeping, reading a book or just hiding from me when they know they have to be somewhere else. When I tell the Virginia kids I will hold out meeting at 8:15, they show up at 8:10. In California, 8:15 could mean roughly anytime within the hour. For an infantryman, it drives me nuts, but the kids just sort of laugh at me, apologize, and go back to missing time lines.
But the kids are undeniably clever and learning a lot. Some of the speeches I have heard are VERY good. There are certainly some kids here who come from military families as well. In fact a few minutes ago I heard one threaten another kid that if he "wakes up the bearded counselor he will make life hell on us, and I want some sleep time tomorrow morning." [Well said Sheriff, your counselor is far nicer when he has a full nights rest.]
Anyway, I will have more later, but owed you an excuse for my lack of posting. Next week I am off on the third week of travel, this time to the battlefield of Gettysburg where I will be a Cavalry soldier in a Virginia unit. Should be great fun, and I hope to post some pictures from out there.
And now, I will rest, and hope my Supreme Court citizen was selected as the Chief Justice, and that my nominee for California Treasurer got elected.
So far though, as tired as I am, and as much hair as I am ripping out of my head over time issues, the kids are great. We truly do have the best and the brightest in Boys States across the country, and if you want to help with your states program by volunteering of donating, you should contact them.
The full listing of Boys State programs websites can be found AT THIS LINK BY CLICKING HERE.