Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell spoke before an eager crowd at Friday’s American Legion Boys State assembly in Liberty University's Vines Center.
McDonnell told the 739 rising high school seniors that they are the future of this country and their involvement in its government is vital to its success.
“For government to work … you must have citizens that are educated, that care, and that get involved,” he said. “You all represent some of the greatest hope for Virginia.”
He shared with them a moral he learned in Boy Scouts, “leave your campground better than you found it,” which he said is applicable to how we view government in America.
“You all will have a chance to really fashion and shape your community, your state, and your nation, but it won’t happen by accident; if you just sit on the sidelines, the country won’t be as good. If you learn and get involved … and go forward and do positive things, the country will be a brighter place in the future.”
After his speech, McDonnell held a Q-and-A for the students. He was then presented with a Boys State shirt, which he promptly put on as he made his way out, making a point to shake hands and interact with students.
This marked McDonnell’s seventh visit to Boys State, which Liberty has hosted for over 10 years. The participants stay in the dorms, eat at Reber-Thomas Dining Hall, and utilize classrooms and recreational facilities.
Boys State is one of about 40 camps that will take place on campus from June to August. Liberty is proud to offer its world-class facilities to the community and various organizations throughout the year.
Boys State is a weeklong program in which exceptional high school students learn about government, hold mock elections, and hear from several prominent speakers. The American Legion sponsors the event, which is held in 49 states, to teach young men to be responsible citizens and train them to be involved in government. A similar event, Girls State, is sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary.