Outstanding Results

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The American Legion Junior Shooting Sports Program teaches youth rifle safety and procedure and lets children participate in an Olympic skill sport while fostering healthy competition. All interested youth under 18 years old (or high school seniors no older than 20) are welcome, regardless of gender or physical ability. Shooters are trained to use a .177 air rifle, and levels vary from beginners learning safety basics to winners of the Legion-affiliated National Championship, which consists of regional champs competing in a shoulder-to-shoulder match.

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American Legion Boys State is among the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for U.S. high school students. A participatory program in which students become part of the operation of local, county and state government, Boys State was founded in 1935 to counter the socialism-inspired Young Pioneer Camps. The program was the idea of two Illinois Legionnaires, Hayes Kennedy and Harold Card, who organized the first Boys State at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.

American Legion Auxiliary sponsors a separate but similar program for young women called Girls State.

At Boys State, participants learn the rights, privileges and responsibilities of franchised citizens. The training is objective and centers on the structure of city, county and state governments. Operated by students elected to various offices, Boys State activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law-enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, choruses and recreational programs.

Legion posts select high school juniors to attend the program. In most cases, individual expenses are paid by a sponsoring post, a local business or another community-based organization.

Boys State programs currently exist in all Legion departments in the United States except Hawaii. As separate corporations, Boys State programs vary in content and method of procedure, but each adheres to the same basic concept: teaching government from the township to the state level.

For more information:
Please review eligibility and dates to find a program and contact information in your state.

Boys Nation

Two representatives from each of the 49 Boys States represent their state at Boys Nation in Washington, where the young leaders receive an education on the structure and function of federal government.

The first Boys Nation – then called Boys Forum of National Government – convened at American University in Washington in August 1946. The 1946 American Legion National Convention adopted the event as an official youth activity. Three years later, it became American Legion Boys Nation.

At the event, each delegate acts as a senator from his Boys State. The young lawmakers caucus at the beginning of the session, then organize into committees and conduct hearings on bills submitted by program delegates.

Senators learn the proper method of handling bills, according to U.S. Senate rules. Participation in the political process is emphasized throughout the week, including organization of party conventions and nominating and electing a president and vice president.

The week of government training also includes lectures, forums and visits to federal agencies, national shrines, institutions, memorials and historical sites. On Capitol Hill, Boys Nation senators meet with elected officials from their home states.

Since Boys Nation began in 1946, a number of its graduates have been elected to public office, including presidents, congressmen, state governors and state legislators. Many others have been inspired to work for the campaigns of individuals seeking public office.

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The American Legion Legislative Agenda for the 117th Congress

The American Legion is the voice of nearly 2 million U.S. military veterans and service members. A resolution–based organization, The American Legion’s positions represent the views of its members, based on four pillars of service: Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation, National Security, Americanism, and Children & Youth.

Address Toxic Exposure & Burn Pits

A disturbingly high percentage of post-9/11 veterans have been exposed to airborne toxic hazards, often the result of personal proximity to burn pits for extended times during service. The American Legion has fought for service-connected disability benefits for conditions linked to toxic exposures for decades and will continue to do so for this generation. The American Legion urges Congress to reintroduce and pass the Toxic Exposure in the American Military (TEAM) Act of 2020 and supports further studies into conditions directly related to contaminants in order to establish a complete list of presumptive diseases caused by toxic exposure during service.
Resolution No. 118, 2016

Improve Health Care for Women Veterans

VA has an obligation to develop and expand health-care services for women, the fastest-growing demographic in the veteran community. A high percentage of women veterans who are not enrolled in VA health care say lack of gender-specific services and lack of awareness about VA benefits are primary reasons. The American Legion urges Congress to diligently oversee implementation of recently passed VA pilot programs, research initiatives, and policy revisions to address this. Additionally, The American Legion encourages expansion of newborn care and gender-specific services at VA .
Resolution No. 37, 2016

Telehealth/Rural Health

Accessibility is often a barrier for veterans and caregivers when pursuing health services from VA. They should have consistent, quality access to care, regardless of location or availability of broadband networks. To address this, The American Legion has worked with VA to introduce a pilot program that provides telehealth sites in American Legion posts to serve rural areas, known as Project ATLAS. The American Legion urges Congress to pass legislation that expands broadband capabilities and services for veterans in remote areas to better meet their needs.
Resolution No. 75, 2017

Address the Forever War

Nearly two decades after 9/11, U.S. troops continue to wage war in Iraq, Afghanistan and other corners of the world, under the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF). However, the global security environment the United States faces is no longer the same, with the rise of great-power competition and other threats. Too often, the use of military force, as opposed to diplomacy, is considered the primary instrument of national power. The American Legion urges the renewal of a proper constitutional balance to U.S. foreign policy decision-making by urging Congress to renew its war- making oversight role beginning with repealing or replacing the outdated post-9/11 AUMFs and by properly resourcing civilian tools of diplomacy.
Resolution No. 22, 2020

Citizenship for Honorable Service

Many veteran immigrants say they have been deported after discharge because they failed to acquire U.S. citizenship while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. The American Legion supports measures to ensure the process of naturalization through military service is completed prior to discharge, to include reinstitution of the USCIS Naturalization at Basic Training Initiative, training for military recruiters and commands about the naturalization process, and the reopening all USCIS field offices abroad to serve servicemembers stationed overseas.
Resolution No. 15, 2018

Pay the Coast Guard

U.S. Coast Guard personnel carry out daily missions vital to national security, but they serve in the only military branch forced to work without pay during government shutdowns, due to their status under the Department of Homeland Security. The repeated and all too common threat of government shutdowns brings severe hardship on Coast Guard men, women and families. The American Legion urges Congress to reintroduce and pass the Pay Our Coast Guard Parity Act, which would guarantee that Coast Guard personnel are paid without delay, even in the case of a government shutdown.
Resolution No. 23, 2016

Close the 90/10 Loophole

Proprietary schools offer students valuable education options, but some bad actors use a loophole in the 90-10 rule to evade a cap on federal financial aid by aggressively targeting veterans, service members, families and survivors for their education benefits. The American Legion is committed to ensuring that veterans and their families receive the highest quality of education when using the GI Bill and encourages legislation and federal action to provide higher quality and student outcomes for institutions approved for use of VA education benefits by adding Department of Defense and VA funds to the Title IV revenue sources calculation under the Higher Education Act.
Resolution No. 15, 2019

Military Awards for Minority Veterans

The American Legion urges Congress to pass legislation lifting statutes of limitations and other obstacles that may impede proper investigation and expand the review of minority veterans from all wars and conflicts whose military records and official descriptions of combat actions support consideration for the Medal of Honor and other military citations or medals.
Resolution No. 17, 2020

Peer Support

Studies show that peer support is mutually beneficial for people who are experiencing transitions, mental health concerns and for those who wish to give back to their communities. The American Legion has its own peer-support program known as the “Buddy Check” and urges Congress to pass legislation requiring VA to implement a similar program. The American Legion also encourages legislation to establish a peer-support program that would offer grants to place peer-support specialists in local posts of veterans service organizations.
Resolution No. 364, 2016

Protect the American Flag

The American Legion urges Congress to approve an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would allow Congress to prohibit the physical desecration of the U.S. flag. Additionally, The American Legion urges Congress to pass the Flag Code Modernization Act of 2021 to amend the U.S. Flag Code to codify multiple common patriotic customs and practices as described in The American Legion Resolution No. 19: Flag Code Amendment.
Resolution No. 19, 2016

Global War on Terrorism Memorial

The Global War on Terrorism is the longest war in U.S. history; more than 2.8 million American service members have been deployed abroad. After tens of thousands of casualties and thousands of deaths, it is only fitting that we honor the sacrifices of service members and their families with a Global War on Terrorism Memorial in a place of prominence at our nation’s capital. The American Legion believes this memorial belongs on the National Mall and urges Congress to pass the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Location Act.
Resolution No. 16, 2017

To download a PDF of the The American Legion Legislative Agenda for the 117th Congress brochure click here.



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