The Minnesota American Legion will host its 65th annual Minnesota Boys State program in Marshall at the Southwest Minnesota State University campus, which is the seventh year at this location.

The 2013 Minnesota Girls State will be simultaneously held at Bethel University in St. Paul. The Spring Grove Legion Post 249 Auxiliary members are continuing their tradition of sponsoring young women by sending Samantha (Sammi) Boyd to Girls State.

Boys Staters are Jack Benson, Caleb Happel and Jayme Lenning, sponsored by Legion Post 249. This year, all three boys are attending this event. They all are gone from June 9-15.

The American Legion Boys State and American Legion Auxiliary Girls State are the premier programs for teaching how government works while developing leadership skills and an appreciation for your rights as a citizen.

Participants in the program will run for office, learn public speaking, create and enforce laws and actively participate in all phases of creating and running a working government in this exciting and fun summer program.

They will also meet other students from across the state. The programs develop confidence and leadership skills that will shape students' futures.

Students from hundreds of high schools have been selected to attend by their local posts.

The program precisely mirrors Minnesota's unique caucus political process to narrow down citizens at a local level on up to electing state chairmen for each of two fictional political parties students are assigned to.

Citizens are assigned to mock cities and campaign for office, eventually electing their own mayors, legislature and constitutional officers. A governor is elected at the conclusion of the week.

Students also publish a daily newspaper, participate in athletic tournaments, and play in a band and choir programs.

"No other program out there teaches youth about their system of government like this one, we are the only program to teach students about Minnesota's unique political process," said Mike Bredeck, Legion Member and program Director.

Each year, several of Minnesota's elected and appointed leaders have been involved in Boys State. Some of this year's participants include: Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, Speaker of the Minnesota House Paul Thissen, House Minority Leader Rep. Kurt Daudt, State Senator Mary Kiffmeyer, MN Supreme Court Justice Paul Anderson, U.S. Attorney Hank Shea and other local government leaders and law enforcement from across Minnesota.