Department of Florida

From the Chairman

George Wehrli
Boys State Chair

April 1, 2020

Dear Legionnaires, Delegates, Volunteers, Alumni and Friends:

It brings me great sorrow to notify you that because of the unprecedented public health emergency caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, Florida American Legion Boys State is officially canceling the session scheduled to take place in June 2020. This decision is made in recognition of the responsibility that the organization has to the health and safety of the delegates, the volunteer counselors and the public.

Prior to making this decision my leadership team and I met with our stakeholders and consulted the board of directors, including Commander Rick Johnson of the Florida American Legion. I would like to thank all the Legion posts that have worked hard to sponsor and select delegates for Boys State this year, and the Department of Florida for their support of the program.

I want to take a moment to address the young men that were selected by Legion posts to be delegates to Boys State this year. Despite this cancellation you may always state on resumes and applications that you were selected to be a delegate to the 2020 Florida American Legion Boys State. We will be reaching out to you to provide information about scholarship opportunities that will be available to you despite the cancellation of this year’s session.

I am heartbroken that you will not have the opportunity to participate in your Boys State, but I want to suggest to you that the leadership and character that Legionnaires and teachers saw in you are exactly the qualities needed in this time of crisis. Boys State was canceled once before, from 1942 to 1945 during World War II. Many young men who would have attended the program then were instead called to serve their country in places they never imagined they would be. Your country, your state, and your peers need your leadership now, likely in places you never imagined you would be. Look for those places to use your gifts.

At the close of the 76th Session of Florida American Legion Boys State I told the assembled delegates and parents that when a crisis comes, when the next challenge for our nation arises, that I wanted a Boys Stater there making key decisions and leading. I am grateful that in this emergency we have Boys State alumni working to protect their communities. In business, public health, politics, human services and education, all around the state and nation there are Florida Boys Staters working to limit suffering and death. May God bless them in their efforts; may God bless the State of Florida; and may God bless the United States of America.

For God and Country,

Forrest D. Boone
Director, Florida American Legion Boys State