Fargen: ‘It’s been a great experience’

Cooper Fargen with Wyoming Governor Mad Mead

Phillip Harnden phillip@glenrockind.com
"We march into meals and stand at attention until our whole city is prepared to sit together and eat,” - Cooper Fargen
Teaching young men how to be leaders in local and state government as well as the discipline and respect that comes from military service is important to the American Legion. 
That is what the American Legion Boys State is all about and one local teen was chosen to be part of this week-long adventure. Cooper Fargen is spending the week learning about state, county and local government operations.
Boys State consists of dividing the participants up into mock cities with council members, elections and mock council meetings. They must address problems just as a real-world council does, handling budgetary and citizen concerns.
There is also a mock state government where bills are proposed and voted on as they would be in Cheyenne.
All this is wrapped with military style discipline with PT sessions and formations for flag raising and meal times.
Wyoming Boys State participants spends a week at the Wyoming State Fairgrounds while they go through these growth exercises.
In addition to the real-life lessons, those completing the program are eligible for three college credit hours.
Since 1935 the American Legion has selected high school juniors to participate in the challenge. The program was started to counter the socialism-inspired Young Pioneer Camps of the era.
“We are divided into two parties, Pioneers and Frontiersmen, similar to the Democrats and Republican,” Fargen said. “We have representatives and draft bills the same as the state house.”
Fargen sits on city council for City Three and had to make decisions about whether to spend their coffers on repairing water pipes.
He is also campaigning to be a Boys State Senator.
“We march into meals and stand at attention until our whole city is prepared to sit together and eat,” Fargen said.
It isn’t all just discipline and politics; they do have plenty of rec time to play basketball and touch football in the grass.
 But when the rules are violated the discipline can be harsh, like having to sing “I’m a Little Teapot” in front of everyone.
“It’s been a great experience so far,” Fargen said on Tuesday with half the event under his belt.


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