The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

Tyler Schwarzbach learns "Lessons on Civic Duty"


June 13, 2018

Tyler Schwarzbach participated in an incredible opportunity that will affect his involvement in civic responsibility for the rest of his life. American Legion selected Big Sandy high school junior Tyler Schwarzbach to attend this year Montana American Legion Boys State. More than 100 high school students took part. 49 states in the US currently operate Boys State programs, and about 20,000 students take part each year across the nation. American Legion Boys State was organized in 1935 and remains a respected and educational program about how government works for high school students. It is a participatory program where each participant becomes part of mock cities, mock county and state government during Boys State. Those who attend Boys State are exposes to the rights, the privileges, the duties and the responsibilities of citizens of Montana. Attendees participate over a six-day period every aspect of government including the three branches of state government; Executive Branch/Governor and Lt. Governor, Legislation/ House and Senate, Judicial functions law and court programs. Tyler ran for and won a position on the Public Service Commission. The serious issues they tackled were gun control and marijuana. And although there were two parties they were made up parties as not to get weighted down in current issues involved in the current Republican or Democratic parties. There were lots of for fun issues as well and are educational assemblies, bands and chorus as well as recreational programs

According to KRTV. Bullock, who attended Boys State and Boys Nation in 1983, addressed the delegates during their visit to the Montana State Capitol. He said the skills and the relationships they develop during Boys State will prove valuable for years to come.

"There's something about a program that selects people based on their leadership potential," he said. "Decades down the road, I have no doubt that you'll see some of the folks you met while you were here."

Bullock encouraged the students to find public issues they feel passionate about and get involved with them.

"Decisions are being made every day that impact 17- or 18- or 20-year-olds," he said. "At some point, you'll have to think 'Can I just let those decisions be made, or do I have some interest or obligation?'"

The American Legion has been sponsoring Boys State programs for more than 80 years. We will never know the total impact it has made, but we know a number of Montana leaders participated in Montana Boys state program, including Gov. Steve Bullock, U.S. Sen. Steve Daines and former U.S. Rep. and current U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. We can look forward to Tyler's contribution to our society as he continues to learn his value to our state as he believes that he would run for a political position if he ever thought the issue was serious enough and that he could make a difference.


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