When Jeremy Price travels to Washington, D.C., this weekend, it won't be just for sightseeing.
Price, a rising senior at Westminster High School, was selected by Carroll American Legion Post 31 as one of two representatives from Maryland to take part in the the Legion's Boys Nation. The other is Miles Walker, a rising senior at Atholton High in Howard County. They will be among 98 youths from every state but Hawaii attending the national conference for the American Legion program.
The program provides a week of government training in Washington, D.C., that allows youth to take on the role of senator from their state and all the responsibilities with it, including being on committees and handling hearings on bills. The program also offers forums, speakers and sight-seeing opportunities.
For Price, the experience will be similar to his role in the American Legion's Boy States program that he participated in at McDaniel College with 194 boys from across the state. There, he was elected speaker and was responsible for keeping everyone on track and making sure debaters stuck to their time limits.
"It was a little intense," Price said. "People wanted to argue and I had to keep us on track. In a three-and-a-half-hour hour session, we got 22 bills passed.
"We got to joke we were much more productive than the actual Maryland legislature."
He credits that success to the counselors at Boys State — American Legion veterans who guided the youth during the event.
"It was run by veterans of all ages. A few guys who just left the service and others years ago," Price said. "It was a good mix."
The Boys State group also was expected to march everywhere — a new experience for many, Price said.
"Everyone was stumbling around, learning how to march," Price said, laughing. "There were all kinds of opportunities. It was an excellent program. Everyone who went got a lot out of it."
For Boys Nation, Price will do many of the same activities he did at Boys State, he said.
Price first became interested in government his freshman year at Westminster when he took an Advanced Placement U.S. government class. He became involved in the school's student council and enjoys being on the debate team. He was elected president of the student government association for this upcoming school year.
"Westminster High School has a lot of opportunities," Price said. "The teachers ... if they see you have an interest, they encourage you."
Price has a summer packed with programs. Last week, he took part in an internship with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation on the Eastern Shore. After Boys Nation, he travels to Lancaster, Pa., to take part in a Johns Hopkins program at Franklin and Marshall College. He will also go to Towson to become the second student member on the Maryland PTA board.
"My summer is really pretty jam packed," Price admitted. "It will slow down a little bit, especially with college applications coming up."
While he is interested in applying to the University of Maryland, Price is undecided about which school he will attend. He is interested in majoring in computers and is enjoying politics.
"I really appreciate the support ... of all the Legions, especially the post that sponsored me," Price said, of Carroll Post 31. "You learn your patriotic duty, about constitutions and what makes up government. They really do a great job."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun