The citizens of the 77th American Legion Mountaineer Boys State have been in Jackson's Mill since Sunday organizing what will be their new government for a week, including electing the officials who will serve the state over the next year. Some citizens came with an interest in government, but others came to learn how to take an active role in leading their community.
"I was completely naive and ignorant to the whole idea of government. I never paid attention to it, I never took any civics classes, so it was an opportunity to learn and to understand government," said newly-elected Boys State Governor Dante McCarroll.
But after Tuesday night's election, McCarroll has been learning fast, along with the other newly elected officials. Organizers waste no time in throwing the citizens into their duties.
"The house and the senate were in session first thing this morning, as well as all of the city and county government officials as well. They entered into a period of instruction this morning on how to carry out their duties and now the 51st state of the union is up here and running here at Mountaineer Boys' State," said Boys State's Chris Sharps.
Governor, House and Senate may be the more glamorous jobs, but there's also a place for officials in cities and counties in the state. Sharps said those roles are just as important, since that's the level of government most people interact with on a regular basis.
"We try to take into account the many government agencies that city and local governments need to interact with effectively to make sure that government is carried out properly and in the most expeditious and most efficient manner."
And all of the time spent at Boys State this year is leading to one central purpose for McCarroll.
"How to lead, so that's ultimately what I'm trying to get out of it is knowledge," McCarroll said.