Ashton, Kelly to attend Boys State
By Brooks Taylor, Mt. Pleasant News
Maison Ashton and Payton Kelly are good friends and there’s nothing better than spending time with a friend.
They will be hanging out a lot this summer when they represent Mt. Pleasant American Legion Post #58 at the Iowa American Legion Hawkeye Boys State June 11-16 at Camp Dodge in Johnston.
According to the American Legion of Iowa website, Iowa American Legion Hawkeye Boys State is a weeklong “hands-on” experience in the operation of the democratic form of government, the organization of political parties and the relationship of one to the other in shaping Iowa government.
Through the Boys State objective of learning by doing, young men will learn more about city, county and state government in one week than they would be in an entire semester of high school.
Ashton and Kelly were notified in late January that they had been selected as the Mt. Pleasant American Legion representatives.
Ashton said he was “surprised and pretty excited” when he learned he would be spending a week in June at Camp Dodge. Kelly said he felt “honored because a lot of students had applied” (for Boys State).
Both are juniors at Mt. Pleasant High School and share many of the same activities, playing basketball and soccer. Ashton also will play football again next year after taking a year off this past season.
Boys State, according to the American Legion website, is an exercise in leading as well as following others. Elections are an opportunity to show the ability to perform under pressure and to show character in the face of victories and/or defeats. Boys State will test skill in solving problems and working effectively within a team.
Kelly already has a leg up on many other Boys State delegates. His older brother, Aaron, attended in 2012 and was elected a lieutenant governor. Elected officials also receive college scholarships.
“My brother said it was very interesting,” Kelly stated.
Kelly said he was looking forward to “the experience of meeting a bunch of kids and learning more about government and how things work.” And Kelly will have many opportunities to mee a bunch of kids as over 500 delegates attend Boys State.
Ashton remarked that he was “looking forward to learning how to work with new people.”
“It makes it easier when you go with a friend,” Ashton said. “You can hang out and talk things over.”
Neither delegate has taken government classes yet, as Mt. Pleasant High School students take government courses as seniors.
Boys State, the Legion website says, is an opportunity to gain pride and respect for our form of government and the price paid by people to preserve democracy.
The week’s activities includes ceremonies and assemblies, as well as marching and pageantry. Some of the past guest speakers have been the past national commander of the American Legion; Bernie Saggau, former director of the Iowa High School Athletic Association; along with Iowa government leaders.
Ashton and Kelly both said they had a strong desire to attend Boys State. As for rooming together, they said that would be a plus. “We would like to room together,” Kelly said.
“We could (room together) but there is a good chance we probably won’t,” added Ashton.
Ashton, the son of Hollie and Ronnie Ashton, plans to attend Iowa State University following high school and major in civil engineering.
Kelly, son of Mark and Jana Crull, and Grant and Kimberly Kelly, said he plans to attend college but has not decided on a particular college. He is undecided regarding his plans after college.
A chili and salad supper is planned by the Mt. Pleasant American Legion Post #58 for Saturday, Feb. 18, from 5:30-8 p.m., at the Mt. Pleasant Veterans Hall to help defray the expenses of sending the delegates to Boys State. The event is open to the public and a free-will donation will be taken.