Boys State signs BGSU deal
Written by JORDAN CRAVENS Sentinel Staff Writer
Saturday, 09 June 2012 07:25
Buckeye Boys State has inked a five-year contract with Bowling Green State University to host the mock government organization on campus through 2016.
"This keeps us here at BGSU through 2016 which is our 40th year on campus," said Buckeye Boys State Director Jerry White.
"It has been a long, challenging road to get to the contract," White said.
But, White said, organizers are pleased to have a future at BGSU for years to come.
"We feel we have reached a fair pricing structure that will allow us not to go to our (American Legion) posts ... for an enrollment fee increase for a few more years," White said.
White did not disclose the specifics of the contract, but said the contract was agreeable to both parties.
"BGSU is extremely proud of our long history with Buckeye Boys State," said Sarah Waters, director of residence life. "The program is celebrating its 76th anniversary and 35 of those years have been spent right here. This year, we're excited that the Boys State delegates will be able to experience our brand new facilities like Falcon Heights and the Stroh Center. We look forward to the next five years."
Prior to the multi-year contract, BGSU and BBS had been working together on a year-to-year-basis.
"It's been good for us. We had been going for about five years without signing the contract," said Darell Bishop, president of Buckeye Boys State.
"What the problem was is they changed personnel and someone would have to look at it (the contract) and then somebody else would come in and have to look at it," Bishop said.
White said per the agreement, BBS will utilize the new Stroh Center this year as opposed to the outdated Anderson Arena. This will require BBS to pay more.
That left organizers with two choices: increase revenues by increasing enrollment fees or cut costs.
They chose to cut costs by decreasing the event from nine days to eight.
"It squashes everything together and takes out one working day," Bishop said. "But we get everything in we really need to and what we stress at Boys State."
This year, enrollment is up.
Organizers are expecting more than 1,200 delegates, from 500 high schools across the state, to attend. That's up from about 1,100 last year, Bishop said.
Organizers point to the shortened schedule as a possible reason for the increase. Usually Saturday is included in the schedule, but that day has been cut out. That Saturday was usually when students took the ACT.
Boys State begins Sunday at BGSU and runs through June 17.
This is the 76th year of BBS and its 35th year on the BGSU campus.
Delegates will be busy running for various offices, participating in rallies, learning about the inner-workings of government, attending meetings, creating legislation, taking field trips to city and county offices, among other activities.
There are also several evening programs planned for the delegates including: a speech from State Rep. Randy Gardner; Tom Ryan, head wrestling coach at Ohio State University; Associate Supreme Court Justice Robert Cupp; an Ohio State Highway Patrol memorial service; and a flag retirement ceremony.
Graduation will be June 17 at the Stroh Center. Bowling Green Mayor Richard Edwards, a 1956 BBS delegate, will serve as commencement speaker.
One name absent from the list of speakers this year is Ohio Governor John Kasich.
This is only the second year in BBS history the Ohio governor will not be attending, White said.
At this year's event, delegates will be staying on the opposite side of campus in the Offenhauer Towers and Falcon Heights residence halls.
Evening programs will take place across campus at the Stroh Center.
"The only problem we have is the long walk for the boys to the Stroh arena," Bishop said.
It is more than a mile walk across campus from the residence halls to the Stroh Center for the delegates. Older volunteers and delegates with special needs will be transported to the arena by golf carts.
"That has been a logistical challenge for us this year," White said.
"The last time we were on this side of campus was 1998."
But, White said, organizers are pleased to offer delegates air-conditioned rooms and an air-conditioned facility for parents at the Stroh Center for graduation.
The move across campus has also resulted in reorganization of cities and counties.
BBS added another county and four more cities, bringing the total to nine counties and 29 cities. The new county is named after White, while some cities are now named after past presidents.
"Which is an honor for those past presidents to have a city named after them," Bishop said.