He's a senior at Crookston High School

    Boys State is a government instruction camp for high schoolers, where campers operate a simulated local, county, and state government.

    This past summer, Crookston High School senior Tai Baig attended Boys State at St. John’s University. I sat down with Tai and asked him some questions about the camp.

Q: What is Boys State?

    Tai: Boys state is funded by the American Legion, and it is in every state except Hawaii. Two people from a city can attend, and the camp simulates the state and national government.

Q: What did you do there?

    Tai: You run for different positions in the Boys State government. There are also activities you can do in your free time such as volleyball, softball, basketball and band.

Q: What was the camp situation like?

    Tai: There are 30 people in your city, and you get really close with all of them. Every day you have town hall meetings with your city. There are 8 county’s at the camp, and two cities are comprised from each county. In each city there are 30 people, so there were about 240 kids that attended the camp. It was held at St. John’s University and all our meals were paid for by the American Legion.

Q: What was your experience like?

    Tai: When I arrived we did a couple ice breakers with my city. I decided to run for mayor in my city, and I won. I knew nothing about parliamentary procedure at first, which is basically the etiquette you are supposed to follow in government meetings. A few guys at the camp helped me to learn the procedure, which was very nice. After becoming mayor, they split you off into two parties, Nationalists and Federalists. I ran for Governor, but I was the runner up in my party and only lost by one county. This was still a really big deal to me, especially since I came in not knowing as much as other people at the camp. Then I was elected as Head Councilman for my county. They simulated county situations, such as a road breaking down, or more public funding for schools. By the end of camp I knew how to run meetings very well. Coming from a rural community in Northern Minnesota and doing well made me very happy.

Q: What did you gain from Boys State?

    Tai: I learned how to be a better leader and how to work with people.

Q: Do you have any advice for those going next year?

    Tai: Don’t be afraid to talk to people. You have to have people know your name if you want them to vote for you. Don’t try to be someone your not, just be authentic and be yourself.