By DAVID DUPONT
BG Independent News
The state American Legion and Bowling Green State University both want Buckeye Boys State to continue to meet in Bowling Green.
The two sides are in the process of negotiating a new five-year conference agreement. The current deal lasts through the 2016 event. Boys State brings about 1,300 male high school juniors to campus for a week of mock government activities each June.
A recent letter to a local newspaper asserted that BGSU was about to lose out in hosting the event.
However, Gerald White, the director of Buckeye Boys State, in an email to the university prompted by that letter asserted the Legion’s desire to keep the civics event at Bowling Green where it has convened since 1978.
The email was intended, he said, “to set the record straight” and let university officials “know exactly where American Legion Buckeye Boys State stands so there is no misunderstanding, confusion, or misleading information.”
Yes, he said, the Legion does check out other campuses “to see what would be available should something catastrophic occur on the BGSU campus or in the City of Bowling Green which would necessitate Boys State not being able to conduct the program.”
Also, he said, other institutions do query the Legion about whether it would like to move. That’s not surprisingly, the director said, given the program’s success and prominence. None of those has offered “significant financial incentives” to get Boys State to relocate.
The conference agreement must be periodically studied, he said, adding: “I think it is a mark of the partnership between American Legion Buckeye Boys State, the City of Bowling Green, Wood County, and Bowling Green State University and the pleasure and pride that the Buckeye Boys State Board of Trustees has in conducting our program on the BGSU campus that for 37 years, now going into 38, Buckeye Boys State has remained in the City of Bowling Green and the campus of Bowling Green State University.”
While other options have been looked at, White wrote: “It is every hope of the Buckeye Boys State Board of Trustees that a Conference Agreement can be worked out to the satisfaction of both parties, but I can assure you, that at the present time while other facilities have been looked at, there is NO decision to move the program.”
University spokesman Dave Kielmeyer issued a statement. “BGSU greatly values our long-term relationship with Buckeye Boys State and we’re committed to continuing that partnership. Our discussions with the American Legion on a contract renewal for the program have been extremely positive and productive.”
By DAVID DUPONT