Rural Missouri - August 2017 - 23
Above left: Rodney Thomas reacts to the announcement that he won the election for attorney general. Above right: Adrienne Pyeatt talks to fellow citizens from her city while they form
their city government early in the week. Below right: Kohn City Fire Chief Ryan Willson goes through reports from his city during the day. Prevention is the main focus of the ﬁreﬁghters.
Katy says her experience as a citizen made her
an advocate for random room assignments. "I came
from a city of 150,000 and I was paired with a girl
from Norborne. She would tell me about waking up
early to go chore every morning. I had no idea people did that. I just told her 'uh, I work in a mall,' "
she says with a laugh. "It's like a training camp for
college for these kids."
Matt adds: "We have kids from the most urban
schools that may have 2,000 kids in the high school
who might be paired with a kid whose hometown is
less than 400 people," he says. "But, if you're living
on the same ﬂoor, eating meals together, living in
the same city and working toward a shared goal,
you're sort of forced to be close and tightknit."
The top spot for any city is to be named model
city. They are judged on everything from behavior
and enthusiasm to city aesthetics and appeal. This
might include city pride via chants, signs, wellmarked roadways, civic engagement and more.
Each citizen is given an allotment of Boys or Girls
State Bucks at the start of the week. Running for
ofﬁce? You'll have to use part of your new currency
to put ads in the daily newspaper, buy campaign
materials or pay salaries to other citizens to help. If
you run low, hopefully you're a good fundraiser or
can get help from your political party.
Other uses could include fees to enter a city,
goods from a business or ﬁnes for breaking a city
rule, which must be posted.
Kohn City Fire Chief Ryan Willson of Wentzville
says his job is to make sure his city is safe. "Most
of my job is prevention," he says. "I came up with
a ﬁre code and it's enforced by our six ﬁreﬁghters."
Leaving your lights on, clothes on the ﬂoor or having an unused charger plugged in will set you back
$10. Littering is double.
Legion and auxiliary posts make merit-based
selections of citizens to send. The program is funded
by local posts and donations. The staff - a vast
majority of which are alumni - are all volunteers.
It requires full buy in from the citizens for them
to grow and learn. That starts with the staff, according to Katy. "We get more excited to be here every
year," she says. "That helps them buy in. Then kids
who are eligible next year see it on social media and
it may pique their interest."
Matt agrees. "It's so incredible to watch these kids
grow through the week. Then add to it we're dealing with the best and brightest kids from around
the state, teaching them about this thing we call
democracy. What's not fun about that?"
For more information on Missouri Boys and
Girls states, visit www.moboysstate.org or www.
Kirstin Clark swears Cassie Dutton in as the mayor of
Compton City. Students ﬁrst form a city government, then a
county government and, lastly an entire state government.