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Local Badger State winner selected

Badger Boys State selection Travis Messer (right) is pictured with selection committee member Greg Kier. (Submitted photo)

Congratulations to Travis Messer, New Richmond High School junior, for being selected to the 2017 Badger Boys State June 10-17.

Messer will represent the New Richmond community in an outstanding leadership simulation at Ripon College in June. New Richmond American Legion Post 80 sponsors a New Richmond High School boy to attend Badger Boys State as a participant.

Badger Boys State is celebrating its 75th year. This government and leadership conference is designed for junior boys entering their senior year of high school to simulate the governmental process by building a city, county and state government from the ground up to better equip them for the future as an American citizen. It is also a great way to connect with peers throughout the state for better awareness and networking. The weeklong camp includes sports, music, newspaper writing, a color guard (awareness of patriotic participation), and several discussion sessions including law enforcement, medical professions, engineering, education, ministry, the political process and ecology.

There is also a Badger Girls State held at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh June 18-23, 2017. It is sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary and is celebrating its 60th year.

Connie Berning has been the local coordinator of both Badger Boys State and Badger Girls State for several years and is an alumnae of Badger Girls State. Berning has also been a counselor for Badger Girls State and continues to promote awareness for positive governmental leadership.

Jenny Wander is the school counselor who informs and promotes Badger State students who are eligible and interested in submitting applications for attending.

Several other Badger State alumni help with the selection process of qualified junior applicants each year. Connie Berning collects applications, distributes the applications, and the selection committee votes for the best people to represent our community for Badger State. Selection committee members include Stephanie Karno, Ken Kerr, Greg Kier (School District of New Richmond), and Jenna Tape. If there are other alumni of Badger State and you would like to be a part of the selection process, contact any of the current committee members.

“When I was selected to represent my local community at Badger Boys State, I really didn’t know what an honor and privilege it was to be selected,” said Kier. “I went thinking it would be a wasted week of my life and found out it was one of the best weeks of my life! I wouldn’t be promoting Badger State today if it wasn’t a fantastic experience for me.”

Kier said the experience opened his eyes to the governmental process and helped him better understand different leadership styles. He still has friends from Badger Boys State, which he attended in 1982. Kier also received a large college scholarship because of his participation at Badger Boys State.

“When I was selected to attend Badger Girls State in 1986, the president of our school board went down into the factory where my dad worked and personally congratulated my dad on my being selected to Badger Girls State,” said Berning. “I remember my dad being so proud.

“This learning-by-doing process teaches girls that they can be a respectful, a positive and a powerful influence in government, whether from home or during college or as a career choice. Even if a student doesn’t have a love for government, they can still participate and enjoy being a part of the many other opportunities Badger Girls State has to offer (choir, band, newspaper, art design, lobbying, campaigning, etc.) not to mention meeting life-long friends and making important connections.”