DANBURY — Coltin Foster has had a passion for politics most of his life, and the 17-year-old gained insight on the way government operates as part of the Texas Boys State program this summer.
For more than 75 years, the American Legion-sponsored Texas Boys State program has educated future leaders about government, civics and patriotism in a “learn-by-doing” environment.
American Legion Post 501 selected Foster to be one of the roughly 1,100 delegates at the University of Texas at Austin the week of June 9.
Delegates were split into the fictional parties of the Nationalists and Federalists. Each party drafted platforms, elected party officials, nominated candidates via primary elections and contested a general election against the rival party. Those elected to the House of Representatives and Senate spent the week drafting, debating and passing bills.
While at Boys State, he ran for a county position but did not make it, Foster said.
Running for office taught him a valuable lesson, however, Foster said.
“I learned to put yourself out there and to not give up when you fail at something,” he said. “To always keep going. People still motivated me to keep on.”
Hearing about his experiences, she wishes every boy could attend Boys State, mother Sherry Foster said.
“It was just a really enjoyable experience,” she said. “It is more than what you learn in a classroom in school. It is really hands-on.”
It also was a natural fit for her son, Sherry Foster said.
“Politics is something he wants to go into eventually,” she said. “This is just something he has really wanted to do. This has been like a goal he has set and he achieved it.”
What he will take away from his experience is to be a force for change, Coltin Foster said.
“I just think that we are the future,” he said. “I have just always had an interest in politics, and I feel like we are the future and I want to make change.”