Alumni Impact

Ben Blumenthal, Nobel Rai, and Nathan Franz

Boys State is a truly unique experience where one week can change a lifetime. While hundreds of go-getters are admitted each year, some Cornhusker Boys State alumni have proven themselves to be especially remarkable, including Riley Knust, Alec Wiese, and Ben Sasse.

    Riley Knust, was the 2017 Cornhusker Boys’ State governor. Going into the elections Riley already had prior campaigning experience, was part of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) at his school, and knew tons of people going into the week, all of which he feels gave him a leg up. However it wasn’t all easy sailing for him, Riley experienced some struggles on his path to governor. During some question and answer sessions, Riley says he had a lot of dumb answers and a lot of “I don’t knows”. However he was able to learn from these failures and was able to run a successful campaign for governor. At the end of the day Riley said he just tried to be himself, and tried to be as genuine as possible. Riley is now considering a career in politics, has a newfound respect for public officials, and made some long lasting friends, all because of his week at Cornhusker Boys’ State.

    Alec Wiese attended Boys State in 2010. While there, he ran for the office of Lieutenant Governor. While he didn’t get the role, he still got involved and was able to learn many lessons from his experience. During Boys State, Wiese got out of his shell and learned the importance of risk-taking. He made many friends at Boys State and to this day, maintains relationships with some of the people he met. One piece of advice he would give to high school students our age is that you have to be able to find a good balance in life, and that you have to learn how to keep that balance in order to make it through high school and college. Today, Alec has started his own company and says the idea for his company was born out of speculation as to what kind of meat was in the twenty-five cent tacos he was enjoying with a friend. The friend said it was probably bug meat, and that’s what led to the idea to put insect protein into the foods we eat. Alec’s goal for Bugeater Foods is to help feed the world’s growing population with a sustainable source of food and expects the company to start reaching into developing countries that are in need of a better food source.

One of the most well-known Cornhusker Boys’ State alumni is the current junior Senator for Nebraska, Ben Sasse. Sasse was governor of Boys’ State in 1989, and he learned here that it is important to be able to learn from the wisdom of qualified adults and apply that knowledge to our daily lives. Like Alec Wiese, one of the Senator’s favorite parts of the program was making lifelong friends, some of which he still keeps up with to this day. He attended Boys’ Nation afterward, and there he met many high achievers that drove him to better himself. The lives of all three of these men have been shaped positively by the experience Boys’ State has provided them. It is truly “ a week to shape a lifetime”.

A Third Choice?

By: Ryan Secord

Most Nebraskans know nothing beyond our two party system, hence why the Libertarians only have 13,500 members enrolled. While the party is the fastest growing in the state, it is far from having any mainstream appeal. Gene Siadek, the treasurer for the Nebraskan party came to speak to a full house of interested senators. Right off the bat, the lecture was interrupted by a test tornado warning and Gene used it as his first argument for why the government has too much meddling. He said that we are all intelligent enough to know if there is a tornado, but soon conceded the point that severe weather warning systems were important in society. To redeem himself, he headed a fiery debate over whether intense regulations on business was really necessary. He argued that consumers should have the final say in whether or not a business fails. He then went on to try to display what the Libertarian party stands for, and he answered a few questions along the way. In the end, Mr. Siadek accomplished his goal of informing the young men of Boys’ State that there is indeed a third choice.

Two Speakers, One Topic

By: Christian Dames

On Wednesday, the Boys’ Staters all had the opportunity to attend a breakout session. The boys were split into three groups.

Those that attended the session, titled “Issues Advocacy”, heard two speakers present on how each of their organizations practice promoting their ideas. Issues advocacy organizations choose to politically advertise a broad issue rather than a single candidate.

The first speaker was Vice President of the Nebraska Farm Bureau, Craig Head. Head discussed how the Farm Bureau works to push an agriculture agenda in government. This can take the form of bills that benefit agriculture businesses or lobbying at various offices.

Jason Valandra from Bold Nebraska spoke next. He shared that their main objective is to fight against the ongoing Keystone Pipeline project. They block progress in the Keystone Pipeline by promoting contrary arguments to the government.

The boys in attendance all came prepared with questions to ask the speakers.

It seems clear that the breakout sessions were an overall success with its participants gaining valuable perspectives on hot-button issues.

The Gift that Keeps Giving

By: Logan Thomas and Jaliya Nagahawatte

The connections at Boy’s state are ones that will last a lifetime. Generation after generation of fathers who went to Boys’ State will send their sons to Boys’ State. No family embodies that better than the Perlinger Family. Carrick Perlinger attended Boys state in 2012 and won Governor. However, when Carrick looks back at his time at CBS it’s not winning anything he remembers, it’s the bonds he formed at CBS. Those bonds have not only been formed when he was a Boys’ Stater but each time he came back as a counselor. Each time Carrick came back he experienced that same brotherhood. Carrick didn’t come back to sign bills and look pretty, he came back to shape the next line of men and let them have the same experience and bond. So when his twin younger brothers asked whether they should do Boys’ State it was an easy answer. This year all three brothers have experienced 2018 CBS. Aidon and Bennett (Carrick’s siblings) said that they saw what their brother spoke of immediately. This was not just some government camp to inspire, it went far deeper. Aidon spoke of how, unlike other camps, CBS is a brotherhood, one that exists due to the goodness of others. The Perlinger family is only one example of the legacy of CBS. A legacy that is maintained by the goodwill of others. Others who understand CBS isn’t about winning, its about uniting others and shaping a lifetime.

Camp Counselors Interview

By: Hayden Hoos

The first question was, “what’s your favorite part of Boys’ State?” Nathan Weidner, a counselor, replied, “seeing 400 boys come on Sunday as individuals but leave as close friends and family.” John Willey answered, “interacting with campers, counselors, and staff. Seeing the new and old faces.”
The next question was, “how has Boys’ State changed?” Nathan Weidner said, “it’s different being a counselor. As a Boys’ Stater last year, I was trying to become a leader. As a counselor, I am out in front leading all the time.” Micah Wilson concluded, “I see more behind the scenes work, like longer days, more management, and counting ballots. With all of this, I have to know my stuff a lot better.”
The final question was, “what advice would you give about Boys’ State?” Nathan Weidner said, “get out of your comfort zone, and try new things. Set aside your ego, and just have fun.” Micah Wilson replied, “if you have something you want to do, do it. You’re with some of the greatest boys in Nebraska, so have fun, and get to know the best of the state. Get out there.”

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