For your information, following are the opening statements by Mike Kessler, Executive Director of the Young Marines, at the opening of the 2012 Adult Leaders Conference:
Who we are.
A 501(c)3 (Federal Identification Number 38-2346425) non-profit;
A youth services and education program; and
For boys and girls eight through high school
What we do!
We teach the values of Leadership, Teamwork, and Discipline;
We instill a sense of self-discipline and respect for others;
We teach the value of the role model through positive leadership at the lowest possible level;
We teach the value of maintaining a healthy, drug-free lifestyle;
We teach why it's important to take responsibility for your actions; and
A host of other related objectives to include but not be limited to:
A respect for veterans
Who we are not!
We are not a recruiting tool for the military;
We are not an "in your face" program;
We are not a paramilitary youth group;
We are not chartered by the Marine Corps;
We are not chartered by Congress; and
We are neither sponsored or funded by the MCL.
What is the Young Marines program?
The Young Marines is the official youth program of the Marine Corps League. Founded in 1958 to promote the mental, moral and physical development of young Americans, the Young Marines offer a variety of activities specifically designed to develop greater self-esteem, discipline and self-confidence in its members. Character building is one of the most important objectives of the Young Marines program, and all of its activities emphasize the importance of honesty, courage, respect, loyalty, dependability, and a sense of devotion to God, country, community and family.
In July of 1993, the United States Marine Corps officially designated the Young Marines program as “the focal organization for fulfilling its participation in the Department of Defense’s drug demand reduction activities.” Young Marines make a pledge to maintain a drug free lifestyle and are encouraged to influence family, friends, and schoolmates to share this commitment.
What is the primary focus of the Young Marines program?
Having as diverse of a cross section of young people as possible helps enhance team building and “people skills” training which is an important part of the program. The program focuses on being anti-drug and anti-gang while developing a youths' leadership and life skills so that regardless of what choices are made upon graduation from high school, he/she will be prepared for challenges and more likely to be a successful good citizen. Good behavior and academic achievement are encouraged and reinforced. The Young Marines expects all of its members to strive to exemplify the Young Marines core values of Discipline, Leadership, and Teamwork. The best description of the young people most suited for the program is those youth who will be enthusiastic about being a Young Marine and value the Young Marines program. The Young Marines program is not a recruiting tool for any of the armed services. It is not a summer camp, daycare, military school, residential program, a program for troubled youth, or a "scared straight" program. Some have the impression that with the recruit training Boot Camp and military discipline, the Young Marines program is targeted for young people with serious behavior or discipline problems. This is not the case. We are not social workers and have limited time with each individual youth, so don't expect us to work miracles in behavior improvement or behavior modification with your child.
What are the ages of Young Marines?
1) Youth membership is open to all youth between the ages of 8 through completion of high school (whichever is later, not to exceed 20 years of age).
a) If you turn 18 but have not graduated high school you are eligible to remain in the program until the date of graduation. At that time you are discharged from the Young Marines.
b) If you have graduated high school but have not turned 18 you are eligible to remain in the program until your 18th birthday. At that time you are discharged from the Young Marines.
What other qualifications for the Young Marines are there?
2) The youth must have written consent from a parent or legal guardian. Submit parental/guardian consent forms as required for all minors.
3) A copy of a birth certificate is required for all youth. A social security number, INS Identification Card or Tax Identification Number is required for all youth.
4) Young Marines must have physicals updated annually.
5) Young Marines must be actively enrolled in public, private or certified home school and in good standing (ex. Not expelled). Failure to maintain enrollment in one of the above is grounds for dismissal from the program.
6) Must have never been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor involving weapons or child abuse.
7) Subscribe to the objectives and purposes of the Young Marines.
8) Pay all fee and dues as may be prescribed by the Young Marines Board of Directors.
Do Young Marines do more than just attend Unit meetings?
Training varies from Unit to Unit. Many Units participate in parades, commUnity service, hiking, camping and other exciting activities. In addition to Unit functions, the members of the Young Marines are eligible to participate in a wide variety of schools, encampments, educational adventures and challenges. Schools consist of Junior and Senior Leadership, Scuba, Ground Aviation and an Advanced Leadership Seminar. Educational adventures are designed with the younger child in mind, usually from ages 8-13. These adventures have rotating venues on a yearly basis usually with a historical emphasis In contrast, the older Young Marines participate in Challenges which consist of training in areas such as wilderness, survival and water-based activities. Young Marine encampments provide the opportUnity for Young Marines of all ages within a region to gather together and train as a larger Unit of up to 700 youth at one time.
Does the Young Marines teach Drug Resistance?
The Young Marines is the Marine Corps' official youth program for the Department of Defense Youth Drug Demand Reduction program. Young Marines make a pledge to be drug-free and work hard to encourage family, friends, and schoolmates to share in this commitment. The Drug Demand Reduction Ribbon award is awarded to any Young Marine who has displayed leadership, perseverance, visibility and courage in their commUnity, and has either attended 8 prescribed drug reduction lectures or completed a school-based Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) course, given one civic/commUnity presentation on drug demand reduction, and successfully displayed the ideals of a drug-free lifestyle in a newsletter, newspaper or other public media.
Red Ribbon Week, celebrated the last week of October each year, is an important reminder of the dangers of drugs and the cost of human life for those who make the wrong choice to use drugs as well as those who dare to stand against the trafficking of drugs. Enrique “Kiki” Camarena was a Marine and DEA agent who lost his life in the fight against drugs. It is in his memory that Red Ribbon Week designated to honor his life and sacrifice and to keep the message of a “drug free society” alive.
Young Marines are required to log a minimum of 3 hours each quarter in DDR (Drug Demand Reduction) training. Beyond that requirement, many Young Marines and their units prepare months in advance for Red Ribbon Week. They discuss ideas on how to spread the message, to be effective within their communities to continue the fight against drugs and encourage others to join the mission.
The spirit of Red Ribbon Week is one we are called upon to display all year as Young Marines dedicated to discipline and avoiding the trap of using or ever trying drugs. Red Ribbon Week is the “celebration” to continue the work of Agent Camarena and the motivation to stay focused on the goal.
What is the cost?
The Unit charges $75 for the first registration year for youth if Boot Camp graduation is in the first half of the fiscal year or $50 if Boot Camp graduation is in the second half of the fiscal year, and $20 for the first registration year for adult volunteers. This is just enough to cover expenses including payment for insurance and first registration expenses such as the Basic Guidebook, some clothing accessories, and other initial supplies. Re-registration fees for subsequent years are $50 for youth and $20 for adults.
I paid so do I qualify as a Young Marine?
Just as in the US Marine Corps, you must pass qualifications to claim the title of Young Marine. New enlistees must sign an enlistment form and pass a basic physical exam. Youngsters must be able to participate in physical activity without creating a danger to themselves or others. This includes passing a physical fitness test (200 out of a possible 500 points) and a written final examination, as well as having a sharp appearance and an attitude of being motivated. Youth will remain recruits until they earn the title of Young Marine.
How long is Boot Camp?
What do the parents provide prior to Boot Camp?
What do the parents provide after Boot Camp is underway?
How many absences are allowed during Boot Camp?
What part of the uniform is supplied by the Unit?
The best source of current information about Boot Camps is the Recruiting Officer's web page. More information about our Boot Camps is available on the website under the Activities button. The Overview of Basics web page provides general information needed before Boot Camp starts, and the Requirements Timeline web page provides detailed information plus specifics of drill days for the most current Boot Camp.
What happens after Boot Camp graduation?
The youth has earned the title of being a Young Marine and participates in the Unit activities. At this time the Young Marines are eligible to wear the Young Marine uniform and begin to earn awards/ribbons to wear on their uniforms and move up in the Young Marine ranks. Rank promotions require positive reports from the Young Marine’s teachers and parents; mastering knowledge and skills outlined in the Young Marines guide books, and meeting physical fitness requirements. The Young Marines attend training sessions, special events, and activities. Life skills such as first aid/CPR, camping, swimming, etiquette, communication skills, and navigation are a regular part of the program. Other activities include hiking, competing in orienteering events, obstacle courses, rappelling, and participating in parades and civic ceremonies. State and national encampments provide opportunities for special training in leadership, scuba diving, flight school, and historical trips. The longer a Young Marine stays in the program, the higher the rank that can be earned and the more responsibility given to him/her.
Are all of the staff Marines?
The Unit Commander is required to be a Marine but the staff is composed of volunteers who are Marines and non-Marines from different professions. The staff is challenged to maintain an interesting, challenging, and productive training schedule that will retain the interest of the Young Marines while achieving the objectives of the program.
How can I support the Young Marines Program?
There are many ways that you can help. You can volunteer your time. Adult volunteers are individually screened by the National Headquarters based on background information and recommendations provided with each person's registration. You can also make a difference by providing financial or "contributions-in-kind" to the program. You can help out with transporting equipment, helping with the paperwork, making flyers, recruiting, .... Ask any staff member how you can help!