News: Educators leave classroom to experience Marine Corps boot camp
Story by Sgt. Whitney N. Frasier
SAN DIEGO – Although the majority of the nation's high school eductors returned to the classroom nearly a half year ago, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego is putting teachers to the test during the 2012 Educator’s Workshop season.
“The workshops are a way we can dispel a lot of myths and give an accurate depiction of Marine Corps life from basic training to the fleet, even living conditions,” said Capt. Alan Sung, assistant operations officer, Western Recruiting Region.
The workshops aren’t new to the depot though, 2012 marks more than a decade of running the program.
“We started planning months in advance to accommodate these workshops,” said Sung. “Additionally, each recruiting station and sub-station has to recruit [educators and influential leaders] to attend and that takes time.”
Educators spend almost an entire week on the Marine Corps dime learning the ins and outs of what the Marine Corps has to offer, from different career choices to experiencing events during recruit training including an Eagle, Globe and Anchor ceremony.
“It’s a tool we use to educate teachers and administrators about what life is like in the Marine Corps,” said Sung.
Sung also explained that it creates a bond between the teachers and the recruiters serving their community and in return, it has a direct impact on the communication with potential recruits.
The workshop gives civilian leaders a chance to familiarize themselves with the different aspects of the Marines and what the Corps is known for and how the Corps operates on a day-to-day basis.
“Teachers don’t just reach out to students academically, but also in their personal development,” said Sung. “Teachers can steer them in the right direction and give them exposure to the Marine Corps and the different opportunities it has to offer.”
Exposing the nation’s educators to this program presents an opportunity for them as teachers and mentors to make an informed decision on who is right for the military and, ultimately, recommending the service to the most qualified individuals.
“It’s these teachers and counselors that influence the next generation of Marines,” said Sung. “If we can show them what the Marine Corps is about, they can speak intelligently about the Marine Corps when mentoring students. The key here is accuracy.”
In addition to educating them about the Marine Corps, the efforts of the workshop assist in the overall recruiting mission.
Sung explains that the benefits outweigh the cost, which can exceed $25,000 per workshop. It is what the educators experience and bring back to their hometown that will last a lifetime.
“Each educator talks to about 100 students a day,” said Sung. “If they only speak to 100 students a year for 10 years about the Marines, they are still reaching out to 1,000 students overall. They will never forget the experiences they had here.”
Much like boot camp itself, the educators seem to value their stay at the depot and the ones who don’t get sent home. Essentially, the Marine Corps can speak for itself, and though it will win over the hearts and minds of most it’s not made for everyone.