News: Young Marines Boot camp keeps youth on right track
Story by Sgt. Brandon Saunders
ALBANY, Ga - Children involved with the Young Marines Program graduated Young Marines boot camp after a non-stop training regimen, Oct. 26 to 28.
Young Marines is a program focused on youth development to develop and nurture boys and girls, ages 8 through the completion of high school, in an effort to mold them into responsible citizens and productive members of society.
Typically, Young Marines boot camp lasts 13 consecutive weekends. However, this year marked the first time the training was condensed to a single weekend, pushing the children to do their best while learning the curriculum.
“This is a very beneficial, mentoring program for these children,” Teldgra Steward, Young Marines instructor, said. “It teaches discipline, leadership and teamwork, which is the motto we follow.”
The training began with a Marine Corps recruit training style indoctrination complete with active-duty Marines providing motivation in the fashion of drill instructors. Recruits stood on yellow footprints and received the kind of attention designed to promote good order and discipline.
“I personally completed the program 10 years ago, and I know for a fact it will teach these children time management,” Steward said.
“Some have never been put in a position where they needed to be accountable for their actions.”
The program here began in 1997, picking up on the legacy started in 1958.
Upon the induction of Young Marines here, then-commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Charles C. Krulak, paid a personal visit to the base to launch the program.
Although the program is not a recruiting tool for the nation’s military services, such training prepares the youth for potential careers in the military.
“We are not a recruiting tool,” retired Master Gunnery Sgt. Randolph Scott, said. “We push the youth to attend college. Since its inception in 1997, nearly 1,400 participants have joined the program.”
The weekend of training concluded with a graduation where recruits, who took on leadership roles, were awarded in front of an audience of families, friends and peers.
“It’s our goal to help every able-bodied male and female make it through the program and be successful,” Scott said.