MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMR, Calif. --
Saturday mornings at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar about two dozen Young Marine recruits fervently line up in a formation for accountability.
These 8 to 17-year-old boys and girls aspiring to become Young Marines are part of the San Diego Young Marine Program, one of two units aboard the air station.
The program teaches traits essential for a healthy lifestyle using Marine Corps ethics, values and tradition.
“Initial training focuses on building discipline, physical fitness, close-order drill and mastery of the recruit’s performance in a structured training atmosphere,” said Deborah Bailey, the adjutant for the SDYM. “The daily routine for the recruits consists of morning formation, physical fitness training, necessary skills review, unit commanders time, assignments and closing formation.”
During each Saturday for two months, the children are taught the right path in life by Marines who instill Corps values in them.
“The program uses the Marine Corps style of instruction to teach leadership, teamwork, physical training, discipline, respect and a healthy drug-free lifestyle,” said Jim Bailey, the SDYM unit commander and former active-duty Marine.
The recruits receive both indoor and outdoor training. The program encourages the young boys and girls to learn the traits they need to be tomorrow’s leaders.
“Many parents have come to us and commented that our training has helped their children become more self assured and mature,” said Deborah. “Our training is intended to make the young Marines more disciplined at a crucial time in their lives. They need that to withstand the societal pressures to participate in drugs and gangs.”
After graduating, the young Marines meet every Saturday to continue their development.
Similar to military personnel, they have the opportunity to earn promotions and awards.
“We continue to teach them subjects found in the Young Marine Basic Guidebook which include young Marine rank and structure, drill and ceremonies, field skills, map and compass skills, drug demand reduction, physical fitness and community service,” said Deborah.
The next recruit cycle starts in September. There is a $175 initial fee for the first child which covers uniform, guidebook, t-shirts and other items. An additional $150 is required for other family members interested in the program.
Parents interested in the San Diego Young Marines Program can call Bailey at 619-475-9730 or e-mail email@example.com for more information.