From Memorial Day services, to 4th of July and Progress Day parades, from Industry Appreciation Day set ups and Kenai river bank restoration, to presenting the Colors at September 11th commemorations, the presence of the Young Marines has become highly visible on the Kenai Peninsula.
The mission of the Young Marines is to positively impact America's future by providing quality youth development programs for boys and girls that nurtures and develops its members into responsible citizens who enjoy and promote a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.
Founded in 1958 by a small group of dedicated members of the Marine Corps League in Waterbury Connecticut, the Young Marines have grown to 240 units with over 19,000 youth and 2,900 adult volunteers in 36 states, the District of Columbia, Japan, and Germany.
David Nussbaum of Soldotna joined the Young Marines several years ago and has earned the rank of 1st Sergeant and this summer became an Honor Graduate at the Young Marines senior leadership school in Rhode Island.
When David graduates next year he will head to Camp Pendleton California where he begin his boot camp training in U.S. Marine Corps.
Nussbaum attributes his experience with the Young Marines in his decision, "We learn the same leadership traits and patriotism as the regular Marines do, and seeing that I will have already earned the rank of at least Lance Corporal, when I graduate from Marine Corp boot camp, I'll automatically be one rank ahead," said Nussbaum.
The Young Marines is an alternative for kids who want something to do and have fun, "It's not just doing push ups and running around in your camouflage, I have found that even during the 13 weeks of boot camp every one of the kids I've worked with has improved their school work by one letter grade level," added Nussbaum.
Jenni Garrison joined the Young Marines two years ago and this summer at the national leadership school she ranked 2nd overall and 1st out of all the females while achieving the Jane Wayne award for the highest level of physical fitness. "I look at the people around me and at school, and I'm glad that I know what is like to have respect for things," said Garrison. According to Geni Keith, acting commanding officer for the Young Marines, the next boot camp for the Arctic Young Marines will take place in March.
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