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Arizona Young Marines graduate leadership school

By Pfc. M. Daniel Sanchez | | June 22, 2006

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Young Marines of the Marine Corps League’s Arizona Battalion, Grand Canyon Regiment, endured six days of leadership classes and physical training to graduate from the third annual Young Marine Leadership School held here June 18-23.

The leadership school is designed similarly to a Marine Corps noncommissioned officer course to teach the Young Marines the responsibilities of leadership and how to handle leading other Young Marines, said Capt. George Meegan, school commandant.

The leadership schools are one of the activities the Young Marines participate in to continue the character-building process and begin a life-long pursuit as productive and contributing citizens in their community, states the Young Marines Web site, www.youngmarines.com.

They also have the opportunity to participate in parades, camps, community service projects and several other events to further themselves as leaders in their communities.

The 31 participants from nine different Arizona units studied land navigation, basic first aid, sexual harassment, drug avoidance and several other courses similar to that of the Marine Corps’ training requirements.

The physical tests included close-order drill and a 500-point physical fitness test composed of push-ups, crunches, pull-ups and two running events, with the crunches and pull-ups being the same as the Marine Corps’.

The Young Marines are taught customs and courtesies, military bearing and discipline, patriotism and how to apply the skills they learn daily, said Meegan. The school is designed to be hard and push the youth to their limits, because like the Marine Corps, honor, courage and commitment are traits that must be earned, said Meegan.

One of the most difficult parts of the school was trying to get the Young Marines together to work and learn from each other -- and getting them used to waking up early in the morning, said Young Marine Staff Sgt. Rodney Tipton, 15.

The most important lesson the Young Marines learned was to persevere despite difficult times, said Tipton.

When the program began, it was hard to wake up at 4:30 a.m., said Young Marine Cpl. Joshua Figueroa, 12.

However, learning how to be a leader and how to be like a Marine, makes the hard work worth it, said Figueroa.

The Young Marines is a youth education and community service program for boys and girls ages 8-18. The program promotes mental, moral, and physical development of its members, and focuses on character building, leadership and promoting a healthy, drug-free lifestyle, according to the Web site.

The Young Marines is the Marine Corps’ official program for educating youth about drugs.
However, the Young Marines is not a recruiting tool.

Its purpose is to instill the core values of honor, courage, and commitment adopted by the Marine Corps into each of its members.

The Young Marines is a great organization for youth who want to be involved in the community and prepare themselves for the future, said Gladys Escobar, Yuma Young Marines commanding officer. All people have to do is ask about the organization, said Escobar.

For more information on the Young Marines, contact Gladys Escobar at 928-269-6505.

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