The Young Marines is a youth education and service programs for boys and girls, ages 8 through completion of high school. The Young Marines promotes the mental, moral, and physical development of its members. The program focuses on character building, leadership, and promotes a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. The Young Marines is the official youth program of the U.S. Marine Corps and the focal point for the Marine Corps' Youth Drug Demand Reduction efforts.
Young Marine units are community-based programs lead by dedicated adult volunteers. Many of these volunteers are former, retired, active duty, or reserve Marines who believe passionately that the values they learned as Marines had a positive affect on them. It is through these caring adults that Young Marines learn the inner values of Honor, Courage and Commitment. Adult volunteers are individually screened by the National Headquarters based on background information and recommendations provided with each person's registration.
Upon joining a local Young Marine unit, youth undergo a 26-hour orientation program, generally spread out over several weekly meetings. This orientation program is affectionately called "Boot Camp." The youth learn general subjects such as history, customs and courtesies, close order drill, physical fitness, and military rank structure. After graduating from Young Marine "Boot Camp", the youth have the opportunity to learn more new skills, earn rank, wear the Young Marine uniform and work toward ribbon awards. Young Marines earn ribbons for achievement in areas such as leadership, community service, swimming, academic excellence, first aid and drug resistance education.
After graduating from "Recruit Training", the Young Marines continue the character building process and begin a life long pursuit as productive and contributing citizens in their community. During the summer months, Young Marines have the opportunity to attend Summer Programs of Adventures, Challenges, Encampments, and Schools (SPACES) offered by the National Headquarters and state or local encampments.
Although the Young Marines is the U.S. Marine Corps' official youth program to the Department of Defense for youth Drug Demand Reduction, the Young Marines is not a recruiting force for the U.S. Marine Corps. We strive to instill the Young Marine core values of Discipline, Leadership and Teamwork as well as The USMC core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment to each of our members.