MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE --
The Jacksonville Young Marines received on the job training through a visit from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service aboard Camp Johnson, Oct. 8.
Aliyah Counts, a private and the guide for the Jacksonville Young Marines, said she greatly enjoyed having NCIS come and everything they taught was all new to her.
“The best part was the finger printing,” said Counts.
Michael Williams, supervisory special agent with NCIS, said his team commonly goes out to youth organizations and schools to do presentations and showcase their skills as agents.
“This was the first time we’ve done a presentation to the Young Marines, but it was a great experience,” said Williams. “The agents have years of experience doing this work, but the children don’t. So if we can walk away saying everyone learned at least one new thing, then we have done our jobs.”
The Young Marines is the official youth program of the Marine Corps and focuses on promoting leadership skills and a healthy drug-free lifestyle at a young age.
James Whitley, executive officer for the Jacksonville Young Marines, said the goal is to expose children to everything the military has to offer.
“We don’t focus and push the military,” said Whitley. “We try to get them ideas of what else is out there, and the NCIS visit incorporates an option they have in terms of their own defense and safety.”
The Young Marines program is available to boys and girls ranging from 8 to 17-years-old. Joining a unit requires the child to take part in a 26-hour program called “Boot Camp” which teaches and tests rank structure, drill, history of the Young Marines, customs and courtesies and much more.
“It’s a very similar routine to the Marine Corps, but it’s also like many other youth organizations,” said Whitley. “They have to maintain a certain level of discipline, properly maintain their uniforms and have a level of physical fitness, but they also get to go on camping trips and overnight events.”
Whitley added a lot of the core values are incorporated into the program, and the volunteers try to instill them into the children.
For more information, visit www.youngmarines.com.
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