It would have been just another Wednesday for my wife and I had I not met Keagan Miller of the Miami Valley Young Marines at a Huber Heights Chamber of Commerce meeting. Keagan had invited us to attend one of their open houses. I had no idea what The Young Marines were so I accepted. The open house was this evening and Elizabeth and I had no idea what to expect.
The Young Marines are located at 6161 Chambersburg Rd in Huber Height in the basement of the St. Peter Catholic Church. When we arrived we found uniformed children in camouflage sporting a flag and standing in formation. It looked like a well behaved honor guard. It was certainly an impressive sight to see upon ones arrival.
In the basement we were directed to an area of tables where Keagan was busy giving a presentation via projector to a group of hopeful recruits and their parents. Young boys and girls sat there quietly, excited, watching the power point and listening to what was being said. I could feel their excitement at the idea of them becoming members. The Young Marines were offering them a chance to camp out survivor style, learn how to march, shoot pellet guns, and help out Veterans as some of what was being said. Keagan spoke in great detail about their Drug Reduction Program and Veteran aid programs.
The Young Marines program is not a recruitment program for the military in any such way. It’s more of a mixed gender Boy Scouts group meets ROTC stepped up a few notches. What the Young Marines program definitely provides is a way for youth, ages 8 to 18, to learn confidence building skills and self-reliance like no other program out there. Their boot camp is not a “scared straight” program like you see on television. Their program is designed to get the youth to learn and build up their own self-confidence through tough activities and by letting them make a visible impact in their own community. The Young Marines stresses to their members that the key to a productive and self-confident life is the absence of drugs from it. Oh, and be prepared for homework. The Young Marines sends their members home with homework as part of their training. Parents are expected to be involved in the training process as well by insuring that their workbooks and assignments get completed. Playing hooky isn’t much of an option either as the youths are expected to keep up and progress with their fellow members. While only allowing for missing a few days in a given period, I see this as a way to teach proper attendance and how to power through the tougher things in life to accomplish goals.
After sitting through Keagan’s presentation, along with speaking to Mr. Girard, I was ready to sign up myself. Elizabeth was equally as impressed with what this group has to offer youths. Since I’m too old for a yellow recruit shirt I offered to help keep an eye on the kids at the range instead.