By Joseph P. Cirone
Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling Public Affairs
WASHINGTON – Military and civilian adult volunteers are needed to be good role models; plan and supervise fun activities and serve as chaperones for a youth development program at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB).
Adults, age 18 and older, are needed to provide a positive influence and help keep youth away from gangs, obesity, premature pregnancy, drugs, alcohol, tobacco and other negative influences.
As a component of JBAB’s Community Relations program, the installation is supporting the launch of the Washington, DC Young Marines at JBAB on Nov. 10 – the birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps.
“Male and female volunteers are asked to give just one or two Saturdays per month,” said Janice Lavoie, the unit’s spokesman. Military experience is not required.
Chartered by Congress; open to all throughout the National Capital Region
Although chartered by Congress and the focal point for the Marine Corps’ youth drug demand reduction efforts, the Young Marines is not a military recruiting program and does not teach war-fighting skills, Lavoie pointed out.
Lavoie explained that the Young Marines is a federally recognized, non-profit educational youth development and community service program that promotes the mental, moral and physical development of its members, while providing outdoor and educational adventures and fun.
Membership is open to males and females, age 8 to graduation from High School and adult volunteers age 18 and older, from throughout the National Capital Region, according to Lavoie.
A variety of adults are needed to help teach the youth how to march (part of teaching them leadership, teamwork and discipline and instilling a sense of pride and self-confidence); military customs and courtesies; lead physical fitness periods; drive a van to transport youth to and from activities and more.
“We do not expect adults to know or do it all. We need and want a variety of adult volunteers; each with different skills. Together, we will have a great team for the benefit of the youth,” Lavoie continued.
Outdoor Activities; BDU uniforms and travel
Youth wear BDU (Battle Dress Utility) uniforms; get a Young Marines ID card and have the opportunity to learn outdoor adventure skills including, boating; camping; hiking; orienteering; rafting; archery and marksmanship; land and water safety and survival; first aid and CPR and more, Lavoie stated.
With enough adult volunteers to leade and supervise, youth will also participate in Honor Guard; Drill Team; Drum & Bugle Corps; Public Safety, Still and Video Imagery; Public Speaking; Journalism and Special Events. Members also have an opportunity to travel across the country to specialized training opportunities and events.
Lavoie said the youth will spend one Saturday per month learning skills to gain promotions and awards and the other Saturday participating in other activities.
Program expansion a possibility
As more adult volunteers commit to one day per month and youth interest and numbers grow, additional Saturdays will be added to the program, Lavoie said.
Additionally, the program can be expanded as an after-school program at schools where sufficient adult volunteers and youth interest exist, she said.
All adult volunteers are background checked and are required to complete an application package before they are able to interact with the youth.
Membership for youth and adult volunteers is $25 per year, which includes accidental injury insurance coverage, some uniform items and printed materials needed for advancement within the program.
More information is available at http://www.youngmarinesdc.org or by calling 202-719-2529. Enrollment paperwork is available for download and printing on the website.
JBAB is also home to Boy Scout, Girl Scout and Civil Air Patrol youth programs. Each has its own focus and following and will continue to receive support from JBAB. Adults wishing to volunteer to help youth are also encouraged to also consider these worthwhile organizations.
JBAB is working with the Boy Scout unit to host a Bicycle Rodeo in spring, 2012 and planning to support Girl Scouts from around the country, who will be visiting DC during their 100th Anniversary in June, 2012.