For several years VFW Post 1760 has officially supported our local East Valley Young Marines here in Mesa. This unit has won an accolade of awards all the way up to the national level and continues to being an outstanding unit who we are proud to support.
The Young Marines strengthens the lives of America’s youth by teaching the importance of self-confidence, academic achievement, honoring our veterans, good citizenship, community service, and living a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. The Young Marines promotes the mental, moral, and physical development of its members. The program focuses on character building and leadership and promotes a lifestyle that is conducive to being productive members of society.
Upon joining a local Young Marines unit, recruits undergo a 26-hour orientation program, generally spread out over several weekly meetings. They learn general subjects such as history, customs and courtesies, close order drill, physical fitness, and military rank structure. After graduating from Young Marines Recruit Training, Young Marines have the opportunity to learn even more new skills, earn rank, wear the Young Marines 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. The East Valley Young Marines are very involved in our community and serve over 5,000 hours per year serving our Veterans and local communities.
During the summer months, Young Marines have the opportunity to attend the Young Marines National Summer Programs of Adventures, Challenges, Encampments, and Schools (SPACES). Young Marines receive instruction and training in a variety of areas such as wilderness training, water-based activities, aviation, science, leadership and team-building. SPACES activities are held in various venues across the country and overseas.
Honoring veterans is not just something Young Marines talk about, it’s what they do! Each year, Young Marines from across the country travel to Iwo Jima, Pearl Harbor and the home of the Navajo Code Talkers, Window Rock, Arizona to honor those surviving veterans and their families for their historic and dedicated service to the United States.
Every year in November, all Young Marines units participate in Young Marines Veterans Appreciation Week, a campaign that challenges our Young Marines to dedicate time to show our country’s appreciation and help our nation’s veterans in their local communities.
Each Young Marines unit has the opportunity to design their own project that is most fitting in their local community. Projects might include sending thank you cards to hospitalized veterans, cleaning up a disabled veteran’s yard, visiting veterans in the hospital, or simply setting up a community function to socialize with local veterans. Young Marines reach out to thousands of veterans each year during the one-week tribute.
The Young Marines “Closing the Gate on Drugs” initiative focuses our drug demand reduction efforts on raising awareness of common gateway drugs (tobacco, alcohol, inhalants, prescription drugs and marijuana) that are either in homes or neighborhoods and are most often encountered and easily accessed by children and young adults.
We have developed a standardized curriculum that is taught to Young Marines by senior Young Marines, and we have developed product and information packages available to all our Young Marines units who are encouraged to take this curriculum into classrooms in their communities.
“The DEA first met with the Young Marines a few years ago,” Tammy Simpson, drug prevention program manager of the DEA’s Drug Demand Reduction Section said, “We were so impressed with the Young Marines’ initiative when communicating with peers and others about the dangers associated with using drugs. We appreciate the Young Marines efforts to educate the community and increase awareness about the drug problem.”. The East Valley Young Marines have been recognized for the last 3 years by the DEA with the Enrique Camarena Award place in the top three Units in Young Marine Division 6.
The Department of Defense has awarded the Young Marines the Fulcrum Shield Award seven times for excellence in Youth Anti-Drug Programs. The award recognizes military-affiliated youth organizations around the world that have made concerted efforts at spreading the anti-drug message throughout their communities.
In 2016 the East Valley Young Marines earned this award for their Youth Anti-Drug Programs in the East Valley. On May 6, 2017 the East Valley Young Marines were named the National Young Marine Unit of the Year, which is the TOP HONOR a Unit can earn.
(*gallery of photos to be added w/this website migration – 2017)