The Young Marines is open to all youth ages 8 through completion of high school. The only membership requirement is that the youth must be in good standing at school. Since the Young Marines’ humble beginnings, in 1958, with one unit and a handful of boys, the organization has grown to over 300 units with 10,000 youth and 3,000 adult volunteers in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Germany, Japan, and affiliates in a host of other countries.
Upon joining a local Young Marines 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 Marines “Boot Camp”, the youth have the opportunity to learn 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.
Young Marine Obligation
From this day forward, I sincerely promise, I will set an example for all other youth to follow and I shall never do anything that would bring disgrace or dishonor upon my God, my Country and its flag, my parents, myself or the Young Marines. These I will honor and respect in a manner that will reflect credit upon them and myself. Semper Fidelis.
Young Marines Veterans Appreciation Week
For one week in November each year, Young Marines units across the country celebrate Young Marines Veterans Appreciation Week (YMVAW). The purpose of the campaign is to challenge our Young Marines to dedicate some of their time to help our nation’s veterans and to demonstrate, through their actions, their sincere appreciation for our veterans’ service to our country. Unit projects include sending thank you cards to hospitalized veterans, cleaning up a disabled veterans yard, visiting veterans in the hospital, or simply setting up a community function to socialize with local veterans.
Young Marine Creed
1. Obey my parents and all others in charge of me whether young or old.
2. Keep myself neat at all times without other people telling me to.
3. Keep myself clean in mind by attending the church of my faith.
4. Keep my mind alert to learn in school, at home, or at play.
5. Remember having self-discipline will enable me to control my body and mind in case of an emergency.