During the summer months, Young Marines have the opportunity to attend the Young Marines National Summer Programs of: Adventures, Challenges, Encampments, and Schools (SPACES). Schools consist of leadership courses. Adventures, have a historical emphasis and are designed with the younger child in mind. In contrast, older Young Marines can participate in Challenges. Challenges consist of training in areas such as survival skills, wilderness training, and water-based activities. Young Marine Encampments provide the opportunity for Young Marines of all ages to gather together and train as a large unit of up to 700 youth at a time. Over 3,000 Young Marines participate in the SPACES programs each year.
The Young Marines is the proud three-time recipient of the Department of Defense’s Fulcrum Shield Award 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 messages throughout their communities. The first award was presented to the Young Marines National Headquarters and the second to the Bakersfield Young Marine unit in California.
The Young Marines are honored to have R. Lee Ermey as their official celebrity spokesperson. Mr. Ermey garnered worldwide acclaim for his portrayal of Drill Instructor Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Stanley Kubrik’s film Full Metal Jacket (1987). Ermey is the host of the History Channel’s hit show,
Chester, the puppy bulldog, is the Young Marines official mascot. Chester enjoys all the benefits of Young Marine membership such as the opportunity to earn rank and ribbons, wear the Young Marine uniform, and a free subscription to the Young Marine Espritmagazine. Chester sometimes even makes guest appearances at unit meetings, graduations, and training conferences.
For one week in November each year, Young Marine 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.
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 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.
Young Marine Creed