One local organization geared to do that is the 1st Wisconsin Young Marines. It serves as a youth education and service program that focuses on building character.
The Hendricks Family Foundation recently awarded The Young Marines a $2,500 grant to assist with program costs and to make it possible for the participants to attend national encampments and more.The National Young Marines program was created in 1959. The 1st Wisconsin Youth Marines program in Beloit was established in 1995, chartered through the Marine Corps League Detachment #623. The nonprofit organization is geared for boys and girls age 8 through high school. The local unit is comprised of youth from northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. “This is a great program,” said Kevin Hendricks, “it works to instill military values for civilian life.”
The organization promotes the mental, moral and physical development of its members focusing on character building, leadership and living a healthy drug-free lifestyle.
“I’m pleased that the Hendricks Family Foundation is able to support this worthwhile organization,” Kim Hendricks said.
“The Young Marines exposes kids to fundamental American values – respect, discipline, service and strength. Adults volunteer their time to mentor and develop our local young people and I love the idea of a program that teaches kids to salute, to call adults ‘Ma’am and ‘Sir, to honor the flag and to learn a range of new skills. Kids get the opportunity to travel and to learn what it means to be a part of a team, all things that will serve them well as they transition to adulthood and beyond.”
The Commanding Officer is Lawrence “Curt” Martin.“These are amazing opportunities for these boys and girls to learn about America’s history and to learn teamwork, leadership and create long-lasting bonds with other Young Marines,” Commander Martin said.
To achieve their goals, the organization meets weekly at the VFW Mead-Allen Post in Beloit and all incoming participants complete 26 hours of training of subjects outlined by the Young Marine National Headquarters.
In an effort to give back to the community, the youth participate in local events and give a helping hand. Some of those activities include: Placing flags on veterans’ graves and visiting veterans in nursing homes and hospitals on holidays. Volunteering for the Special Olympics Chili Cook-Off Fundraiser cleaning-up crew, Salvation Army bell ringing and Earth Angels and SA Christmas gift giving to families. They also participate in the Memorial Day parade and offer Color Guards for community events.
Educational components include classes and projects in fire prevention, CPR and basic advanced First Aid, conservation, public speaking and more
For more information:
New participants are recruited year around. Those interested in more information or in becoming part of the program can reach Commander Martin at 815-218-7672.