WORTHINGTON, Minn. (KELO) — We’ve all heard the saying ‘Once a Marine, always a Marine.’
Well, some young kids in Worthington, Minnesota are getting a chance to wear the uniform thanks to a local military organization that recently started a youth program to help kids become tomorrow’s leaders.
It may look like the military, but these kids are not getting recruited.
“We have a lot of youth programs in Worthington but nothing military based,” Dan Harrington, Executive Officer of the Buffalo Ridge Young Marines said.
Dan Harrington and a few other Marine veterans started the Buffalo Ridge Young Marines last October.
He says it’s to teach the younger generation life skills that will transfer well into the real world and make them better citizens and leaders in the community.
“You learn self-discipline and you try things you weren’t willing to try before you went into the military and these are some skills we wanted to teach the kids,” Harrington said.
The Young Marines receive 26 hours of training. Along the way they earn rank, respect and ribbons.
“The Boy Scouts earn patches and Young Marines earn ribbons so some of them get a nice salad bar,
They also have to volunteer so many hours in the community.
Chitt Keo, another Marine veteran, is the unit commander.
“I see a lot of development, in our second training, I told them to set their phones aside before class and I gave them five to 10-minute breaks and they never went back,” Keo said.
He says they wanted to get back into training; training that has an emphasis on teamwork.
“When one messes up they all pay as a team,” Keo said.
In the form of motivational instruction; pushups.
They say it’s not to punish the kids, but to teach them discipline, responsibility and self respect.
“I just want to set an example for these kids where they can grow up and be great leaders,” Keo said.
The Buffalo Ridge Young Marines are looking for new recruits between the ages of 8 and 18 for their next class, which starts in July. To learn more about the Young Marines, click here.