The Official Website of the Eno RiverYoung Marines

Strengthening The Lives Of America's Youth.

General Information


Young Marine units are organized into local units located in nearly every state in the United States.  Each unit is an independent community-based programs lead by dedicated adult volunteers.  Many of these volunteers are former, retired, active duty, or reserve Marines who believe passionately that the values they learned as Marines had a positive affect on them.  They volunteer their time and make every effort to pass those positive values on to those under their charge before other destructive influences take root.


Upon joining a local Young Marine unit, the youth undergoes a demanding 26-hour orientation program, generally spread out over several weekly meetings.  This orientation program is affectionately called "Boot Camp."  The youth learn the general Young Marine subjects such as history, close order drill, physical fitness, customs and courtesies, and military rank structure.

After graduating from "Boot Camp", the Young Marine continue the character building process and begin a life-long pursuit as productive and contributing citizens in their community, During the summer months, Young Marines have the opportunity to attend Summer Programs of Adventures, Challenges, Encampments, and Schools (SPACES) offered by the National Headquarters.


Although the Young Marines is the U.S. Marine Corps' official youth program to the Department of Defense for youth Drug Demand Reduction, the Young Marines is not a recruiting force for the U.S. Marine Corps.  We strive to instill the core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment adopted by the Marine Corps to each of our members.


If you find that there is no Young Marine unit near you.  You may consider starting a new unit in your community. All the information is provided and it is very easy and rewarding to watch Young People grow in the program and become a positive influence in your community.


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History of the Young Marines


After World War II, members of the Marine Corps League discussed the possibility of establishing a Marine Corps League youth program as a civic project for detachments and to create interest in the League. For historical purposes, the birth of the Young Marines was in Waterbury, Connecticut in 1958. The official charter was issued on 17 October 1965 and thereafter the program spread throughout the country. Although chartered as a League Sponsored Organization, the Young Marines began to function as a subsidiary organization independently in 1974. In 1975 membership was extended to included participation of females so that all youth could benefit. By 1978 the Young Marine bylaws were approved and adopted. In 1980 the Young Marine program was granted the status as a Youth Educational Organization with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) classification of 501(C)3. In July 1993 the United States Marine Corps designated the Young Marine Program as "The focal organization for fulfilling its participation in the Department of Defense's Drug Demand Reduction Activities." Marine Corps Order 5000.20 officially recognized the Young Marines and published policy to support the program.

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1958    First Young Marine Unit (Young Marines of Waterbury) 

             formed in Waterbury, CT by members of the Brass City

             Detachment of the Marine Corps League.


1960    Young Marines of Waterbury grow to 300 Young Marines

             and 20 adult instructors.


1962    The Young Marines program grows to over 1500 boys in

             10 cities and towns and gains national attention.


1965    Officially chartered on October 17, 1965 by the Marine

             Corps League and becomes a national youth program.  

             October 17, 1965 is the official birthday of the Young



1974    Chartered as a subsidiary organization of the Marine

             Corps League.


1975    Membership is extended to females.


1977    Young Marines governing body is elected and the Young Marines National

             By-laws are adopted.


1978    National By-laws approved at the Marine Corps League.


1980    Young Marines granted not-for-profit status as a youth educational organization by the Internal 

             Revenue Service classification of 501(c) 3.


1993    Young Marines grow to 1,000 Young Marines and 300 adults in 45 units and becomes the focal

             point for the U.S. Marine Youth Drug Demand Reduction Program.


1995    Young Marines become international with units forming in Okinawa, Japan.


1999    Young Marines Board of Directors hire retired Lieutenant Colonel Michael Kessler as the first             

             National Executive Director.  First Young Marine Unit is formed in Alaska. 


2000    Young Marines program expands to over 200 units in 38 States with over 11,000 Young Marines 

             and nearly 2,000 adult volunteers. 


2000    Young Marines participate in Youth Restoration Corps project along the Russian River in Alaska

             restoring Salmon Habitat.


2001    Summer Program of Adventures, Challenges, Encampments, and Schools (SPACES) is introduced 

             with over 3,300 Young Marines participating.


2001    Young Marine units are formed at U.S. bases in Germany for military dependents.


2002    An affiliation formed between the Young Marines and the Australian Young Marines.


2002    Young Marines join with Army Cadets from Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, and

             Sweden in its first cultural foreign exchange program. The Young Marines welcome a very special 

             new member to its ranks, Chester, our puppy bulldog mascot.


2003   The Young Marines introduce their new celebrity spokesperson, R. Lee Ermey.

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