Q: What is the Young Marines?
A: The Young Marines is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 youth education and service program for boys and girls ages 8 through high school.
The mission of the Young Marines is to positively impact America’s future by providing quality youth development programs for boys and girls that nurtures and develops its members into responsible citizens who enjoy, and promote, a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.
The program focuses on character building through a combination of self-discipline, teamwork and leadership, and promotes a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. Young Marine units are organized into local units located in nearly every state in the United States.
Although the Young Marines is the U.S. Marine Corps’ official focal 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 would like to become a member of the Young Marines, you begin by locating a unit near you. If you find a unit near you, contact the unit directly by using the contact information provided.
A: The Young Marines is for boys and girls ages 8 through completion of high school. The only enrollment requirement is that a youth must be in good standing at school.
A: No. The youths do NOT attend a “military-style” resident program. This is not a program where you send your children for an extended period. On average, units meet once per week year round.
Q: Is the Young Marines similar to other community-based programs?
A: Yes. Young Marine units are community-based programs run by dedicated adult volunteers in over 300 communities across the United States, and overseas. Young Marine units are similar in nature to Boy/Girl Scout councils or Camp Fire chapters where the units meet once a week.
Q: How many Young Marine units are there?
A: There are over 300 Young Marine units nationwide, including international units and affiliates in Okinawa, Japan, Germany and Australia. To find the unit nearest you, visit our unit locator.
A: Each Young Marine unit is a independent community-based program 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 positive values on to those under their charge before other destructive influences take root. New volunteers are always welcome to apply, regardless of whether or not they have a background in the Armed Forces.
A: In 1959, members of the Brass City Detachment of the Marine Corps League formed the very first Young Marine unit, the Young Marines of Waterbury Connecticut. By 1960, the Waterbury unit’s membership had grown to over 300 boys and 20 adult instructors.
The Young Marines started gaining national attention in 1962 when the program had grown to 10 cities with over 1,500 members. The Marine Corps League officially chartered the Young Marines as a national youth organization on October 17, 1965. This date is the official “birthday” of the Young Marines.
By 1975, membership was extended to females and in 1980, the Internal Revenue Service granted the Young Marines status as a not-for-profit 501(c)3 youth educational organization. Since the Young Marines humble beginnings, current membership has grown to over 12,000 youth and 3,000 volunteers in 42 states nationwide, and overseas.
A: To learn more about enrollment dates, unit dues, unit activities, meeting times/locations, etc., contact the unit nearest you directly. (click here for contact information for the Young Marine Unit in Lexington, KY)
Q: Who can I contact if I have more questions?
A: Your best resource is to contact the Young Marine unit nearest you directly. (click here for contact information for the Young Marine Unit in Lexington, KY)