Young Marines seeking 'A Few Good 'Kids'' Print E-mail
Thursday, 27 September 2007
Pulaski County Young Marine recruits prepare to cross a rope bridge while going through the confidence course at Training Area 97. The organization is designed to help students gain self-confidence, self-esteem and helps encourage patriotism. A meeting for potential, new recruits is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m., tonight in Bldg. 708. Courtesy photo
Respect, self-discipline and patriotism -- three virtues taught in military training -- and virtues a small group of volunteers are helping develop in children through the "Pulaski County Young Marines" program.

"With the help of Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jose Escarsega, a small group of volunteers formed what we now know as "The Pulaski Young Marines" or "Raiders" in August 2005," said Steve Nutter, program commanding officer.

Following retirement, Nutter was searching for a organization to become involved with and for him, helping start the Young Marines seemed like the perfect way to contribute positively to the community.

"After my retirement, I wanted to stay involved with the military structure and help kids and this seemed the perfect fit," Nutter said.

"The youth of today are sometimes forgotten and left to discover things on their own," Nutter said. "This program will challenge them to do things they never thought possible -- both physically and mentally. I believe it will give them structure and consistency that many of them are searching for."

There are five distinct goals of the Young Marine program. First, the program exists to help inspire and develop youth with positive re-enforcement.

Second, the program helps develop self-esteem and discipline through various challenges and activities. Third, children are instilled with patriotism and respect for the American flag. Fourth, children are helped to become responsible young citizens. And finally, through the development of responsibility, the program inspires children to serve their community and helps give them an outlet to provide community service whenever possible.

Young Marine Lance Cpl. Steven Nordlof, 11, said he was inspired to become a young Marine to develop better self-discipline.

"(I've learned) to take responsibility for my actions, and that I can do things that I never thought I could do," he said.

Although, through the organization, children sometimes develop a desire to serve the country through military service, Nutter is quick to point out that the organization is not a recruiting tool for the Marines.

"The Young Marines is based on a military structure, but it is not the Marine Corps," Nutter said. "It is not a recruiting tool for the Marine Corps, and it is not an "in your face" program for troubled youth. This is a youth education program that focuses on discipline and emphasizes character building and leadership. It shows the benefits of a healthy and drug-free lifestyle and better prepares them to continue as a productive and contributing citizen of the community.

"I believe that there is a leader in all of us, and this program, like others, helps to bring out that leader. It helps them to find their place in society. It can develop their strengths and helps overcome their weaknesses. It teaches teamwork and builds camaraderie and will bring them in contact with other Young Marines around the country with like interests."

The Pulaski County Young Marines are getting ready to kick off their next recruit training cycle (boot camp) Oct. 12, for children ages 8 to 18. A parents informational meeting and sign-up is scheduled to take place from 6 to 8 p.m., tonight in Bldg. 708. Nutter said he would be thrilled to see more children sign-up for the program, but would also like to encourage volunteers to take part as well.

"This program can not survive without the volunteers that provide this leadership," Nutter said. "This group of dedicated citizens consists of active duty Marines and Sailors, former and retired Marines and civilians. Their personal mission is much like the mission of the Young Marines program and is what has brought them together. We are always looking for more of these dedicated people willing to support this effort.

For more information, contact Nutter at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or 573.528.4479 or 563.6200.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 27 September 2007 )