Young Marines land at Plain City pool swim training
By Jennifer Jenkins
For The Press
Plain City’s public pool was a popular place for area residents seeking to beat the heat this past weekend.
Pool staff and guests got an extra surprise on Sunday, Aug. 26, when they shared the pool with the Central Ohio Young Marines, who were conducting swim qualification and water survival training.
Young Marines can earn uniform ribbons by demonstrating their mastery of several levels of swim challenges. Sixteen of the unit’s youngsters were tested on their ability to perform a variety of swim strokes. Swimming is just one of many types of activities and events for which Young Marines can earn uniform ribbons, helping them to earn promotions to advance through the ranks.
Once the Young Marines’ swim qualification training was complete, Joe Bennett, unit training officer, provided a lesson on Marine Corps swim survival techniques. Bennett, who served in the Marine Corps from 1995-98, demonstrated how U.S. Marines are trained to use an everyday set of camouflage trousers as a floatation device, and how a camouflage blouse can be inflated with air to help a swimmer stay afloat.
“Strengthening the lives of America’s Youth” is the motto of the Young Marines program. This goal is accomplished by providing boys and girls age 8 through high school graduation with quality youth development programs that promote a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.
Upon joining a local Young Marines unit, youth undergo a 26-hour orientation program, which is spread out over several meetings. During this initial Young Marines “boot camp” training, youth learn general subjects such as history, customs and courtesies, close order drill, physical fitness, and military rank structure. During the routine meetings that follow initial training, Young Marines have the opportunity to learn more new skills, earn rank, wear the Young Marines uniform and work toward ribbon awards for achievement in areas such as leadership, community service, swimming, academic excellence, first aid, and drug resistance education.
More fun and challenging training and events are in store for these local Young Marines, who are blazing the trail as plank holders of Greater Columbus’s only Young Marines unit. Meetings are typically held Tuesday evenings at the Plain City Pleasant Valley Joint Fire Department building, 650 W. Main St., Plain City. A new recruit class is planned for Fall 2012.