Marie Smith of the North San Diego Young Marines Receives National Honor
Washington DC—The Young Marines, a national youth organization, has named Marie Smith the “National Adult Volunteer of the Year” at the annual Adult Leaders Conference on May 6 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
An Oceanside, California, resident, Smith is the Adjutant of the North San Diego Young Marines. The unit has 46 active youth members and 15 registered adult volunteers. It meets at the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum in Vista, California.
“When I look around at my peers and all their amazing contributions to the Young Marines, I am humbled to have been selected as the National Adult Volunteer of the Year,” Smith said. “I applaud all adult volunteers who give their time, energy and resources to lead and shape the lives of our youth.”
Smith became an adult volunteer in 2012. However, she has been around the program for more than two decades, because her two older children were Young Marines. Her youngest son joined as soon as he was eligible.
“I love that the Young Marines gives me the opportunity to experience amazing things with my son,” she said. “When most teenagers are pulling away from their parents, we have a commonality, something to share and experience together.”
The Young Marines organization is divided into six divisions across the United States. Each Young Marine unit is led and guided by adult volunteers. No military participation – past or present – is required. There are nearly 3,000 active and registered adult volunteers with The Young Marines.
Annually, one adult volunteer is selected from each division. From these six winners, one is named the official “National Adult Volunteer of the Year.”
Other division winners are:
- Division 1 – Joe Couture, Natchaug River Young Marines, Danielson, Connecticut
- Division 2 – Jerry Kepich, Southern Maryland Young Marines, Chesapeake Beach, Maryland
- Division 3 – Sylvia Barber, South Florida Young Marines, Davie, Florida
- Division 4 – Amy Mathews, Jefferson Parrish Sheriff’s Office Young Marines, Kenner, Louisiana
- Division 5 – Tracey Gurley, Hendricks County Young Marines, Pittsboro, Indiana
“Anyone who is looking for an extracurricular activity for their kids won’t find a better one than the Young Marines,” Smith said. “The youth members gain the knowledge and the confidence to go into the schools and communities to teach the benefits of drug demand reduction, demonstrate respect for the flag and be productive and proactive members of society.”
“Marie’s passion and determination really stand out in all that she has done for her unit along with her support to regional and national program events.” said Col William P. Davis USMC (Ret), national executive director and CEO of the Young Marines. “She is a wonderful mentor and teacher, reflecting all the best traits of our phenomenal Adult Volunteers who work tirelessly throughout the year on behalf of our Young Marines.”
“You see these 8 to 18-year-old kids with fears and perceived limitations and watch them transform,” Smith said. “I’m able to share in those accomplishments. They are my kids. We’re family. I am so proud of all of them.”
About the Young Marines
The Young Marines is a national non-profit 501c (3) youth education and service program for boys and girls, age eight through the completion of high school. The Young Marines promotes the mental, moral and physical development of its members. The program focuses on teaching the values of leadership, teamwork and self-discipline, so its members can live and promote a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.
Since the Young Marines’ humble beginnings in 1959 with one unit and a handful of boys, the organization has grown to 275 units with 9,200 youth and 2,760 adult volunteers in 40 states, the District of Columbia and Okinawa with affiliates in other countries.
For more information, visit the official website at: http://www.YoungMarines.com.