The FRA Youth Activities program is an excellent opportunity for shipmates to focus on our future leaders. The purpose of the program is to serve the youth in local communities and guide the young generation in their endeavors to become better and more productive citizens. To make this program work, it is up to our shipmates to become involved in programs such as scouting, athletic teams, science and technology clubs and youth military programs, as well as tutoring and mentoring. Here are some recent highlights of FRA’s involvement in youth activities.
Several branches support youth military programs, which help to build character and promote mental, moral, and physical development. The most notable youth military programs are high school Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC), Sea Cadets and Young Marines. The Young Marines, for example, is open to all youth ages 8 through completion of high school. Membership requires the student to be in good standing in school. There are currently 300 units with 10,000 youth and 3,000 adult volunteers in 40 states, the District of Columbia, and Japan. Many of our shipmates volunteer hours, give donations and present awards to cadets who have achieved greatness. If you would like more information about the Young Marines, go to www.youngmarines.com.
Sponsoring sporting events for youth participation is another wonderful opportunity to create a spirit of competitiveness and camaraderie among future leaders. Many of our branches support Little League, youth football, basketball and soccer, Soap Box Derby, martial arts teams, and more. Shipmate Anthony Jackson, secretary of Branch 6 (Baltimore, Maryland) was presented the 2014 Shipmate of the Year award in Youth Activities for his support of the Riley Hawkins Avengers Karate Club. He volunteered over 1,000 hours of his time and donated $1,300 to purchase uniforms and other supplies for the participants. More than 45 students (age seven and above) learn martial arts skills, including team building and self-discipline, that apply throughout their lives.
The Soap Box Derby team sponsored by Branch 24 in Annapolis has been competing in the District of Columbia competition for more than 15 years. PRPEC Don Hoover, along with branch and unit members and other volunteers, assists the youth in preparing the cars and themselves for the competition. Two participants will represent the FRA at the 2015 All American Soap Box Derby in Akron, Ohio. Here’s hoping they win first place in their respective car classes!
Scouting for both girls and boys is always a sure winner for our shipmates to support young people in their local communities, but there are other, non-traditional ways to be involved with youth activities. Participating in a Youth ID program in conjunction with your local police department is one such program, offering parents a way to document their children’s personal information for use if a child should be lost or missing.
Speaking of unique ways to participate, how about volunteering to mentor a high school robotics team? Shipmate Michael Hurst (Branch 24, Annapolis, Maryland) is an engineering mentor for the Wheaton High School First Robotics Competition (FRC) Team 5115. The team has only been in existence for two years, but made a good showing in the 2015 Chesapeake Regional FIRST Robotics Competition in April, competing against larger and more experienced teams to design and build a robot. Shipmate Hurst volunteered more than 100 hours to assist the team and he is seeking other volunteers in the local community to work with the team for the 2016 competition.
FRA’s annual Americanism Essay Contest is another way to support area youth, as is involvement with area Toys 4 Tots toy drives in local communities. Support your youth programs to the max because the growth of our future leaders depends on your mentoring, tutoring, expertise and knowledge of life. Make it count!
Penny Collins is FRA’s Director of Membership Development and a member of FRA Branch 24 in Annapolis, Md. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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FRA New Life Members
FRA congratulates the following shipmates who have become Life Members during the second quarter of 2015, including their branch number or their designation as a Member-at-Large (MAL). Call 1-800-FRA-1924 to learn how you can become a Life Member of FRA.