The Young Marines was founded in 1959, by the Brass City detachment of the Marine Corps League in Waterbury, CT. The Young Marines was officially chartered on October 17, 1965 and continued its affiliation with the MCL as well as becoming the US Marine Corps drug demand reduction program for youth in July 1993. In 1975 the Young Marines extended its membership to females. In 1995 the program went international with units in Okinawa, Japan.
The Young Marine program was awarded the Fulcrum Shield in 2001. This was the first Fulcrum Shield Award ever bestowed. Since then the Young Marines is a proud nine-time recipient of the Department of Defense's Fulcrum Shield Award for Excellence in Youth Anti-Drug Programs. The award recognizes military-affiliated youth organizations around the world that have made concerted efforts at spreading anti-drug messages throughout their communities.
The Young Marines are different from Junior ROTC units, in that they are not part of a high school and are a 501(c)3 non-profit instead of a government agency. It is open to children from the ages of eight years old through high school. Generally, units meet on local military facilities or other locations such as American Legion, VFW, Churches, Fire or Sheriff Dept. etc. where a building serves as their headquarters and classroom.
Since the Young Marines' humble beginnings, in 1959, with one unit and a handful of boys, the organization has grown to approximately 300 units with 10,000 youth and 3,000 adult volunteers in 40 states, the District of Columbia, and Japan.
Like the Marine Corps, the Young Marines are broken up into 6 divisions, each with multiple regiments, battalions and units. The command is from national, to division, to regiment, to battalion, to unit. Unit commanders must normally be retired or former marines with an honorable discharge, or active or reserve marines in good standing
Our bronze Telly Award-winning video
MCYM was chartered on 12 July 2011. Since the beginning our unit has been very active with providing community service and with activities throughout the Young Marines program. From 2011 to 2019 the Mecklenburg County Young Marines has an average or 25 Young Marines and 5 adult volunteers actively participating. Each semiannual recruit training class has an average of 5 new applicants who will become Young Marines after their training is complete. Our Young Marines and staff average over 1,500 community service hours and 850 Drug Demand Reduction hours per year.
Our unit has earned many awards to include two Unit Commendations, one with gold frame from our National Headquarters, and silver palm from our regiment, Fulcrum Shield award National Headquarters, Marine Corps League Commendation, and Unit of the year with silver palm from the 2nd NC Regiment.