Fox Valley Young Marines Boot Camp 

Although we use the term "Boot Camp," it should not be considered anything akin to the traditional Marine Corps Boot Camp training. Quite the contrary, it is simply a twenty-six hours syllabus required by national headquarters for one to graduate and become a Young Marine Private. It is supervised by our unit staff, but as we grew in size and gained some senior Young Marines, they now teach the classes. Young Marines join the unit as recruits, and while they are awaiting the scheduling of a Boot Camp, which occurs once a year depending on the number of recruits we have, they learn many of the subjects from their fellow Young Marines. Therefore, we are normally able to conduct a boot camp during a two or three-day encampment.
Our First  
On Saturday, 20 August 2016 at 1000, twenty-two eager and excited Young Marine Recruits gathered with their proud parents at the Elgin VFW to participate in our first Boot Camp graduation ceremony. They received the Basic Ribbon showing they had passed the rigorous and demanding twenty-six hours syllabus, and were promoted to the grade of Private. Additionally, nearly all received their Physical Fitness ribbon. Several other special awards were presented as well. Private Grace Mielke was presented with the Honor Graduate Award and meritoriously promoted to Private First Class. Of these twenty-two who "thought this is what they wanted, only three are left today, three have transferred due to the family moving.

Our Second

Then again on 11 December 2016, eleven more graduated and became proud Young Marine Privates. Pvt Ben Krause was the Honor Graduate and was meritoriously promoted to Private First Class.  Of the eleven, only two are left and two transferred due to family moves. Ben Krause is currently a United States Marine.

​​Our Third

Then again on 29 July 2017, we celebrated our third Boot Camp graduation with another group of eight becoming proud Young Marine Privates. Pvt Christian Sanchez was our Honor Graduate and was meritoriously promoted to Private First Class. (No Photo)

​Our Fourth

Our latest Boot Camp was conducted 15 - 17 December 2017 and attended by eight more Young Marines Recruits. We were able this time to have our traditional Graduation Ceremony, on Saturday 30 December, coupled with a massive Awards and Promotion Ceremony. It was attended by parents, grandparents, and friends of our Young Marines. The Honor Graduate was Pvt Miranda Nino, and she was meritoriously promoted to Private First Class. Three other Young Marine Pvts Sean Kenney, Zachary Lyonsford, and Xavier Koczka were also promoted to Private First Class. having passed all their enabling objectives and the PFC test.​​ Of the eight, only one is left today


Our Fifth

On 29 December 2018, we graduated our fifth boot camp of nine Young Marines. This boot camp was somewhat unique as it included five of the seven Garcia children, (Diego 16, Sonia 13, Ana Maria 12, Miguel 11, and Gabriel 9). This course also included three Lopez children (Lauren 8, Julian 9, and Liliana 10). Last, but by no means least was Tommy Vargas, age 10. This was one of our best boot camps to-date, lots of hard work by the adult volunteers, especially our Adjutant/Chef Nancy who fed everyone, and our XO, Courtney, and her hubby, Luis, our platoon commander. All the classes were taught by our unit's older Young Marines; quite an achievement for them to have done so. YM/Pvt Lauren Lopez was awarded the Molly Marine Award for scoring the highest on the Physical Fitness Test (PFT) with a blazing of 460 out of a possible 500, quite an accomplishment considering her age. We ended the graduation ceremony by handing multiple awards to deserving YM's, a potluck dinner, and a Christmas Party. It was a grand time for all.
Sadly, as seems to happen, kids and parents find the obligation and committment too much to handle and they drop out. Shortly after boot camp the two Garcia girls dropped out and a few months later the three boys dropped out at the insisteance of their parents.
So, it is what it is. Being a Young Marine should not be taken lightly. Anything worth having is worth working for, and I'm afriad we do not hand out participation trophies or awards.
You may be wondering why I made a point of stating how many from each boot camp are still left today. Well, that's where the saying comes from if everybody could be a Young Marine, it wouldn't be the Young Marines. There is nothing tough, or physically demanding about being a YM. All it takes is a desire to not be one of the crowd, not one of the sheep following the flock, to step away from your peer group, and want to do something with your life. Most of those dropouts joined because they thought it would be "cool" to wear that uniform, only to discover there was a commitment involved - then it wasn't so cool. More than anything we have decided it is a sign of today's generation raised as participation trophy winners. I'm sorry, but you will not get any of those here; quite the contrary, you will earn everything you receive. So, if that's your claim to fame as you are perusing this website, please go somewhere else; we do not have time to coddle you; there really are young people who want to be cool and are ready and willing to work for it. Semper Fi, Courtney