Fallon residents Dennis Hansberry and Harry Hines take pride in the Marine Corps slogan — “The few, the proud” — and they hope to generate more numbers to help their goal to lift the Young Marines Program off the ground in Fallon.
The Young Marines is a youth education and service program for boys and girls ages 8 through the completion of high school. It is the official youth program of the U.S. Marines, according to Hines, who along with Hansberry, are working with the High Desert Detachment of the Marine Corps League to start in the Northern Nevada area.
Hansberry is the commanding officer and Hines serves as the executive officer.
“We’ve been working on this off and on for about five years,” Hines said. “It’s a great program that focuses on character building, leadership and promotes the mental, moral and physical development of its members.”
Currently, the program has no units in Nevada. The primary obstacle so far has been recruiting staff members and finding a home base of operations.
“We’re a 501-C type program so everything is done through volunteer services,” Hines said. “We are looking for adult volunteers to help get this program up. We are also looking for a building to hold meetings, store supplies and allow us room to grow.
“When we first started talking about this, there was a lot of interest. A lot of those kids have moved on, but there’s still interest. We talk to parents all the time and if we get this going, we’ll have the kids.”
Hines envisions the program being able to eventually spread across Northern Nevada.
“What we’re looking at is to get it off the ground in Churchill County,” he said. “Once we do that, we’d like to expand to Mineral County, Carson City, Douglas County, Washoe County, Lyon County ...”
That is still just one step toward seeing the program become reality.
“We’ve got to have parental support,” Hines said. “The more parents we can get involved, the more kids we can handle and we’ll be able to offer more.”
Hines compared the program to Boy Scouts in terms of youth having opportunities to rise through the ranks and to earn merit awards.
“The ultimate goal is for them to manage this thing themselves,” he said. “We want to teach first-aid, teach camping and boating. We want to make them independent and to learn how to take care of themselves in the elements. We do teach them respect, leadership, to get along with each other, the importance of teamwork and comradeship.”
“Ultimately, that is the goal,” Hines said. “We want to get the kids helping other people. There are people who are elderly or disabled who need help cleaning a house, walking a dog or just someone to escort them to the store to go shopping. It gives the kids a feeling of being worthwhile.”
Another goal is to have the program become involved with Toys for Tots, he said, adding “So they can see the other side of Christmas.”
Anyone interested in assisting the program or would like information may call Hines at 775-423-6415 or Hansberry at 775-423-5099 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.