(PRWEB) February 08, 2014
The Young Marines youth organization has named its Division 6 “Young Marine of the Year” – YM SgtMaj Blake W. De Weese, 17, of Beaverton, OR. De Weese is a member of the Oregon Cascade Young Marines of Portland, OR. He is a junior at Westview High School, also in Portland.
“Being named Division 6 Young Marine of the Year is something I take great pride in,” De Weese said. “I also recognize the awesome responsibility that accompanies the honor. I am incredibly humbled.”
He will represent his division in competing with five other regional Young Marines of the Year for the title of National Young Marine of the Year which will be announced at the adult leaders’ conference for Young Marines in June in Washington, D.C. He will have to answer questions about his duties and current events.
He joined the Young Marines at age 11 and currently, he is in his sixth year in the program. He credits the Young Marines for providing a welcoming environment where he could thrive and develop leadership skills. In 2013, De Weese graduated 2nd in his class at the annual Adult Leadership School.
“The Young Marines allowed me to grow and mature at a rate faster than most kids my age,” De Weese said. “The most rewarding aspect is working with other kids and inspiring them to better their lives the way others did for me.”
As a Young Marine of the Year, De Weese is invited to travel to Guam and Iwo Jima for the annual Reunion of Honor trip. He will join the five other division winners named Young Marines of the Year, the two winners of the Young Marines’ annual Jimmie Trimble scholarship; the national Young Marine of the Year SgtMajor Dakota Richter; and Mike Kessler, national executive director and CEO of the Young Marines.
“Being an avid traveler, I am elated about traveling to foreign soil,” he said. “It is a great opportunity to witness firsthand the cultural differences around the world.”
The son of Todd DeWeese and Crystal DeWeese, De Weese is a junior at Westview High School in Portland, OR. For two years he has been a long/triple jumper on the track team. His current hobby is weightlifting. He has a brother and sister.
After he completes high school, De Weese’s goal is to serve with MARSOC (Special Operations Command) in the United States Marine Corps and eventually land a career in espionage for the CIA.
“The Young Marines has empowered me with a vast repertoire of leadership skills,” De Weese said. “I have learned military customs and courtesies as well as other knowledge that will greatly benefit me.”
How it works
The Young Marines organization is divided into six divisions across the United States. Each Young Marine goes through a series of selection processes starting at the unit level, going through battalion, regiment and on to the division. At the division level, the packages (portfolios) of the final candidates are reviewed for consideration.
Annually, one Young Marine of the Year is selected from each division. From these six winners, only one will be named the national “Young Marine of the Year” which will be announced in May, 2014.
Mike Kessler, national executive director and CEO of the Young Marines, calls each division winner to congratulate her or him. Then he invites each to travel to Guam and Iwo Jima for the annual Reunion of Honor trip.
“The trip gives each division winner a chance to showcase the program and the good work done by the Young Marines with veterans,” Kessler said. “The trip serves as an invaluable history lesson unable to be found in any book. Also, I get to know them and see how each interacts with others. If selected as the National YMOY, he or she will work for me, so this piece is important.”
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 over 300 units with 10,000 youth and 3,000 adult volunteers in 46 states, the District of Columbia, Germany, Japan and affiliates in a host of other countries.
For more information, visit the official website at: http://www.YoungMarines.com.