Orlando Devil Dogs Named Young Marines National ‘Unit of the Year’ and a Winner of the DEA’s Enrique "Kiki" Camarena Award

The Young Marines youth organization named the Orlando Devil Dogs the national “Unit of the Year.” In addition, the Orlando Devil Dogs was named one of six unit winners of the Enrique "Kiki" Camarena Award for their drug demand reduction education efforts.

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The Young Marines is a national non-profit youth education and service program for boys and girls, age eight through the completion of high school.

The Young Marines is a national non-profit youth education and service program for boys and girls, age eight through the completion of high school.

We strongly believe in the tenets of the drug awareness program, so we decided to give it intense focus and our very best effort. We put in more than 1,000 hours on Red Ribbon Week alone.

Washington D.C. (PRWEB) June 10, 2013

The Young Marines youth organization named the Orlando Devil Dogs from Division 3 in Florida the national “Unit of the Year.” Under the command of John Gionet, the unit meets in Orlando, FLA. The announcement was made at the annual Adult Leaders Conference held May 18, 2013, in Reno, NV.

In addition and at the same conference, the Orlando Devil Dogs was named one of six unit winners of the Enrique "Kiki" Camarena Award which was presented by William Walker, deputy assistant administrator and special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This award honors six Young Marines units for their drug demand reduction education efforts through community education and peer-to-peer role modeling.

The Young Marines organization is divided into six divisions across the United States. Each Young Marine unit is led and guided by adult volunteers, some of whom have had careers in the military.

The Orlando Devil Dogs is composed of 50 Young Marines and 19 adult volunteers. According to unit commander Gionet, the unit made a commitment to work as a team on drug demand reduction education far more than the minimum required which is 3 hours per quarter per Young Marine.

“We strongly believe in the tenets of the drug awareness program, so we decided to give it intense focus and our very best effort,” Gionet said. “Each Young Marine gave far more than the minimum, averaging 20 or more hours annually, and we put in more than 1,000 hours on Red Ribbon Week alone.”

National Red Ribbon Week, held each October, teaches school children and youths to avoid drug use. It was established in memory of Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) who was murdered in the line of duty in 1985.

The Orlando Devil Dogs ramped up its awareness campaign which gets information to the general public about the dangers of drug abuse. In addition, seven adult volunteers in the unit became Project Alert-certified instructors in drug awareness, and several senior Young Marines are actively seeking certification.

It is these efforts that resulted in the unit being named the national “Unit of the Year” and a winner of the Enrique "Kiki" Camarena Award.

“The Orlando Devil Dogs put forth an amazing effort this year, and I congratulate the unit’s Young Marines and adult volunteers on being named national ‘Unit of the Year’,” said Mike Kessler, national executive director and CEO of the Young Marines. “They clearly demonstrate the spirit and work ethic needed to create the critical mass necessary to reduce destructive social norms and promote positive social behaviors.”

The five other division units named as Units of the Year are:

  •     Div 1 - Blackstone Valley (MA) - meeting location Milford, MA
  •     Div 2 - Shenandoah Valley (VA) - meeting location Winchester, VA
  •     Div 4 - Mountain View (CO) - meeting location Centennial, CO
  •     Div 5 - Genesee County (MI) -meeting location Burton, MI
  •     Div 6 - Southeast County (CA) meeting location Seal Beach, CA

The five other division winners of the Enrique "Kiki" Camarena Award are:

  •     Division 1 - Blackstone Valley Young Marines; Milford, Massachusetts
  •     Division 2 - Colonel Wesley Fox Young Marines; Sterling, Virginia
  •     Division 4 - Mountain View Young Marines; Centennial, Colorado
  •     Division 5 - Midwest Central Young Marines; Deer Creek, Illinois
  •     Division 6 - Clovis Young Marines; Clovis, California

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.


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