The holiday season is upon us. Each of you have your plans and will soon be running about with your packages wrapped in fancy paper, visiting family and friends. As we travel this season, I hope that each of us will be safe and return to our next set of activities having had a joyful holiday. I hope each of you finds a list of a million things for which to give thanks as you feast on whatever delights your gathering enjoys most. I also hope each of you is blessed with your heart's desire this Christmas. (Or whichever tradition your family holds dear.)
As we go through this joyous season, let us all remember who we are and what we stand for. Whether in uniform, in your jeans, or in your Sunday best, remember that you are Young Marines. Hold your head a little higher, show your smile a little more, shake a hand with vigor, and demonstrate the meaning of your Young Marines creed and obligation. You new kids practice both, because you will be tested. And you kids that have been around a while, be ready to help the new Young Marine recruits as they work on their goals.
I know I speak for all of our command staff and your youth staff when I say that we care about each of you like family. That is what sets us apart from other youth organizations: we are a family. We are dedicated to the uplifting and guidance of each new recruit as well as the continued success of our emerging leaders. Like a family, we will have our moments of disagreement, of struggle, and those times when we just really don't want to share a tent with someone. But, it is the honor, the respect, the company of strong leaders, and our dedication to excellence that gets us through the rough patches. We share a desire to see each of you become the leaders of the community we know you can be. And we dedicate ourselves to that mission.
Like a family, sometimes we need gentle reminders of our manners and behaviors. Take those moments as what they are; the constructive criticism of a concerned member of the family. In that spirit, I and our command staff have seen an uptick in back talk and bickering in the ranks. Respect for rank and seniority should always be first in the mind of a Young Marine. This means toward your leadership, your fellow Young Marines, and ESPECIALLY your parents. Remember that the assessment points for your attitude come mostly from your parents when you are being considered for advancements. But that is plenty of "reminder" for now.
Let me state again how much we care about each of you, our Capital Area Young Marines. We will be planning a new year of events, fundraisers, camp outs, and learning experiences, that will give each of you an opportunity to demonstrate the strong character, the deep determination, and the will to succeed that already have you head and shoulders above other youth. We see it in you because you had the strength to join our organization, to work through boot camp drills, and Gunny Yehl's killer PT sessions.
Happy Holidays and Semper Fidelis!