Three Marines from the women’s All-Marine Volleyball Team visited nine high schools within Recruiting Station Houston’s area of responsibility during the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2011, bringing much needed visibility to the Marine Corps.
Three team members visited several Houston high school campuses, some with gymnasiums filled to capacity, on a city-wide tour to compete in tournaments and conduct class talks with coaches and female high school athletes. The visits brought vision to a seemingly unaware community and boosted recruiting efforts during Operation High Value Targets (HVT), an RS Houston-initiated campaign designed to recruit more qualified females.
“I was amazed and distressed as I went around the area and talked to educators and parents and discovered that many of them did not know we have opportunities for females in the Marine Corps,” said Maj. Jason Borovies, commanding officer of RS Houston.
According to Marine Corps Recruiting Command’s 2011 recruitment plan, the presence of females and female athletes is important because one of the missions of recruiting is to tell a story that will reach, persuade and engage the target audience to learn more about the Marine Corps.
“Getting female Marines out just to demonstrate to the community that these opportunities do exist is vital as we look for physically fit, mentally tough and disciplined young women just as we do with our young men,” Borovies added.
Many administrators and students were surprised to know the Marine Corps not only consisted of women’s athletics, but that many women in the Marine Corps were mothers and college graduates.
“When the recruiter told me that he was interested in bringing the Marine women’s volleyball team to our school, I was looking forward to them being here because I had no idea that the Marine Corps had women’s athletics,” said Terri Wade, the girl’s varsity volleyball coach at Montgomery High School near Conroe, Texas. She said that in addition to their athletic skill level, she was also impressed by their educational background and appearance.
Gunnery Sgt. Vanessa Delgado, an active duty Marine with the Naval Air Technical Data and Engineering Service Command (NATEC) in San Diego, Calif., played on All-Marine volleyball teams in 1996 and 2010. She added that she felt proud to be included in the effort to promote female athletes within the Marine Corps and help to create awareness in a setting that displayed the importance and results of teamwork and discipline.
Although the All-Marine players and their coach, Peter Cruz, spent time on the volleyball court going over drills and assisting the high school athletes with different techniques, they were also able to have one-on-one time to talk about their experiences in the Marine Corps.
“I enjoyed talking with the high school athletes and being a mentor to these young women,” said team captain, Staff Sgt. Nyla James, a reservist with Marine Corps Mobilization Command in New Orleans, La., who is an eight-time All-Marine volleyball player.
Coach Cruz agrees.
“The most important thing for these young girls to realize is that the Marine Corps has various opportunities for them to not only continue their athletic endeavors, but it also allows them the opportunity to further their education and pay for college.”
While the Marines of RS Houston work to help young women take advantage of opportunities in the Marine Corps, they will also work to meet the goals of the command’s specific recruiting operation. Operation HVT will be an ongoing program throughout the fiscal year for RS Houston as recruiters look to continue zeroing in on contracting highly qualified, athletic females.