Las Vegas recruiters take over schools
By Sgt. Mike Camacho
| 12th Marine Corps District | April 01, 2003
RECRUITING STATION SAN DIEGO --
Recruiters face constant barriers when trying to recruit highly qualified young men and women. Whether it's the teacher, parent or friend; there seems to always be a naysayer in all that recruiters strive to achieve with the youth of America. Much of this added weight could be contributed to the many misconceptions and stereotypes about the Marine Corps and its way of life. However, recruiters fight this uphill battle on a daily basis, and in the Marines, they do it well. One example of this is Recruiting Station San Diego, Recruiting Substation North Las Vegas' Marine Corps Day.
The recruiters of Northern Las Vegas, led by SSgt. Donald Sheldon, have created an event designed to break down the barriers of misconception with the valuable tool of education. The event uses Marines of several different job types and showcases them in front of a group of students studying a curriculum similar to the instructing Marines' job field.
For example, Marines gave classes in computers, journalism, photography, physical education as well as school to career talks. The added benefit of the event was that the students could see that there is more to the Marine Corps than pulling a trigger. Marines, while reinforcing the rifleman mentality, showed that the Corps could develop young challenge seekers into professionals with competitive job skills.
"Perception is everything," said Sheldon. "This event helps the recruiters build an honest perception of Marine Corps to these students."
Not only did the recruiting substation use Marines as testimonies, they also had some static displays on hand to add to the interaction between student and Marine. Three Marines from 4th Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion displayed their hummer with the stinger missile system, called an Avenger.
"The green hummer with the missile system is awesome, I wish I had one," laughed Angela Brodam, a sophomore at Mojave High School.
Two Drill Instructors from 3rd Recruit Training Battalion demonstrated the new Marine Corps Martial Arts Program to numerous physical education classes. They also helped motivate chin up challengers.
Students bounced through the inflatable obstacle course, while the district Hummer played music in its high-end stereo system. Some students even dared to take the Marine Corps Chin Up Challenge to earn incentive items.
All in all, the Marines gave the students a true "Marine Corps Day".
"The Marines went all out," said John Thompson, a senior at Mojave High School. "This is the most fun I've had at school all year."
This is the second time Sheldon has implemented this program. Initially he used it while he was a canvassing recruiter. Now, as an NCOIC, he is helping to shape the battleground for his canvassing recruiters.
"You have to be a go-getter in this job," said Sheldon. "The more Marine Corps exposure that a recruiter gives to a high school, the more interest he will spark within those few who desire to be better."
Marine Corps Day landed in two major high schools and a community college. Sheldon plans on making next year's Marine Corps Day even bigger.