MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- The Marine Corps is known as the few and the proud. The ideals of honor, courage, and commitment, which are engrained into every Marine during their initial training, are designed to produce not only excellent war fighters, but quality citizens who lead by example.
Approximately 30 Marines from I Marine Expeditionary Force volunteered to facilitate a Physical Education Fitness Challenge at North Terrace Elementary School on Camp Pendleton March 25, 2016.
The Marines spent the day guiding approximately 750 students through a series of activities a little different from their usual recess.
“We don’t want it to be like boot camp, but it’s a Marine Corps style course,” said Eddie Hadley, the recreation supervisor and assistant base coordinator for the Single Marine Program. “It has some exercise, an obstacle course, and a little running just to give them somewhat of a Marine Corps experience.”
Lydia Meza-Magallanes, a kindergarten teacher at North Terrace Elementary, said the fitness challenge is a great way keep the kids moving.
“Health and fitness are paramount, it’s a quintessential part of education,” said Meza-Magallanes, a native of Fillmore. “They get to do things they’ve never done before. It’s an opportunity to learn new things and have fun at the same time.”
One of the Marines who volunteered said the fitness challenge did a lot more than just encourage students to stay healthy and active.
“The PE Fitness challenge made them more confident about themselves when it comes to overcoming obstacles,” said Cpl. Brianna Robinson, a warehouse clerk with 1st Law Enforcement Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group.
Robinson, a native of Tampa, Fl., also said that seeing the children happy even though they were facing a challenge reminded her to stay positive no matter what obstacles she faces in life. To help inspire students and Marines alike, the Single Marine Program conducts approximately six fitness challenges at schools in the area throughout the school year.
“The Marines are an important part of the Oceanside community,” said Meza-Magallanes. “They give so much and it brings such a smile and enthusiasm to the children.”
Hadley, a native of Lakeland, Florida, explained that the Single Marine Program is not only there to support the Marines, but also to help Marines support the community.
“Volunteering with these events reminds Marines that they’re not just here to do training” said Hadley. “It motivates them to give back to the community and be better citizens even after they get out of the Marine Corps.”
The Single Marine Program, the Chaplain Corps, and other government sponsored programs provide opportunities for Marines to get involved and show that Marines defend the community not only overseas, but right in their own back yard.