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This year marks the forty-ninth year since we were chartered by the Marine Corps League and the fifty-fifth year since a few hard charging Marines in Waterbury, Connecticut, put a plan together for a bunch of boys to be a part of something special. And today we continue to be something special because of your hard work and dedication to the vision of those Marines so many years ago. Our history is one to be proud of and it's a history that all Young Marines should know and appreciate. Those in 1959 who took the time to do something with and for their communities laid the groundwork for who we are today. And today our volunteers, the critical element in the program, are committed to doing the same thing as the Marines of 1959. And each passing year adds another notch in the belt of history. In fact our newly created Young Marines Alumni Association already has over one thousand joins on the Alumni Facebook page, a true testament to the impact this organization has had on those who came before. 2014 has truly been a banner year in many regards, perhaps the best year ever. Aside from the Alumni Association, we have formally established the Young Marines National Foundation and the Joint Military Youth Caucus. We had our first "official" National Encampment that by all accounts was well organized and a lot of fun. Our Young Marines Leadership Symposium will assemble and focus on making our National Leadership Academy a true work of art demonstrating, yet again, the commitment of our senior Young Marines leaders. Each year I am encouraged at the amazing things our units do all across the country. I hear time and again from casual observers and community leaders how truly grateful they are to have such disciplined, polite members of the community contribute time and energy to their veterans, children in need, drug demand reduction training, and essentially setting the example for their peers. As my time begins to wind down, I will forever be reminded of how well you have represented the organization and how proud I have been in being allowed to be a part of something so very special. As you celebrate tonight, thank those who had the vision to start the Young Marines, and then thank your adult volunteers for agreeing to carry the torch into a future that is as bright as ever.
Michael B. Kessler
National Executive Director
© 2007 Young Marines National HQ