Class 25 of the Bossier Sheriff Young Marines will graduate Monday, Sept. 24, at 6:30 p.m. at the Bossier Sheriff's Viking Drive Substation, 2510 Viking Drive in Bossier City.
Forty-seven recruits will graduate after completing 13 weekends of training, which included physical training, team motivation, confidence building skills and more. The guest speaker will be Bossier Sheriff Julian C. Whittington.
During the ceremony, the Young Marines will show off some of the ceremonial skills they have learned, as well as receive awards and promotions. Members of the Floyd L. Baxter Red River Detachment of the Marine Corps League will also make a presentation.
The Young Marines program is a national program founded in 1958 and is the official youth program of the United States Marine Corps. The Bossier Sheriff's Department was the first law enforcement agency in North Louisiana to implement the program a decade ago in December 2002.
Since then, the lives of nearly 1,000 young men and women have been impacted by the Bossier Sheriff Young Marines program.
The local program is open to all Bossier Parish school-aged youth, ages 8-17, and is sponsored and administered by the Bossier Sheriff's Office. Volunteer instructors from the United States Marine Corps assigned to Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 23rd Marines here in Bossier City also train the recruits.
"The support we receive from the Marines here in Bossier is instrumental in molding the lives of these young people," said Deputy Steve Hoff, commanding officer of the Bossier Sheriff's Young Marines.
Hoff, who recently replaced Lt. Norman Craig as the leader of the program, is excited about graduating his first class Monday. The 1980 Parkway High School graduate and eight-year veteran of the Marine Corps also knows what it takes to succeed. "Whether these young people come to us via the juvenile system or because they simply volunteer to try something challenging, my focus is to teach them discipline, teamwork and motivate them to make wise choices. Every young person needs to learn these things," Hoff said.
The next Young Marines class will begin with orientation on Sept. 29 at the Viking Drive Substation. Anyone interested in enrolling in Class 26 can contact the Bossier Sheriff's Office at 965-3500 or go by the Viking Drive Substation during the week to pick up an application.