Pasco Young Marines: Shaping Young Leaders and Fostering Patriotism


In an era where youth organizations now more than ever play a crucial role in molding the next generation of leaders, one organization is standing out for its commitment to instilling discipline, leadership, and a sense of patriotism in its members. Pasco Young Marines, with their unwavering dedication and extensive training programs, is quickly and quietly emerging as the premier Patriotic Youth Organization in America

In this article, we delve into the history of the Young Marines, highlighting their key accomplishments and milestones, while also comparing and contrasting their mission and values with other popular youth organizations such as The Boy Scouts and Junior Reserve Officer Training (JROTC).

A Brief History of the Young Marines Organization:

The Young Marines were founded in 1959 in Waterbury, CT by a few former Marines to provide a positive and productive outlet for the nation's youth. 

As one of the founding members said "In the beginning, we just needed some kids to march in a parade and it quickly grew from there". 

Later in 1965 they were established as the "Young Marines of the Marine Corps League," the program quickly gained popularity and expanded across the country. Today, the Young Marines has more than 280 units nationwide, boasting over 10,000 active members.

Interview with Ken Soto,  Unit Commander of  the Pasco Young Marines:

 The Pasco Young Marines was chartered in January of 2018 by Marine Corps Veteran, Ken Soto. 

When asked about the unique aspects of the Pasco Young Marines, Soto highlighted their commitment to both personal growth and community involvement. 

Here a Recruit is working on earning his title of
Young Marine by public speaking about the dangers of drugs
"Our program is designed to challenge young individuals, teaching them discipline, leadership, and patriotism," said Ken Soto. "We also strive to provide opportunities for community service, instilling a sense of duty and responsibility in our members." 

Here New Poole's work on earning the opportunity to be a Recruit.

Pasco Young Marines speaking at 
Chester McKay VFW Post 7987

"You have to want to be here," said Ken Soto. "This is not an organization you simply show up to and join. Every Pasco Young Marine is selected by their peers."   

Mission and Values: A Comparison of Other Youth Organizations

When comparing the mission and values of the Young Marines to other popular youth organizations like The Boy Scouts and Junior Reserve Officer Training (JROTC), distinct differences emerge.

The Boy Scouts of America, founded in 1910, focuses on outdoor skills, character development, and community service. While they share a commitment to fostering leadership qualities, the Young Marines place an additional emphasis on instilling discipline and a sense of patriotism through their association with the United States Marine Corps. Their close affiliation with the Marines enables the Young Marines to incorporate military traditions, physical fitness, and respect for authority into their training programs.

JROTC, on the other hand, is a federal program offered in many high schools across the nation.

It is primarily geared towards preparing students for leadership roles in the military. JROTC provides a comprehensive curriculum, including physical fitness, citizenship, and military science courses. Unlike JROTC, the Young Marines is a separate entity not directly connected to educational institutions, allowing them to offer their training and values to a broader range of young individuals. Young Marines range in age from eight to eighteen years old and is open to both male and female. 


The Pasco Young Marines have consistently demonstrated their commitment to shaping young leaders and fostering patriotism. Through their rich history, notable accomplishments, and distinct mission, they have solidified their position as the premier Patriotic Youth Organization in Pasco County, Fl as they continue to guide and inspire the youth in our area. 

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