Cleveland's youth learn leadership skills from Marines

CLEVELAND - The Marine Corps has taken Cleveland and Brook Park's youth under its wings during Marine Week.

Dozens of children, 9 to 15 years old, are participating in the Marines' week-long Young Leadership Seminar.

Children from Brook Park, Cudell, Gunning, Lonnie Burten and Zelma George Recreation Centers were broken up into small groups on Monday. Each group has spent 8 hours a day (Monday through Friday) under the guidance and supervision of a captain in the Marine Corps.

The Marines are taking the kids and young adults around downtown Cleveland to various Marine Week activities and exhibits.

They are also teaching them important values about being a strong leader, such as endurance, courage, judgment, decisiveness and integrity.

"The idea behind this Young Leadership Seminar is that all of the Marine Corps' principles transcend into the real world, whether it's at school or on the basketball court," said Capt. Adrian Williams, of the Baltimore, Md. Recruiting Station.

The Marines hope they're instilling life-long lessons in the future leaders of America and the kids seem to be very receptive.

"The whole experience has been exciting, to see the aircrafts, how the Marines train and prepare for war. I've learned a lot this week," said Thaila Belton, of Cleveland.

"My favorite part was taking turns being platoon and squad leaders," said Ariana Suarez, of Cleveland.

The seminar isn't just about leadership. It's also about exercise and physical fitness. Kids are learning how to do Marine-style push-ups, pull-ups and crunches.

"It's been challenging. It's not as easy as the Marines make it look on TV," said Die'Shauna Harrison, of Cleveland.

On Saturday, everyone will have a chance to put their week of training to the test. At 7 a.m., the children will be participating in the Cleveland Police Chase 3 mile run or 1 mile walk throughout the streets of Cleveland. They'll also be taking the Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Saturday's events are open to the public.

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