CAMP PENDLETON — Camp Pendleton hosted the fifth annual Monarchs for Marines Football and Dance Camp at the base’s Paige Fieldhouse, July 23.
The Monarchs for Marines service organization was developed in 2006 to support the families of 1st Marine Division’s deployable Marines and sailors. Student athletes from the Mater Dei High School’s athletic program volunteered to teach children football and dance skills in an effort to promote youth fitness.
“It gives him big boys to look up to,” said Suzette Sumamg, who brought her 7-year-old son to participate in the activities. “This is the second year we have taken advantage of Monarchs for Marines. It’s a great program.”
The student volunteers with the Mater Dei Athletics group receive community service hours for working hard and acting as mentors for the all-day event. Boys ages 4 to 18 participated in multiple football training drills, while the girls learned dance routines that their groups performed at the end of the day for family members.
“The younger kids look up to us,” said Chase Forrest, a student volunteer who helped out with the football activities. “I like knowing I can inspire these kids to be involved in sports.”
Jan Hirota, a mother of a student volunteer, couldn’t wait to be a part of the program.
“It’s an opportunity to try something new and fun,” said Hirota. “It’s nice to see kids doing something that doesn’t involve them spending countless hours in front of the TV.”
During the camp, student athletes also stressed the importance of staying active over the summer and provided information regarding nutrition and fitness.
“It was an experience to remember,” Forrest said. “It’s very important that we pass down this information to the children; it’s everyone’s responsibility to influence the youth of the nation and point them in the right direction.”
For more information on Monarchs for Marines, contact Marine Corps Community Services at (760) 763-5519, or visit materdei.org/football/html/m4m.html.