FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. - On a bright and warm sunny morning, a
week away from the Army's 238th Birthday celebration, students from
a local elementary school had the opportunity to spend a day with
soldiers and participate in a variety of Army activities.
Students from Marley Elementary School, located in Glen Burnie, Md., rappel down a 15-foot wall during the U.S. Army Asymmetric Group's Army day with the school
on June 5, 2013 at Fort Meade, Md. Events chosen for the Army day were picked because they not only help build confidence in the students, but also only required organic and home station assets. Twenty-three boys who are members of the elementary school's program, Marley Boys, participated in the event. The events also included a mock abbreviated physical fitness test, drill and ceremony activities, hands on with Army equipment and vehicle displays, a trip to the Fort Meade Museum and concluded with a certificate ceremony. The Army day provide a day for the students to build confidence in themselves, learn about the Army and demonstrate the many options that exists for their futures. (U.S. Army photo by Lt. Col. Sonise Lumbaca)
The U.S. Army Asymmetric Warfare Group hosted an Army day on June
5, 2013 for 23 students from Marley Elementary School located in
Glen Burnie, Md. These particular students belong to a program
within the elementary school known as The Marley Boys.
purpose of the Army day was to introduce the Army and military
service to middle school aged boys. We wanted to give them exposure
to the military, introduction to Army values, teach about personal
responsibility, and the value of teamwork,” said 1st Sgt. Jason
Levy, the Headquarters and Headquarters Company first sergeant.
"Growing up, I attended a military-themed day at a local National
Guard armory. I remember seeing all of the equipment and meeting the
troops. It was something that I always remembered.”
added that having an Army day for the students provided an
introduction to the military to future prospective soldiers. The
events conducted also provided the opportunity for the boys to
increase their personal courage and teamwork of their organization.
According to its website, Marley Boys was founded in the
2009-2010 school year. It was developed when teachers and staff from
Marley Elementary School saw a need for at-risk boys with a high
level of referrals and/or in need of a positive role-model in their
life to begin getting some help.
“When you ask these boys
what do they want to be when they grow up, most of them will respond
that they want to be a football player. We try to get them to think
about what will they do if they don't get that opportunity to get
into the (National Football League). They have to have a backup
plan,” said Diane Williams, one of the program directors.
program tries to give these boys, who ages range from 8-11 years
old, options and some direction early in life, Williams said.
The idea to spend a day with the Army actually came from one of
“At the end of the school year last year, I asked the
boys what trips they would like to take this year. A few of
them responded with visiting an Army base,” said Sandra
Lemoncello a teacher and reading intervention specialist at
the elementary school who work for the program. “And then,
when I mentioned it to the whole group, they were all
excited about it. Many of them never leave Glen Burnie.”
During the event, the boys had the opportunity to
participate in a mock and abbreviated physical fitness test,
learn the various equipment that soldiers use to conduct
their daily missions, what field rations look like, conduct
drill and ceremony activities, and look at military
"The truck was cool! We got to ride in it,
sit inside it and pop our head out the top! It was fun to
ride in,” said 10-year-old Austin Mech, one of the Marley
While the hands on of Army equipment
and physical fitness events seemed to be a big hit with the
students, most agreed that the basic rappelling was by far
the best event.
During the Army day, the students
had the opportunity to harness up and rappel a 15 foot slope
wall managed by Soldiers who safely guided them down.
Ryann Johnson, an 11-year-old, appreciated the fact that
he remained in safe hands. It was important “knowing that
somebody was there so I wouldn't get hurt.”
helped build my confidence for trying new things," he added.
The events were chosen to place the students out of
their comfort zone and create team building while developing
individual and team confidence.
“We also wanted them
to conduct activities that would be new to them,” Levy said.
Events chosen also only required the use of organic and
home station assets.
“We did not have to plan too
much for this event because it is a task that we have
executed before. Since (most AWG members are) familiar with
static displays, equipment layouts, vehicle displays, and
mountaineering, we were able to execute this task with
minimal planning. This event was free to organize and
execute,” Levy said.
To conclude the day's
activities, the students attended the Fort Meade Military
Museum. While there, they had the opportunity to learn about
military history and a variety of historical facts,
equipment and notable military members who significantly
impacted the evolution of today's Army.
Gettysburg exhibit, the tanks and the artifacts from World
War I" were the best part of the museum visit said
11-year-old Eyan Johnson.
Upon conclusion of the
day's activities, the students were presented with AWG
"certificates of participation,” as a memento so that they
have something to look back on to remember the day's event.
“The boys had a fantastic time. They are still talking
about it! The soldiers were so patient with them and that
was nice for the boys. I would love to do this trip again in
the future,” Lemoncello said. “Also, the certificates were
great! The boys loved showing them off when they got back to
school. They were proud of themselves!”
AWG's Army day was a fun filled unique experience that may
have created a plethora of potential future opportunities,
it definitely provided role models that the students can
look up to.
“The Army is cool and exciting. (The
students) learned about the history. And they also left with
a greater respect for the soldiers,” Lemoncello said.
By U.S. Army Lt. Col. Sonise Lumbaca
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