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      Drill sergeants whip little marines into shape

      This camper came dressed to impress / Romney Smith

      Marines go through a lot of physical training to prepare for war and recently children of marines got a taste of that training at 'Camp Little Leatherneck'.

      In its inaugural event 'Camp Little Leatherneck' set out to give children of marines a little taste of basic training. Real Marine drill sergeants marched in and yelled a brief introduction while the kids listened. When commanded to responded "Sir, yes sir" the children were a little sheepish. When the drill sergeants barked "LOUDER!" and the children shouted back an enthusiastic "Sir, YES SIR!".

      Paula Caserio, Marine Corp Family Teambuilding Director says the camp was created so children of the marines could get a little taste of training. "You know to get the flavor, to get the true feeling of the Marine Corps, you know understand what it's about. Teach character, teach the core values of the Corps, and let them just experience it and realize that this is awesome" says Caserio.

      After a short and funny demonstration of drill sergeants yelling at an active duty Marine to do pushups, take on and off his jacket at the same time and do jumping jacks, the little leathernecks were ready for their turn to get physical.

      Parents snapped pictures as campers walked out to a field where the physical events started with an old fashioned tug of war. Then in two groups Marines helped the little leathernecks navigate through a course that included jumping in hula hoops on the ground for agility, and carrying weighted cases to test their strength. Camper Cecelia Lukes says it was harder than she thought. "It was fun, but the things that were in the cases they were very heavy. I don't know what they were, but it was fun and I really enjoyed it" says Lukes

      The next obstacle was rolling a tire for smaller campers and flipping tires for older campers. Then they had to jump over wires tied between soccer goal posts before entering the hand grenade simulator where kids tossed water balloons into a hula hoop 15 feet away. The last activity ended with a lot of laughter because the campers shot water guns at active duty marines.

      Major Sarah Lukes says the day was fun, beneficial, and a great experience for her daughter. "Well I want her to know that these are some of the things that I went through and the discipline and just because someone yells at you doesn't mean you're in trouble. I want her to take that you need discipline, but you need to respect the people that are telling you and directing you into guiding you in the right direction" says Lukes. The event was extra special for her family because Lukes deploys on June 10th, 2012. At 9-years-old her daughter knows she's too young to become a Marine, but says its something she would consider in the future because she likes being strong enough to fight for her country.

      Base officials say they plan to hold the camp again in the future.

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