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First group of Devil Pups 2010 train

A 35-foot tower jump into Camp Pendleton’s 43 Area pool on July 22 completed this year’s final Devil Pups’ confidence-enhancing event of the summer.

The Devil Pups program, a nonprofit organization that began in the 1950s, is modeled closely after the Marine Corps’ structure and discipline. Camp Pendleton’s chapter accepts approximately 600 kids, ages 14 to 17, and holds two 10-day sessions every summer.

“We teach the kids how to march, drill and how to use manners when talking to others,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jonathon Collins, Liaison Staff Non Commissioned Officer. “We basically teach them how to walk, talk and become disciplined.”

The tower jump is one of the culminating events for the 10-day program that is designed for teenagers to learn about teamwork, discipline and education.

The jump is part of the overall training and is performed to represent what Marine recruits complete in basic training for a swim qualification, as well as to help them gain confidence.

“At first I didn’t think I could jump off the tower, but after some encouraging words from my platoon guide, I felt comfortable and confident that I would be alright,” said Jared Golding, a Devil Pup recruit. “I learned to never give up because even though things may seem impossible, you just have to believe in yourself.”

Other activities Devil Pup recruits can expect to accomplish include conditioning exercises, first aid instruction, leadership classes, organized recreation, a bivouac (camping out) and physical training.

Additionally, the recruits attend education lectures on the importance of self-confidence, teamwork, the hazards of drug and alcohol abuse and achieving goals in life.

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