In This Issue:
May is National Military Appreciation Month. Now, before you skeptics start wondering if this is just another holiday invented by Hallmark to sell more greeting cards—it’s not. National Military Appreciation Month, designated by Congress, is a time for Americans to educate each generation on the historical impact of the country’s military and to recognize the contributions of its soldiers. It includes Loyalty Day on the 1st, V-E (Victory in Europe) Day on the 8th, Military Spouse Appreciation Day on the 8th, Armed Forces Day on the 16th and, of course, Memorial Day on the 25th, during which many of you probably march in your town parades to commemorate men and women who died while in military service.
The people in Washington, D.C. who organize events during National Military Appreciation Month have some suggestions about how you and your school can support the military in May and throughout the year. This support is especially valuable while America’s men and women soldiers are stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Maybe these suggestions will inspire you to think of your own patriotic project. NJBIZ, a publishing company in Somerset, has been collecting CDs, DVDs and books on CD for the troops in a project it calls “Tunes 4 the Troops.” Here are a few more ideas: read up and pass them on:
Do you have a friend or classmate who has a parent serving in the military? Or maybe it’s your own mom or dad. Lots of teens do, which inspired a group of military and non-military teens in the state led by New Jersey 4-H to start the statewide “Speak Out for Military Kids” project. The goal of the project is to raise community awareness about the issues facing youth of deployed military parents—parents who leave home to serve in areas of conflict, like Iraq and Afghanistan.
Teens around the state came together to create a “Young Heroes, Military Deployment through the Eyes of Youth” DVD to teach people about the military deployment cycle. The stars of the show are military youth who relate the personal experience of their parents’ deployment. Click here for a clip of the “Young Heroes” video. Check out the “Resource Guide” below for links to information about New Jersey’s Speak Out for Military Kids and how you can extend the learning of the “Young Heroes” video to your school and community. In the meantime, here are a few ways that New Jersey Operation: Military Kids helps military kids to feel connected, active and supported:
At least one New Jersey college is waving its American flag a bit prouder this month thanks to an important vote that potentially gives military vets an advantage once they get to college. Rutgers University-Camden is now applying to become part of Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges Consortium, a group that helps service men and women get college degrees by helping colleges determine what type of credit should be given for experience gained while in the military. Veterans for Education, a group at Rutgers that advocates for the university’s veteran student population, convinced faculty and administrators in April to vote in favor of a measure that will count military training for college credit.
This is especially important as 2,900 members of the New Jersey National Guard return in June from service in Iraq. What’s more, a new GI Bill that goes into effect in August will pay in-state college tuition at schools like Rutgers and offer a stipend for living expenses. According to the Newark Star-Ledger, the bill will also help veterans transfer credits. Currently 28 colleges in New Jersey are part of the Consortium, and Rutgers’ other campuses in New Brunswick and Newark are considering applying. Rutgers University has some 450 veteran students throughout the state.
Here are a few things you should know about when considering a career in the military, with some help from eHow.com:
Who: Contact a military recruiter who can give you all the information you need to decide if you want to join the military. Your school counselor should be able to put you in touch.
What: Yes, there’s a test. In order to qualify for the military, you must first take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). Your score will play a role in where you end up in the military, so make sure you are prepared. Your recruiter can direct you to online practice tests.
When: Before you speak with a recruiter, make sure you realize that this is a commitment—as much as four years or more of your life will be dedicated to the military. Don’t sign anything without first thinking it through and talking with your parents or guardians.
Where: Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines. Research each branch of the military to figure out where you want to end up. What do you like? The ocean? Then maybe the Marines or the Coast Guard is for you. You can even consider a career before you join—jobs in the military range from airline pilots to dental assistants to skilled high-tech computer operators. The military reserves allow you to combine a part-time career in the military with a regular civilian career. You train for a specific military branch and are available on an on-call basis for the main military force.
Maybe you're eager to get into safety and security straight out of high school. You have options! The security industry, including companies like Gateway Security in Newark, hire thousands of security officers to guard corporations and provide customer care at airports. You are eligible for a job in the security industry if you re at least 18 and have either a high school diploma or GED.
As a security officer, you're trained to have a heightened sense of vigilance in everything from report writing, patrolling techniques, controlling access and using communications equipment. The security industry also focuses on good public relations skills and the importance of having a positive appearance. Candidates get a well-rounded education in all areas of security before they are approved for a specific client site. The State of New Jersey is now requiring that security officer candidates receive a minimum of 24 hours of security training before they can be hired. What else do you need to know? Here are some highlights: