By Gisella Mancilla
SpouseLink Ambassador &
Guest Blogger


The process of becoming a United States Marine is not an easy one, but it’s an impressive one. Recruits endure 13 weeks of some of the most rigorous training in the world. The transformational process of becoming a Marine and earning the Eagle, Globe and Anchor generates their core values of honor, courage and commitment, and it shapes young men and women to have the discipline and braveness to pursue whatever goals they may seek in their lifetime.

Last year, my friend Taylor told me about an awesome program for kids called Devil Pups Fun Day hosted at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. This program is designed for school-age children, ages 5-12. This event would show the military children a glimpse of the bootcamp experience without the rigorous training.

It is an all-day event. Parents drop the kids off promptly at 8:30am and it goes on for approximately six hours. They are then broken into color groups, just like bootcamp companies with each being led by their own Drill Instructor. They learn to stand in formation and march like your typical recruit, learning the chants and a mild mockup of their Combat Fitness Test (CFT). They also have the opportunity to tour the museum on base and learn about the Marine Corps history and traditions.

As they are preparing for “graduation” and completing their CFT the kids will get to enjoy free time playing on the USMC themes playgrounds. Parents then come back just before they are released to watch their graduation and earn their certificate of a Devil Pup. The families are then able to celebrate their accomplishment over cupcakes and by watching the Marine Corps band play their favorite tunes. It is such a fun and rewarding program for our children to experience a small glimpse of what their Marine endured during bootcamp.

If you live in the area, MCRD of San Diego is having their next Devil Pups Fun Day on February 17, 2023 — you have to sign up to participate. It’s sure to be a fun day for you and your kids.

Meet Gisella

Gisella represents us in California, in areas around Camp Pendleton. Connect with her for insights about the region, SpouseLink and AAFMAA.

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