Respect and fun: MMA camp teaches boys values of teamwork, leadership

HARLINGEN — They come from all over the world — such as France and Japan.

Marine Military Academy’s All Boys Summer Camp opened yesterday as more than 300 new cadets ages 12 to 18 arrived at the facility for the 4-week program.

As they poured into the admissions area, one of their first lessons, “Yes sir, no sir, yes ma’am, no ma’am. Got it? Have fun.”

Lt. Col. Robert Grider, the Director of Admissions and Development, welcomed each camper and his parents in the entryway of the administrative building with some small talk and that very important lesson of respect for those who will be leading the camp as well as all others involved with MMA.

Most of the cadets were quick to fall in line and move through the several stations from admission to being sized for their uniforms, hats and boots and the always entertaining stop at the barber shop.

Similar to how the military runs boot camp reception, the process is orderly, but much more friendly for these kids.

But, it appeared to already feel like a different world for some of the campers.

Lt. Col. Grider asked some of them if they were scared. Most said no, but Grider leaned in and put a hand on their shoulder and told them it was OK if they were, because most of the other cadets were, too.

Richard Loya of Harlingen has been here before and he looked comfortable talking with Grider and Col. Glenn Hill, superintendent of MMA.

Pierre Bronnimond and his family drove all the way from New Orleans to be here. But that wasn’t all, they had originally come from France, they told Lt. Col. Grider.

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