CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan --
During the summer of 2015, Camp Foster chaplains came together to discuss different ideas to help encourage Marines and sailors in making better life decisions.
“We see a lot of good Marines sometimes getting caught up and making really poor decisions that are usually alcohol related,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Todd A. Trumble, a chaplain with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “We created Elevate so that service members could rise up or rise above the typical going out adventures of a Friday night.”
Elevate is a safe way for Marines and sailors to come out and have fun by involving themselves in a social environment they can look forward to, according to Trumble.
“If you are not around the right people, or you haven’t found the right environment sometimes that can cause someone to feel upset and act in an unfavorable way,” said Trumble from Lynchburg, Virginia. “We started here hoping to help Marines and sailors develop relationships that will get them through the tough times.”
Elevate is not open to just one unit or just one base, it is for anyone who would like a safe, fun and exciting night, according to Trumble.
“I really enjoy having the opportunity to make new friends outside of my work place who still have the similar views as me, ” said Lance Cpl. Tyler Rose, a diesel generator mechanic with MWSS-172, 1st MAW, III MEF. “It is a fun change knowing people who don’t just want to spend every night with a drink in their hand.”
During Elevate, Marines and sailors came together to share a meal, play video games and sit and talk with one another, leading up to the main event. The main and last event service members played was bubble soccer.
“For junior Marines it is hard to find exciting things to do late at night here that does not cost a lot of money, so being able to come out here get off the couch and have fun is a great opportunity,” said Rose, a Marion, Virginia native.
The program has helped the service members look out for one another while protecting what they have earned in the military.
“I thought we could do better, and we could do more for our Marines and sailors,” said Trumble. “I feel like we have a good start achieving that with this program.”
Elevate meets every other Friday night at Camp Foster, from 8 p.m. to midnight.