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Alternatives to the Military

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One of the biggest mistakes of counter recruitment activists is to tell people not to join the military but offer no alternatives to what the military does offer young people.  People join for a variety of reasons such as: money for college, job training/skills, direction in life, discipline, to be part of a team, traveling, to serve their country, to get out of trouble with the law, physical training, even citizenship.  It is important to keep all of these in mind when talking to young people, especially those who want to join.  
Because a majority of recruits join to get money for college, it is critical to inform youth (especially low income and people of color communities) of the non-military options available to them.  Too many activists fail to address this issue and leave young people feeling as though counter recruitment activists are trying to limit their options or guilt trip them but not addressing their needs.  

Some non-military options for youth:
  • College & Universities
  • Job training programs
  • Americorps
  • Peace Corps
  • Non-profit/organizing work
  • Internships
  • Traveling opportunities
  • Mentorship
  • Sports
  • Community Service
  • Cultural & creative activities
  • Trade schools

But lets move beyond just informing youth of options to offering real support and follow through in getting involved in these non-military alternatives.  Research non-military options for youth in your area and create a brochure that describes each one and provides contact information as well.
We also have compiled the Jobs & Job Training Guide that lists state by state what many opportunities are available complete with contact information. CLICK HERE to explore this resource.

Some other ideas include:
  • Host job fairs
  • Create and sustain scholarship funds for youth who are considering the military
  • Create and/or support after school programs
  • Ask local businesses and organizations if they are willing to support youth resisting the military by providing internships, job training, jobs, scholarships, mentorships, etc.
  • Host college information sessions (bring college pamphlets, FAFSA forms, students, college reps, class schedules, applications, etc.)
  • Host informational sessions on Americorps, Peace Corps, City Year, etc.
  • Lobby/petition your local government to increase financial aid, institute more job training programs, support job opportunities for young people, get a trade school
  • Establish a community center for the city’s youth
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