Counter Recruitment at the East Harlem Youth Fair

Barbara Walker, Edith, Marty, and I tabled at the East Harlem Youth Fair, Wednesday 8/13. We provided materials and conversation concerning military recruitment, Drone issues, and the September Climate March in NYC.

2014_08_14 Youth Fair MARTY & students
Although there were fewer teens at the fair than usual, our Truth or Myth question board attracted some and several were unsure of answers. This lead to conversations and provided information about military recruiters tactics and the personal commitment required for military service.

2014_08_14 Youth Fair table
But, I was troubled to learn how many high school students are thinking about military service as a future choice and the several who had friends or relatives who had enlisted after HS graduation. Having members of their family who had served was an incentive, as well as the appeal of “military style” and possible advantages of financial aid and providing money for their family.

I haven’t encountered so many pro-military responses lately and was very glad that we were at the fair to share information and provide a reality check on military commitment, service, and life choices. That’s why we need to be at High Schools. Many students are impressionable and at loose ends.
Only one student I spoke with had an opportunity to meet with a guidance counselor and get information about future career planning. Our handout ‘Non-Military Options for Life After High School’ was well received by students as well as adults who were at the fair.
Every time we talk with students, it makes a difference – even if it’s only one teen who is truly listening.
Barbara Harris

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