The SFAAP is an evolution of the previously executed Semper Fidelis Football Program.
“The new initiative will continue to place priority on athleticism, civic and academic achievement, but will do so in a way that’s open to both young women and men who play any sport,” said Lt. Col. John Caldwell, the Assistant Chief of Staff for Marketing and Public Affairs, Marine Corps Recruiting Command. “We’re looking for students who possess a fighting spirit – they overcome adversity in all aspects of life and actively engage in improving the lives of others.”
One man and woman from each of the Marine Corps’ 48 Recruiting Stations will earn the title Semper Fidelis All-American. Participants will attend the Battles Won Academy accompanied by their mentors in Washington, D.C. next summer. The program is comprised of several events, such as various keynote speakers in sports, business, public service and entertainment, as well as athletic activities, a community service event and a culminating banquet to recognize the participants.
To help promote the new initiative, Ashton Eaton, an American decathlete, two-time Olympic champion and world record holder in both the decathlon and indoor heptathlon events, attended the banquet and spoke about the program and why he chose to partner with the Marine Corps.
“Growing up, I’ve always wanted to be a Marine, and my brother is a retired Marine first sergeant and Silver Star recipient. That is why when I was asked to help promote the program, I immediately said yes,” said Eaton. “I could not have thought of a greater way to use my status as an athlete then to help promote this program. Through programs like the SFAAP, we can positively impact America’s future athletes, leaders and Marines.”
To earn the title Semper Fidelis All-American, students can self-nominate or be nominated by an influencer at sfaap.marines.com. To be eligible, athletes must be at least a high school junior, have a 3.5 GPA or higher, actively serve their community, participate in a competitive team sport and hold a student or community leadership position.
“We are proud to be announcing this new program to all of our supporters here tonight,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Kennedy, the Commanding General of MCRC. “Marines and Semper Fidelis All-Americans are all bound by the will power to break through barriers and persevere in adverse situations. This new initiative links the Corps with students that share the same fighting spirit and code of ethics that is a part of all Marines.”
The SFAAP provides an opportunity to engage with outstanding student athletes and develop mutually beneficial relationships with high-achieving high school students and their mentors.
For more information on the SFAAP and its Battles Won Academy, please visit sfaap.marines.com.
Story by Cpl. Brendan Roethel