The Parade and Drill Training Program

by Alana Allen | September 14th, 2015

Parade and Drill - 1If you have been a frequent attendee at N.C. A&T’s Homecoming parade, it’s a guarantee that you have seen this group of youth performing over the years. The Parade and Drill Training Program has been around for more than 30 years based in the Greensboro community. It is a nonprofit that operates as a leadership, training and educational initiative that works to improve and reinforce youth services with a specific focus on disadvantaged children. Founded by Nicholas Bright, Anthony Goins, Dean and Dale Gibson, and directed by Bright, this program has trained, mentored and worked with 5,000 youth in North Carolina. The program is known for assisting children in controlling behavioral patterns through discipline, cultivated in military oriented principles.

Bright, a native of Little Washington, passion and commitment to starting a program like this derived from his military experience. He wanted to start an initiative that dealt with discipline, leadership and that allowed youth to have fun in a positive way. In the beginning, the program practiced daily in different cities such as Aurora, High Point, Washington, Sedalia, Thomasville, Danville, Va., Burlington, Reidsville and Elon. Currently, the program operates yearly and practices twice a week in Greensboro, and it also utilizes a tutoring program with the help of students from the N.C. A&T National Society of Perishing Angels, Inc. and the National Society of Perishing Rifles Company N-4. The organization recruits youth and teenagers between the ages of six to 18 years of age. Some of the techniques used in this program are step, military, riffle and fancy drills fused with the latest dance moves. The organization on average performs at 15 to 20 events a year at churches, state fairs, competitions, and mainly major parades in Greensboro, Burlington, Winston-Salem and South Carolina. The leadership of the organization consist of Lt. General Dean Gibson, chief commander; Colonel Dale Gibson, battalion and operations commander; Lt. Colonel Danyell Chandler, trainer and recruiter; Lt. Colonel Anthony Goins, alumni / reserve unit; Major Bobby Hamilton, company commander; Captain Kamyra Bennett, drill units commander; O.I.C. Andre Spinks, step team trainer and O.I.C. Shawn Johnson, step team trainer.

The leadership of this strong standing organization ensures that each youth maintains good academic standing, leadership skills and spiritual awareness. Over the years, the team has seen many of their high school students join ROTC and after graduation enlist in the military and enroll in college. The program is definitely a family atmosphere that gives youth a sense of belonging and honestly discourages them from joining gangs. “There is a testimony with every child that comes into this program. This organization is a family atmosphere that supports academic success,” said Mr. Bright. “We have seen children come in with failing grades and finish their school year achieving success and operating in a leadership role.” The support system for this organization is the parents who are involved and the alumni who come back year after year to offer support. There are no dues to join; however fundraising is necessary to help with purchasing uniforms for each child.

The team all agree, putting a youth in this program will teach them how to take charge in a situation, complete projects and build confidence and character. “It just works!” For more information about the Parade and Drill Training program, please visit them on Facebook at ParadeandDrill PAD.

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