By Liz Collin

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — All week long, families across Minnesota have been able to see for themselves what life is like for a Marine.

The Marine Corps is hosting mini boot camps before several young people leave this summer for the real 13-week program.

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

From real drill instructors to strict rules, WCCO went to Duluth to see the start of the difficult road ahead.

“The United States Marine Corps is a brotherhood; an individual who is willing to step up and who wants to be a part of something greater than themselves,” Staff Sgt. Ryan Fife said.

For 30 young men, that moment looks much different than it does for others their age.

Dylan Provencher (credit: CBS)

Dylan Provencher (credit: CBS)

These “poolies,” as they are called, are in the beginning stages of becoming Marines.

After graduating from high school next month, Dylan Provencher will leave for boot camp this summer.

“I got to go all the way to the top. I’ve got to push myself harder than I’ve ever done before,” Provencher said.

Jack Provencher (credit: CBS)

Jack Provencher (credit: CBS)

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He is from a long line of military family members, like his grandfather, a Vietnam veteran.

“He feels it’s something that he not only wanted to do, but has to do for our country,” his grandfather, Jack Provencher, said.

Families from northern Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin were able to witness just a small part of what their boys will face — intense and eye-opening as it is.

Staff Sgt. Ryan Fife (credit: CBS)

Staff Sgt. Ryan Fife (credit: CBS)

“It’s a really good chance to see what their loved one is going to be experiencing throughout their transition to becoming a United States Marine,” Fife said.

Minnesota continuously cranks out some of the most Marines, compared to states with many more people.

But as the smallest military branch, their focus is on quality, not quantity. Young people, like Provencher, are prepared to join the few and proud.

“Yeah, I’ll be ready for it,” Provencher said.

As part of the military draw-down, there are about 35,000 fewer Marines than three years ago. It is why recruiters say it is even more competitive to get in now.

The Marine Corps is hosting a mini boot camp in Sioux Falls on Friday, April 8 from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at VFW Post 628.

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They will also host a camp in St. Paul on Saturday, April 9, at Washington Tech Management School from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Liz Collin