Southern Nevada Devil Pups Series 2024 has begun!

Southern Nevada Devil Pups Series has begun

YLA recently completed the 21st Southern Nevada Devil Pups Inc. (SNDP) Physical Fitness Test (PFT), marking the commencement of our 10-week leadership program. This milestone was made possible thanks to our long-time sponsors:

  • Gene Haas Foundation
  • AC Pro
  • Las Vegas Police Protective Association
  • Henderson Police Officers Association
  • Marine Corps League – Henderson near Las Vegas, Nevada
  • John Million Turco

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to each of these sponsors. Your generosity enables us to continue our mission.

Our Pup applicants performed exceptionally well, demonstrating their motivated attitudes and impressive PFT scores. This summer, these applicants are working towards earning their place at the 70th Devil Pups encampment at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton.


About the Devil Pups Program

The Devil Pups program is a prestigious 10-day encampment held at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. This unique experience is designed for young individuals, ages 14 to 17, and focuses on physical and academic excellence, as well as good citizenship.

Contrary to common misconceptions, the Devil Pups program is not a mini boot camp nor a recruiting tool for the Marine Corps. It offers a blend of outdoor physical activities, inspirational classroom lectures, and demonstrations of Marine Corps operations. The program is supervised by our Encampment Commander and his executive staff, all dedicated employees of Devil Pups, Inc.

Each day, participants engage in running, diving, and hiking exercises, balanced with inspiring classroom sessions. These sessions feature “Role Model” segments conducted by board members, veterans, and Devil Pups alumni.

A highlight of the program is the challenge of conquering “Ole’ Smokey,” the tallest peak on the 125,000-acre Marine Corps Base. This challenge culminates in a sunset ceremony where participants are officially christened as Devil Pups and awarded a challenge coin by their instructors.

The encampment concludes with a graduation ceremony attended by friends and family, celebrating the achievements and growth of our participants.

We are immensely proud of our applicants and grateful for the continued support of our sponsors and community. Together, we are shaping the future leaders of America.

SNDP Graduate Success Story

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Southern Nevada Devil Pup, Aaron Ballard 
Sponsors: John Turco Attorney at Law and Gene Haas Foundation 

Pup Ballard had this to say in a personal letter to YLA Founder Marie Tomao-Miklosko:

Aaron and Alex Ballard, brothers and Southern Nevada Devil Pups, have each been awarded full scholarships by the NROTC Preparatory Program. We couldn’t be prouder of their remarkable achievements!

Aaron and Alex Ballard

What is Youth Leadership Authority (YLA)?

What is Youth Leadership Authority (YLA)

Youth Leadership Authority (YLA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to youth leadership development. Our programs aim to instill the core values of Honesty, Respect, Peace, Kindness, and Humility in young individuals. YLA offers a total of nine leadership programs, with the Southern Nevada Devil Pups (SNDP) being a prominent one, running for 21 years.

YLA’s programs are categorized into three main series:

  1. A Safe Place to Land Series (ASPTL)
  2. Southern Nevada Devil Pups (SNDP)
  3. Eagle Bachelors/Master Series (EP)

Each YLA program embraces our “whole person” approach, focusing on personal, professional, physical, and spiritual development. Our curriculum emphasizes our core values, ensuring that participants receive comprehensive growth and learning.


SNDP is our signature summer series, featuring the following programs:

  1. 10-week leadership and physical training program
  2. Community Service Program
  3. Self Care and Your Why (ASPTL)
  4. 10-Day Devil Pups encampment
  5. Eagle Program (local and at the Devil Pups encampment)

Recent Activities

This past Saturday, we conducted our first Physical Fitness Test (PFT), marking the beginning of training for pup applicants and other students in physical, personal, and leadership development.

Leadership Team

YLA is led by a dedicated team of exceptional leaders:

Marie Tomao-Miklosko: Founder, Executive Director, Devil Pups Liaison Coordinator, and Board of Trustee

Sam Miklosko: Constitutional Coach and YLA Board Member

Gysgt. Bricen Hooker: Leader of the Physical Instruction Team (PIT), YLA/SNDP graduate from 2011, assisted by the United States Marine Corps Recruiting Stations from Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas, and Spring Valley

We extend our gratitude to our outstanding PT Instruction Team for their dedication and hard work.

YLA Board Members

Our board comprises a select group of phenomenal givers and leaders:

Marie Tomao-Miklosko
Sam Miklosko
Svetlana Carter
Mark Schick
Colonel Ray Blum
Pastor Equilla Hicks
Joan Gamble
Coby Sherlock

Thank you to all our supporters and leaders for their continuous commitment to nurturing the future leaders of our community.

Introducing Our Newest Board Member: Lieutenant Benson Harper

Lieutenant Benson Harper

We are excited to welcome Lieutenant Benson Harper from the Henderson Police Department to the YLA Board!

Lieutenant Harper brings over 22 years of extensive experience in law enforcement with the Henderson Police Department. His dedication to serving others, both professionally and personally, exemplifies the qualities we aim to instill in our students.

Lieutenant Harper is a distinguished leader, follower, and servant of Christ, embodying the values that the YLA Board strives to cultivate. His impressive educational background includes a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Sociology from Washington State University, graduating Cum Laude. Additionally, he has accumulated over 3,800 hours of law enforcement and leadership training.

Professional Background:

  • 2001 – Present: Henderson Police Department

Community Involvement:

  • Safety Team Member, Hope Church Boulder City
  • Worship Team Member, Hope Church Boulder City
  • Positively Arts Volunteer
  • Wrestling Coach, Boulder City Junior Wrestlers
  • Baseball Coach, Boulder City Little League
  • Youth Leader, South Hills Community Church

We are confident that Lieutenant Harper will excel in his new role, bringing his expertise and experience to enrich the lives of the youth in our community. Welcome aboard, Lieutenant Harper!

Student Progress Update


Our program continues to make remarkable strides. Here’s a summary of the students’ progress thus far:

Current Applicant Status

  • Total Applicants: Nearly 50 students aiming to earn their spot on the bus to Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton.
  • Recent Turnout: 30 enthusiastic applicants attended last Saturday, with another 20 expected this coming Saturday.

Eagle Program Participation

  • Eagles in Action: 10 past graduates (Eagles) assisted in training the new applicants, showcasing the success of our Mentor Leadership Path.

Introducing New Instructors and Coaches

We are thrilled to welcome back past graduates who are now serving as instructors and coaches:

  1. Officer Ari Garcia
    • YLA/SNDP Graduate 2015
    • Eagle 2016-2018
    • Former United States Marine Corps member
    • Newly hired by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
  2. Coach Marvin Ramos
    • SNDP Graduate 2011
    • HEAD YLA EAGLE 2012-2017
    • Supervisor at UPS
  3. Ssgt. Jessica Holguin
    • Equal Opportunity Practitioner at 99 ABW/EO, Nellis AFB
    • SNDP Graduate 2006
    • Eagle 2007-2010
    • SNDP Instructor 2010-2011
    • United States Air Force since 2017

These exceptional individuals have chosen to return to YLA to mentor new applicants, reflecting the profound impact our programs have had on their personal and professional lives.


Saturday Activities

Our Saturday sessions include:

  1. Physical Training: Workouts led by our dedicated team.
  2. Leadership Development: This week’s focus was on the trait of Justice.
  3. Physical Fitness Test (PFT) or PT: Rigorous physical evaluations.
  4. Awarding the SNDP Guide: This prestigious honor is given to the most motivated applicant each week.

SNDP Guide Award

Every Saturday, a Southern Nevada Devil Pup applicant is selected to receive the “Guide” for demonstrating exceptional motivation. This week’s recipient, chosen by the Blue Shirt Eagles (graduated students/pups), was Francisco Enriquez, aka “SLICK” from Durango High School.

Top PFT Performers

  • 1st Place: R. Orozco, Score: 309
  • 2nd Place: J. Rivera, Score: 305
  • 3rd Place: J. Gonzalez, Score: 299

Eagle Team Excellence

Our Eagle Team, led by Coach Marvin Ramos and Head Eagle Dezerrion Alexander, did an outstanding job working together. Their inspiration, collaboration, and dedication are truly commendable.

Rockstar Volunteers and Admin Team

Special thanks to our incredible volunteers and admin team:

  • Kacy Tracy
  • Marcia
  • Julio Magdeleno
  • Phelston Jones

Your efforts are vital to our success.

Rockstar Volunteers and Admin Team

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