In choosing the next steps of his career and life, Storekeeper 2nd Class Petty Officer Andrew Barile found that the U.S. Coast Guard was the best fit for his interests and expertise.

“I found out that of all the branches, the Coast Guard is where I can utilize my skills regarding finance,” he said. “More importantly, I wanted to be part of something greater than myself. Our branch expands beyond military assignments, working alongside various private and public organizations involved in shipping ports, shipping containers, rescue, and safety to name a few.”

Barile recently shared his experience in the Coast Guard with a mixture of 9-12th grade student athletes from Brunswick High School in Brunswick, Ga., speaking specifically of leadership opportunities and teamwork qualities.

“I think it had a very positive impact on all the students that attended,” said Garrett Grady, head football coach at Brunswick High School. “There was excitement; students were asking great questions. I think they were very engaged to learn about the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Grady continued, stating that having Coast Guard servicemembers visit the school to speak with students is an invaluable resource.

“I think it gave some of them career options after high school. We are always trying to develop leaders on the field as well,” he said. “They have information now regarding the U.S. Coast Guard as a career path option and since we now have developed a relationship with the Coast Guard, their questions can be answered.”

Barile echoed the sentiment, noting that high school partnerships, such as the one he participated in at Brunswick facilitated by DistrictWON, a U.S. Coast Guard partner for marketing and local engagement, are able to dispel common misconceptions about military service and reach a new pool of recruits with solid information.

“By us attending high schools and talking to young students, we’re able to paint a bigger picture of what it is that we do and why it’s worth the hard work to get there, he said. “Sharing experiences underway, YouTube videos of current jobs, and talking about a day in the life builds up excitement and genuine interest.”

During his visit at Brunswick, Barile told students about the benefits of a career in the Coast Guard, including tuition assistance, medical coverage, skills cross-training, and building incomparable interpersonal relationships along the way. He also asked them to think about what they want from their life after graduation to help determine the best path for them.

“Yogi Berra once said: ‘If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.’ That quote resonates with me when I speak to young adults at schools. Taking a four-year contract of Active-Duty Service is not the rest of your life,” Barile said. “After a few years in, you can reevaluate where you are and where you want to go. Do you want to attend college afterwards? Do you want to start your own business? Do you want to reenlist and try to make rank? Or apply to be an officer? These are the questions that gets young adults thinking and start to take life a little more seriously.”