By Terence Way | Photos by

On Saturday, June 15th, 2019, at VFW Post 3848, a bunch of energetic teens and their supporters were line dancing to blaring music (thanks to local DJ Mike Pacini), washing cars, and looking like they were really excited to be there. With seemingly a dozen hands waxing-on and waxing-off of each vehicle that came through, anyone taking on these teens services for their ride surely got their money’s worth!

It’s all for a worthy cause – the car wash raising $3390 to help send nearly fifty (50) teens to the Devil Pup Leadership Encampment, a ten-day character-building experience at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Camp Pendleton. Other than ~$100 for application & uniforms, each teen needs $800 to be raised- via donations, grants, and fundraisers.

At the center of it all is Marie Tomao, the CEO & Founder of (the non-profit) Youth Leadership Authority (YLA), based in Henderson, Nevada. She also happens to be the Liaison Representative to the Southern Nevada Devil Pups. Her organization helps local teens year round with personal growth and character development, leading to more positive and productive members of society. With the Devil Pup encampment lasting only ten days, YLA helps bridge the gap by providing youth programs year round. One way to help prepare the youths for the encampment is YLA’s 12-week training program, which also keeps the teens engaged with physical training, career building, and leadership development. These all can help teens from falling into the wrong crowd and help make better choices for their future.

This car wash fundraiser has been held for sixteen straight years. Even though the last few years have seen steady growth in the program, from about 36 graduates in 2016, to nearly fifty preparing to attend this year, fundraising and donations have not kept up, and are actually down.

This year, notable donations came from the Black Mountain Detachment MCL (Marine Corps League), which donated $4000. And The Greater Nevada MCL 186 Detachment gave them $5000! And Marie was especially appreciative of VFW Post 3848, which donated the venue for the car wash the last sixteen years!

Successful Devil Dog graduates can stay involved and further pay-it-forward by returning to help mentor future teens (with various Eagle programs).

Marie Tomao also appreciated all the sponsors: John Turco,, Craig Mueller, Black Mountain Detachment And Greater Nevada Marine CorpsLeague, and the Henderson Police Officer Association, VVPPA. They have been carrying us for years. We can’t do it without them.

YLA invites all local volunteers and organizations to come participate in their next event, America The Beautiful, at “Hash A Go Go” in Henderson. Please obtain further info & RSVP at:

For further information on the Devil Pup 10-day encampment, including their 65-year history and unique graduation coin designed by Walt Disney, please visit:

They need your continued support and donations to help send these aspiring teens and to keep the program running! Please send your donation to “Youth Leadership Authority”, 631 Stephanie #402, Henderson, NV 89014. You may also call Marie Tomao at 702-285-4142, or visit: