What Is Fort Stewart Youth ChalleNGe Academy?
The National Guard ChalleNGe Academy in Georgia, a preventive program for youths, aged 16 to 18. It accepts participants who are unemployed high school dropouts who have no law or drug problem. The program focuses on physical training, leadership, skills training, hygiene and health, community service, life coping skills, academic excellence, and citizenship. The ChalleNGe program is residential program for 5 months with a one-year mentoring program when the residential program is over. It follows an intervention model built around the eight core components required for successful living.
This model focuses on the holistic development of the youth. In the residential program, each youth is guided and taught to make an action plan for his/her life once he/she finishes the program. He/she is also equipped with the necessary tools to help him/her in his/her career search. The youth is although prepared for the GED (General Educational Development) diploma and the TABE (Test for Adult Basic Education). Each participant is also taught how to be a responsible citizen with an emphasis on Selective Service Registration, Voter registration, and Student Government Association.
In the academy, the participant is also required to attend classes on CPR training, First Aid, Nutrition, and other classes to teach him/her about sex education, hygiene, and health. He/she needs to participate in skills training where his/her chances of getting a job is increased through the academy’s Job Core Curriculum, Interviewing and Personal Resume Skills, and Job Shadowing. Each participant must also go through intense physical training in order to prepare him/her for his/her optional entry to the military, team sports, and the President’s Physical Fitness Test. He/she is also given an opportunity to be both a leader and follower in the academy’s command structure. At least 40 hours of community service must also be dedicated by each participant to gain job experience and help others.
The Fort Stewart Youth ChalleNGe Program
The program consists of 3 phases: a Pre-ChalleNGe phase for two weeks; a 20-week residential ChalleNGe phase; and a one-year post-residential phase. In the Pre-ChalleNGe phase, the participant is introduced to military life through a medical exam, drug screening, educational testing, and physical fitness. Once the participant has completed such tasks, he/she can move to the residential ChalleNGe phase where he/she is trained on work skills, life skills, academic, and military.
The program provides basic US Army training where each participant is trained in military leadership, teamwork, military courtesies and customs, and the customary drill and ceremony. He/she is also trained on rappelling, climbing, survival, CPR, First Aid, and physical fitness. 150 hours are spent on citizenship, community service, insurance, stress management, family planning, hygiene and health, and finances. Life skills training include subjects, which can help the participant meet his/her adult obligations outside of the academy.
The Fort Stewart Youth ChalleNGe Program also provides academic training to help the participant earn his/her GED diploma. Teachers help each participant through one-on-one instruction but in general, each participant learns on his/her own according to his/her pace. Work skills are also honed so that each participant is able to gain and maintain a job after the program.
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