A day in the life of a CGYCA cadet video
The program utilizes discipline and training techniques based on proven Army tactics – emphasizing academic excellence, leadership, followership, job skill development, mental and physical health, community service, citizenship and life-coping skills.
The program follows a two-phased approach. The first phase is the core segment of the program and occurs across five and a half weeks at a Youth ChalleNGe Academy (YCA). During this time, cadets receive uniforms and haircuts, and live full-time at the academy – taking fully accredited academic classes and participating in drills and other structured program activities. Cadets are taken out of their everyday surroundings to remove potentially poor influences like social media, email, friends, personal items and other distractions.
“They are removed from their normal environments and placed in an environment where they can focus 100 percent on themselves and gaining the skills they need,” explained Kimberly Folsom-Kuster, national program manager for the Youth ChalleNGe program. “The experience can turn the direction of their lives in a completely different way – for the better.”
The in-residence phase places cadets in a structured and disciplined setting where they can develop their social, emotional, academic and basic-life skills.
Once a cadet graduates from the first phase of the program, they move on to the second phase – a 12-month non-residential program. In this phase, cadets are paired with a specially trained mentor from the cadet’s community, with whom they work on a daily basis. The Youth ChalleNGe program is the only program of its kind that provides graduates with a personal mentor for a full year to help them transition out of the program and onto a productive path for life.
“The mentor provides a touchpoint for [graduates] to go back to whenever they need guidance,” explained COL Steinbrecher.
As one of the original 10 YCAs established in 1993, Georgia’s Fort Stewart campus hosted civic leaders and alumni during their 25th Anniversary Celebration and All Class Reunion.