The mission of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program is to intervene in and reclaim the lives of 16-18 year old high school dropouts. Graduates leave the program with the values, life skills, education, and self-discipline necessary to succeed as productive citizens.
In the early 1990′s, Congress recognized the inherent strengths of the National Guard to train, lead, and mentor young people in a caring yet disciplined environment.
In 1993, Congress approved the Defense Authorization Bill, which introduced the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program as a pilot program. The goal of the pilot program was to determine whether the life skills, education levels, and employment potential of youth who drop out of secondary school could be significantly improved through quasi-military assisted training.
Ten states were selected and invited to identify a number of diverse at-risk youth, and to conduct a seventeen-month ChalleNGe Program. By 1995, fifteen states were participating with another twenty-three states on a waiting list. In 1998, Congress permanently authorized the program at 75% Federal funding, 25% State funding.
At this time there are 34 ChalleNGe programs in 29 states and Puerto Rico.
In 1998, Grizzly Youth Academy started, one of two National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Programs in the State of California.
National Guard Youth Challenge: Celebrating 20 Years