Common Questions

What is the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program?

The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program: consists of a multi-phased intervention program; targets high school dropouts between the ages of 16 and 18; is comprised of a structured, disciplined 5 1/2-month Residential Phase focusing on education and practical life skills followed by a 12-month Post-Residential Phase involving skilled and trained Mentors supporting Graduates engaged in positive, durable placement.

How can my child apply to ChalleNGe?

Each ChalleNGe program oversees its own admissions process. Prospective cadets should contact local programs directly to learn about specific application requirements and deadlines. Click here to see the application steps for Grizzly Youth Academy.

Will my child be able to get a GED at ChalleNGe?

Every ChalleNGe program offers academic classes. Many youth are able to obtain their GED during the 5 1/2-month Residential Phase, but in order to graduate from the program it is expected that all youth raise their math and reading levels.

Is military service required upon completion of the ChalleNGe program?

No. Although ChalleNGe is ‘quasi-military’ in structure, cadets are not obligated or expected to join the service.

Is military service an option after graduating from the ChalleNGe program?

If military service is a goal after graduation, during the program they will have the opportunity to learn more about how to prepare themselves for the possibility of military service.

Is this a voluntary program?

YES. All youth participating in ChalleNGe must do so VOLUNTARILY.

Are there any costs to participants of this program?

NO. This program is offered free of charge to its participants.

What is the cost per student and who pays for it?

The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program is one of the most cost-effective programs for high-risk youth in the nation. It costs approximately $14,000 for each youth to complete the 17 1/2-month program. These funds are provided by federal and state partnerships.

When did the program begin?

The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program began as a ten-state pilot program in 1993 by an act of Congress. In 1998, following a comprehensive evaluation, Congress approved the ChalleNGe program as a permanent program.

What are the plans for the ChalleNGe program?

It is hoped that the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program will be extended to all states that wish to have one. Each year, new states are added. Program leaders expect that the program will serve as many as 20,000 new mentoring relationships each year.

What is the purpose of ChalleNGe?

The purpose of the ChalleNGe Program is to develop the life skills, educational levels, and employment potential of at-risk youth through a structured intervention model. The ChalleNGe model focuses on eight core components  that together improve cadet skills and facilitate holistic growth.

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