Tennessee National Guard Youth Challenge Program Ready to Roll
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Early last year Governor Bill Haslam, Deputy Governor Jim Henry, Commissioner of Children's Services Bonnie Hommrich and Major General Max Haston announced that Tennessee is the latest state to be approved by the Department of Defense for a National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program.
After months of preparation, the Tennessee Volunteer ChalleNGe Academy (TNVCA) is ready to become a reality.
The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program is a 17-month, voluntary, second-chance program for 16-to 18-year-old struggling youth who may have dropped out of school or behind in credits. Participants have the opportunity to enhance life skills, increase self-esteem, learn job skills, and if they qualify, cadets will have the opportunity to take the high school equivalency test (HiSet).
The program focuses on Eight Core Components; Academic Excellence, Physical Fitness, Leadership/Followership, Responsible Citizenship, Job Skills, Service to the Community, Health & Hygiene and Life Coping Skills. The cadets begin with a two week acclimation period followed by a 5 month Residential Phase and a 12 month Post Residential Mentoring Phase.
Tennessee will be the 40th program joining programs in 28 states, DC and Puerto Rico.
The Tennessee Volunteer ChalleNGe Academy will occupy the former Woodland Hills facility in Nashville.
"We wanted to bring Youth ChalleNGe to Tennessee for a number of years, but finding the right facility and obtaining the required Federal and State funding has been a challenge," said Maj. Gen. Haston. "We appreciate the foresight of Governor Haslam, Deputy Governor Henry, Commissioner Hommrich and our Legislature in helping make this happen. This is a great day for the youth of Tennessee."
Funding for the program is shared between the federal (75%) and state (25%) governments. The first class of the Tennessee Volunteer ChalleNGe Academy class will be approximately 100 cadets and is set to host its first class on July 9, 2017.