Fort Stewart - Who We Are

Mission: The mission of the Georgia National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program is to intervene in and reclaim the lives of at-risk youth to produce graduates with the values, skills, education, and self-discipline necessary to excel as adults.

Vision:The Georgia National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program is the premiere residential alternative education provider; developing and producing academically and socially competitive young adults who believe they can achieve their dreams.

Values:Honesty, Dedication to Achieve, Academic Excellence, Service to Community, Responsible Citizenship, and Wellness.

Fort Stewart Youth ChalleNGe Academy is located on the Fort Stewart Army Base near Savannah and was established by the National Guard in 1993. Fort Stewart, along with nine other programs were among the first Youth Challenges to open in the nation. Our sister campus, Fort Gordon in Augusta, opened in 2000. We service 16-18 year-olds from across the state and they come from all socio-economic backgrounds.

Currently, there are 37 programs throughout the country, to include Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Fort Stewart is among the largest and best Youth Challenge Academies in the nation. We have been around for more than twenty years and have one of the most experienced, caring, and talented staffs in the nation. Because of this, we have graduated more than 13,000 students, with 76% earning their GED or high school diploma.

We use a military model to transform the lives of our students, by employing the following strategies : a tough, no non-sense approach to discipline and a caring, patient, and determined attitude towards education. About ninety percent of our non-uniformed staff and all cadre (the staff who maintain discipline and instruct and train in the military lifestyle) are ex- or current military members. The Academy's record and reputation are testimonials to the enormous success the Academy enjoys in preparing graduates for success in the workplace, school, and life.

Students live in military barracks, eat in a military dinning facility, and participate in a military style physical training program. They live in an open-bay military-style barracks which holds fifty-one cadets. Various reasons bring them to our campus:complete their education, improve discipline, make family proud of them, experience or sample the military life style, etc. No matter the reason, the outstanding Fort Stewart staff has the skill and experience to help cadets reach their goals.

Fort Stewart (as well as Fort Gordon) enjoys a partnership with Georgia's Graduation Achievement Charter High School. This allows eligible cadets the opportunity to complete their High School Diploma while at the Youth challenge Academy (YCA). Those attending the Fort Stewart campus, who meet eligibility standards, also have the opportunity to co-enroll with Turner Job Corps. Job Corps provides additional training in a viable trade while cadets are at the YCA. Upon graduating from Youth Challenge, they may be eligible to continue their education in that trade or pursue a different trade at the Turner Job Corps Training Center in Albany, GA. (See the education tab for more information about Georgia's Graduation Achievement Charter High School and Job Corps).
In addition to the structured military environment, we also seek to create the experiences of a traditional high school. Cadets have the opportunity to try out for the YCA's basketball, softball, or volleyball teams. Cadets also have the opportunity to serve on the student council. Members of the Student Council and class officers are elected to these positions by their peers. The YCA offers the following extra-curricular activities to provide cadets the chance to become more involved: church services, choir, Color Guard, Drill Team, Step Team, Peer Tutoring, Running Team, Creative Minds Club (poetry, drawing, writing)etc.

Youth Challenge Academy is making a tremendous difference in the lives of Georgia high school dropouts. We are meeting the challenge of providing Georgia's at-risk youth training to improve their employment potential and life skills that will equip them for future success. One year after graduation, ninety-four percent of Youth Challenge Graduates are productively engaged in at least one of the following activities (some are doing more than one): seventy-three percent are working, five percent are in the military, and twenty-two percent are enrolled in some type of educational institution. Youth Challenge Academy's graduates are equipped and prepared to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.

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