The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program aimed to improve the lives of youth who were out of school and under- or unemployed by providing education, development, and mentorship.
The ChalleNGe program consisted of three phases. In the first phase, participants attended a two-week, intensive orientation and assessment. Following this orientation, participants were formally enrolled in the program and considered cadets. The cadets then began phase two, which consisted of a 20-week education program focused on preparation for the GED exam and positive youth development. Phases one and two required the cadets to live on-site and experience a quasi-military environment. During phase three, the cadets participated in a yearlong, nonresidential structured mentoring program. The ChalleNGe program aimed to recruit disconnected youth between the ages of 16 and 18 who had dropped out of school and were not employed. Program applicants were required to be drug-free and not currently on parole or probation (other than juvenile status offenses), not serving time or awaiting sentencing, and not convicted of a felony or capital offense. Ten ChalleNGe programs were evaluated: Camp San Luis Obispo, CA; Camp Blanding, FL; Fort Gordon, GA; Rantoul, IL; Battle Creek, MI; Camp Shelby, MS; Roswell, NM; Salemburg, NC; Galveston, TX; and Fort McCoy, WI.