Who is eligible to attend a National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Academy?
Students must be a high school dropout or expelled, and be between the ages of 16-18. The applicant must never have been convicted of a felony and have no legal action pending, free of illegal drugs at time of enrollment and physically and mentally able to complete the program.
Does ChalleNGe accept cadets under the age of 16?
ChalleNGe cannot accept cadets under 16. Your local ChalleNGe academy may have a solution for students under the age of 16.
Does ChalleNGe accept cadets over the age of 18?
No, applicants must be at least 16 years old and no more than 18 years old (the applicant can turn 19 years old before graduation day).
What is the cost to attend Sunburst Youth ChalleNGe Academy (SYA)?
The Sunburst Youth ChalleNGe Academy, as part of the National Guard Youth Challenge Program, is operated through a Cooperative Agreement between the National Guard Bureau and the State of California. This means it is funded by Federal and State dollars making tuition absolutely free to eligible youth. This investment in our youth has a return of 166% in social benefits. The Youth ChallenNGe Program was started in 1993 as a federal-state partnership to help high school dropouts improve their education level, life skills, and employment potential. The program, which is operated by the National Guard in partnership with state and local education agencies, has been extremely successful.
How does the program operate?
Youth ChalleNGe is a residential program that incorporates a highly structured quasi-military format emphasizing self discipline, personal responsibility, and positive motivation. Students, who are referred to as cadets while at the Academy, must meet military grooming standards, wear military type uniforms, and observe standard military customs and courtesies. Each class involves a 3-phase program that begins with a two week Acclimation phase where the goal is to identify those students that have the desire and discipline to complete the program. Students who successfully complete the Acclimation phase enter the 20-week Challenge phase where the emphasis is on the “Eight Core Component” curriculum. Cadets must show improvement in each component.
Eight Core Components:
Leadership and Followership
Life Coping Skills
Service to the Community
Health and Hygiene
After completing the Challenge phase, students begin a 52-week Post-Residential phase where each student works with an adult role model in a one-on-one mentoring relationship. The adult mentor provides the student advice, guidance, and support to help him/her continue the positive successes and direction achieved during the Challenge phase.
Is this a way for my child to join the Military?
No. The Sunburst Youth Academy is a military style alternative educational program. Students cannot be sentenced or court ordered to attend or is there any military obligation at all. Only 6% of our graduates ever join the Military. The decision to attend should be made by the applicant. Each year a diverse group of teenagers from all across the state, and from all walks of life successfully complete the program.
Can I force my child to attend the program?
No. This program is 100% voluntary. No parent, court, judge or probation officer can force the child to come. The child must make the decision to attend the program.
We don’t live in Southern California, can my child still enroll?
The Sunburst Youth Academy is limited to work with students only in Southern California. Click the link below to visit our National Website to find our sister programs.
How do you enroll in the program?
The first step of the enrollment process is to attend one of our mandatory orientations. Click the link below to sign up for our next orientation.