The Capital Guardian Youth ChalleNGe Academy, located in Laurel, is a life intervention, dropout reintegration, and GED preparatory program, run by the District of Columbia National Guard in partnership with the Office of the State Superintendent of Education for the District of Columbia.
The Academy is a 5 1/2 month long residential “military style” academy structured to promote an academic environment where students will earn a District of Columbia High School Diploma, develop leadership, job skills, and academic skills, while improving self-esteem, pride, and confidence.
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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.