In the News
Amanda Swab, Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy
NGYF May Cadet of the MonthWednesday May 15th 2013
The National Guard Youth Foundation (NGYF) congratulates Ms. Amanda Swab, graduate of the Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy in Guernsey, WY for being selected as the May Cadet of the Month.
Ms. Swab will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship from Peduzzi Associates, LTD, one of NGYF’s corporate partners. She currently attends Western Wyoming Community College and is studying business management.
I enrolled at ChalleNGe when I was 16 years old and had a terrible attitude towards other, myself, and life. While attending the program I obtained my GED and began online college classes. I am proud to say the [Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy] influenced my life immensely. I entered this program a kid and came out strong and determined woman...
Today, I am now 17 years only, in my third semester of college and proud to say I made the Dean’s Honor Roll during my first semester. I currently live in the dorms at Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs and am studying business management. I own a truck, which I paid for by myself, from working hard while attending classes. Twenty months ago before ChalleNGe, this would have been an impossible dream but today it is a reality.
Philanthropist Buys Bush Truck to Aid National Guard Youth Foundation
Tuesday April 16th 2013
Thanks to businessman and philanthropist Allan Jones, a white F-150 pickup truck owned by President George W. Bush just keeps on giving. Mr. Jones, founder and CEO of Check Into Cash, based in Cleveland, TN, purchased the truck at the April 6 Barrett-Jackson auction in Palm Beach, FL. The final bid was $350,000 and all the proceeds will benefit the National Guard Youth Foundation.
“Check Into Cash has always been a big supporter of our nation’s troops and the National Guard so we are extremely proud to make this donation,” Jones said. “What a lot of people do not know about the National Guard is that these citizen soldiers are also saving the lives of thousands of teenagers across the country every year. The National Guard’s Youth ChalleNGe Program is enormously successful in getting kids who’ve dropped out of school back on track and back into society in a productive way. The role of The National Guard Youth Foundation is to advocate for and support the ChalleNGe Program, and also to provide scholarships, training and workforce transition assistance for students once they graduate from the Program.”
The truck, which was consigned to Barrett-Jackson by Rick Hendrick of Hendrick Motorsports, was kept at President Bush’s Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, TX after he left the White House in 2009, according to Holly Moeller, director of VIP Bidding at Barrett-Jackson.
“President Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush used the truck to work around their ranch; entertain friends, family and dignitaries; and to give tours of their Crawford property,” said Moeller. “This vehicle purchased by Allan Jones is a piece of presidential automotive history.”
“We are grateful for the tremendous generosity displayed by both Mr. Jones and Mr. Hendrick,” said Gail Dady, President, National Guard Youth Foundation Board of Directors. “This donation will significantly boost our efforts to provide ChalleNGe graduates with work-based learning, career exploration opportunities and will also help so many of our ChalleNGe graduates continue their education – something that would not be possible without this support.”
A letter from a father to the Florida Youth ChalleNGe Academy
Thursday April 4th 2013
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing you today with one question in mind. What have you done with my daughter?! How in the world?! Who, what, when, where, how? It is difficult writing you today without dry eyes and difficulty keeping my breath.
I have to be honest with you. I was so nervous for this day to come. Stress and a bit of anger was taking over as the day came closer for my daughter to come home. All I could think about was 'before' January 2013, dropping her off to you and your facility. Screaming, yelling, disrespect, trouble with the law and an indefinite jail sentence for my teen was still running through my mind. The stress of 'what kind of real change could have taken place' in my teen. What could you guys do that I haven't tried? How am I going to hide my embarrassment in front of the neighbors and siblings when she comes home?
As a father, I am beside myself. I am speechless. I am thankful. I have never seen nor heard my daughter act the way she has in the past 24 hours, ever. For the first time in I can't remember, my daughter is smiling. My daughter has confidence in herself. My daughter is taking responsibility and in charge of her life. My little girl is amazing!
Being home this short amount of time she has enrolled in college, established an assistant teaching position at her old school assisting with the challenged students as well as a summer position within our community center with daycamp.
During our several errands today, she has taken the time to assist complete strangers with carrying their groceries. Taking pride in talking to people she has never even met and making sure they are all right before leaving. I have never seen her act this way. She has gone and mended relationships and friendships realizing that she was wrong and hurtful in the past with others. Heads are turning and friends in the community are left with amazement asking the same questions that my wife, children and myself are asking.
Click here to read more.
Kaley Caperton: “I truly understand what a second chance means.”
Urban Country NewsSaturday March 16th 2013
Texas native Kaley Caperton is definitely not your average young singer-songwriter. The 20-year-old already has quite a story to tell, and is using her experiences, and her writing talent, to help inspire other young people. Her current single, ‘Red, White and Beautiful,’ was inspired by the National Guard Youth Foundation’s ChalleNGe Program Gala in Washington, DC, and half of the sales from this song are going to benefit the Foundation.
At CRS 2013, Kaley talked about writing the song and how it relates to her own story, and her journey so far in the world of songwriting.
UCN: Let’s start with the new song, ‘Red, White and Beautiful,’ which you wrote it with Billie Austin and Dave Robbins.
Kaley Caperton: Yes, it was such a fun day. Any session we have is like half a torture fast, because we make fun of each other all through the whole thing, and the the other half is an inspirational and motivational therapy session. [smiles] The song hold such a special place in all of our hearts. You know, I’ll tell you a little bit more about myself than I’ve told anybody today… I, myself, have a crazy story. I was in high school and I didn’t fall in love, I fell in stupid. I moved out of my parents’ house and moved in with my boyfriend at the time, you know, for six weeks. But my family is so close, and I thought ‘I can’t do this I have to move back.’ And my mom said “here is the deal if you’re going to live at home you have to graduate from high school, and that’s the rule.” So I started getting back in school and about a week later I’m sitting at dinner with my mom and she’s like ‘I’m glad you’re back home, glad you’re safe, there could’ve been other consequences.’ Because you can’t pick your consequences, nobody ever tells you that, you can do something bad, but you don’t get the pick what’s going to happen. So we’re sitting there and my mom looked at me and says “you know, at least you’re not pregnant.” And I burst into tears because I was like ‘you know mom, I don’t know if I am or not.’ And immediately she’s like, ‘well we’re going to find out!’
Kentucky’s Adjutant General Receives Prestigious Youth ChalleNGe Award for Kentucky’s Successful Programs
Kentucky National Guard Public AffairsFriday March 15th 2013
WASHINGTON, DC – The Kentucky National Guard’s Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Edward Tonini, was recognized as the ChalleNGe Champion at the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe’s eighth annual gala in Washington, DC for Kentucky’s dedication and success with the two Commonwealth ChalleNGe programs. Tonini spearheaded the initiative to create and launch a second youth challeNGe academy in Harlan County , Kentucky that opened in the summer of 2012.
The gala at the nation’s capitol featured celebrities, members of Congress, Governors, senior National Guard and military members, corporate and community leaders, ChalleNGe Program Directors and cadets. LeAnn Rimes was on hand to perform at the Youth National Guard Challenge Gala. The event also drew other celebrities such as actor Ricky Schroder and Daytona 500 runner-up Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
ROCKEFELLER MEETS WITH MOUNTAINEER CHALLENGE ACADEMY CADETS
Senator Accepts a ChalleNGe Champions Award from National Guard Youth Foundation, Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy, WV Adjutant General HoyerTuesday February 26th 2013
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Jay Rockefeller today met with cadets from the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy, praising them for their courage and dedication to turning around their lives.
The cadets visited Rockefeller’s office today, along with Lt. General John Conaway (Ret.), Chairman of the National Guard Youth Foundation; West Virginia Adjutant General James Hoyer; and Kathy Tasker, director of the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy, to present the Senator with a ChalleNGe Champions Award for his work on behalf of at-risk youth and the Preston County facility.
“While I am honored and humbled by this recognition, it’s the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy cadets I’m more interested in celebrating today,” Rockefeller said. “Whatever the reasons for the challenges they’ve encountered, these cadets deserve the opportunity to take their futures into their own hands – to reclaim their lives, to prepare for their careers, and to make a difference for themselves and their communities. And I commend these young men and women for taking that bold step.”
“Senator Rockefeller is so deserving of this honor and is one of the primary reasons for the inception of the ChalleNGe program” said Major General James A. Hoyer, West Virginia Adjutant General. “He has been a staunch supporter of this program over the years and I have witnessed firsthand his interaction with the cadets and how it affected him. On his last visit he spent over an hour with the cadets just listening to their stories and how the program turned their lives around. He works daily for the youth of America and this is just one shining example of how he makes a difference in children’s lives.”
Rockefeller has a long history of support for the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy. Rockefeller supported a 1993 defense appropriations bill that paved the way for the creation of the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy at the West Virginia National Guard’s Camp Dawson near Kingwood. There are now 34 ChalleNGe facilities in the country—but Mountaineer ChalleNGe was one of the first.
Giving Garden Work Day
Washington Youth Academy volunteers at the Giving GardenSunday February 24th 2013
In my prior blog update I mentioned that there was a big work day planned at the Kingston Farm and Garden Co-op Giving Garden for Saturday February 23rd. I asked all of you to wish us good weather so we could make the most use of the day and apparently all your good wishes really worked, because Saturday turned out to be very good weather. This particular work day was on a larger scale than any of our previous work efforts. The reason for this is that we had a full platoon of Washington Youth Academy Cadets who were scheduled to come and work for the benefit of the Giving Garden. That is fifty (yes 50!) young men that we had available to work on projects to get the garden off to a roaring start for the coming growing season. A lot of planning by the core group of garden volunteers went into the day - long before the platoon arrived - so that there was work enough identified to keep them fully employed, and to ensure we had our volunteers ready to lead squads of workers on specific tasks. The garden volunteers got to the garden at 8 am to set up the awning tent, chairs, snacks, and fire pits with big kettles of cider simmering for the workers. We had barely gotten all that done when the bus arrived and the workers formed up ready to start the day.
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Youth ChalleNGe is transforming troubled teens
MidlandsBiz.comFriday February 22nd 2013
By W. Thomas Smith Jr.
February 22, 2013
"The S.C. Youth Challenge Academy gives youth a second chance at a critical high school education and an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than themselves," says Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston, Jr., adjutant general of S.C. and commanding general of the S.C. Military Dept. (including the S.C. National Guard which oversees the Youth ChalleNGe program). "Youth Challenge cadets and graduates have the tools and understanding to make a meaningful contribution to their community, state and nation."
WHAT EXACTLY IS YOUTH CHALLENGE?
Youth ChalleNGe – the upper case "NG" reflecting the National Guard's oversight – is a program wherein at-risk teenagers ages 16–18 enter a five-month "quasi-military" academy, and upon successful completion of the program return home with the values, skills, education, self-esteem and self-discipline to succeed as an adult. Time spent at the Youth ChalleNGe Academy – located at Fort Jackson's Camp McCrady near Eastover – is followed by a 12-month mentoring phase to ensure the new graduates don't slip back into the self-destructive environment that led them to the academy in the first place.
Read more here.
Agreement Between West Virginia Dept of Ed and Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy Leads to Path for High School Diplomas
Friday February 15th 2013
West Virginia's Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy is now able to offer high school diplomas to qualifying cadets as a result of a recent agreement between the WV National Guard, the WV Department of Education, and the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy.
“The ability to earn a traditional high school diploma, with all the rights and privileges of that credential, will open a large variety of career opportunities to Academy graduates including military service,” said Mountaineer Program Director Kathy Tasker.
Celebrities to Team Up to Raise Awareness of Dropout Crisis at Eighth Annual ChalleNGe Champions Gala
NASCAR Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., Singer/Songwriter Kaley Caperton, Country Music Star LeAnn Rimes and WWE’s Kofi Kingston Join NGYF in Celebrating the Success of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe ProgramWednesday February 13th 2013
Paying tribute to two decades of success in helping to curb the nation’s dropout crisis, the National Guard Youth Foundation’s ChalleNGe Champions Gala will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program by bringing together alumni from 20 years ago, this year’s upcoming graduates and many in between, along with noted celebrities. The event, presented by BAE Systems, will be held on Tuesday, February 26th at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C. from 5:30 – 10:00 p.m., ET.
Since the first program started in 1993, ChalleNGe – which gives young people who have dropped out of school a second chance to earn a high school diploma, GED or return to high school – has helped more than 115,000 teens turn their lives around.
“Over the past 20 years, the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program has proven itself as a leader in combating the dropout crisis,” said Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., co-chair of the National Guard Youth Foundation Honorary Board of Directors. “As one of the most effective tools for at-risk youth looking to turn their lives around, this is a program worth celebrating and strengthening, especially as it reaches this tremendous milestone. I am deeply proud of the National Guard’s continued leadership and commitment to solving this national epidemic.”