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South Carolina Youth Challenge Academy Gives Troubled Youth a Second Chance

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South Carolina Youth Challenge cadets

South Carolina Youth Challenge cadets want to help the next young man or women make the right decision to change their lives. Local news coverage of the program allows parents of potential candidates to get an idea of the program. Young men and women enrolled in the program share their views. Cycle 37 Cadets were featured in a news segment on the local news media.

News 19 WLXT, Chuck Ringwalt reporting.

Follow the progress of cadets at South Carolina Youth Challenge Facebook

 

 

South Carolina Youth Challenge cadets

 

SC National Guard’s McCrady Training Center houses the program. The mission of the SC Youth ChalleNGe Academy is to intervene in the lives and reclaim the lives of 16-18-year-old high school dropout. Youth Challenge provides values, life skills, education, and self-discipline.

South Carolina Youth ChalleNGe Academy is not for everyone. It is a choice to change your life. This is not a summer camp. It is as difficult as you make it. When enrolled, you commit to no alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs. You commit to discipline.  This is a critical factor in helping you build your own confidence, self-respect, and physical conditioning.

Youth ChalleNGe is a two-part program.

The first part, the Residential Phase, is 5 months long. This phase includes a 2-week Pre-ChalleNGe phase. The 2-week Pre-Challenge phase gives you time to adjust to the discipline of the program.

The next phase is the ChalleNGe phase. The military structure provides leadership and discipline for students during the residential phase. Youth ChalleNGe is based on leadership, teamwork, and self-discipline.

Cadets can expect these values to be a part of all aspects of Youth ChalleNGe. The program honors the motivation and desires of a student to become a productive, employable young adult graduate.

The South Carolina Youth ChalleNGe Academy offers two classes per year.  One class begins in January and the other class begins July each year. The program provides the education you need. SC Youth Challenge also offers unique opportunities during the 22-week residential period.

The program follows the SC National Guard’s commitment to assisting South Carolina’s youth. You are the future of South Carolina. 

 

There is a Reason You Are Still Here…

By | News

Deon Generette Photo by Marissa VannallDeon Generette, a local from Johnsonville, South Carolina visited South Carolina Youth Challenge Academy to speak with the newly enrolled young men and women, ages 16-18 years old, who come from every corner of South Carolina. These young men and women have made the choice to change their lives for the better, taking back their future. They spend 22 ½ weeks away from home with short visits on predetermined dates, dedicated to making a positive change. This is their second chance to achieve their dreams of becoming successful. They lay their foundation for their future.

Mr. Generette is no stranger in witnessing the struggles few of his community members face attempting to be successful viable citizens of society after taking the wrong path in life. He understands people need a second chance to prove they can and want a better life for themselves.They need to be given the opportunity to be successful. Since returning home after several years living in Columbia, South Carolina, Mr. Generette realized his community needed help, and founded a nonprofit Second Chance Organization through his church, White Chapel Holiness Church in Johnsonville. This organization gives community members the chance to prove they can be successful. Recently, his organization was featured in the news media. For more information please follow the link: http://wbtw.com/2016/01/06/johnsonville-group-helps-to-give-a-second-chance-to-convicted-felons-and-troubled-teens/

The Candidates received Mr. Generette’s message well as he opened the floor to the candidates to say something about themselves and the changes they want to make. He spoke about their purpose in life and the fact there is a reason they are here. The candidates and the staff at South Carolina Youth Challenge are very grateful for his encouragement, motivation and time. Please view the video to hear what he had to say. Deon Generette Encourages the Youth of South Carolina Youth Challenge

 

 

 

By: Marissa Vannall- Public Relations Officer

Your Response Needs to Be a Firm “NO!!”

By | News, Parents View

A parent of a Cycle 35 graduate encourages not only the new class, Cycle 36 candidates but also gives the parents a few great words of advice. 

First of all, congratulations to all the candidates for choosing to redirect your future & to change your life for the better. This is a one time opportunity to get on track so no matter how hard you believe that it is, stay focused on the end goal, GRADUATION! 22 1/2 weeks will be over before you know it and at that point, you’ll be ready for the world with a new attitude.

Parents…most of you (not all) are like me…the mother that feels the need to protect your child from EVERYTHING! There is nothing wrong with protecting your child, for the right reasons. However protecting too much and when unnecessary, can lead to your child developing a lack of coping skills, insecurities, low self-esteem, etc. This program will defeat them and challenge everything they have been taught thus far. However it will rebuild them into a person with direction, self-esteem, coping skills, manners, strength, respect for others and education. So please hear me when I say,”If your child calls you and says they hate it, they’re starving and they want to come home!” Your response needs to be a firm “NO!!” Do not bail your child out he/she needs to be right where they are! You do not need to feel ANY guilt or remorse because trust me, you are doing the best thing you can possibly do, for your child. I promise you, they are NOT starving. In fact, they’re eating exactly what they need to.

My daughter graduated Cycle #35 and she is on her way to Aiken Technical College along with a scholarship to a 3D Printing school in Virginia. In fact, she is in Virginia right now and she’s enjoying it. Seven months ago we were in dire straits with her education and none of us were getting along. God will work miracles if you have faith. God bless and good luck to all the new candidates and parents. – Amy Marie, Parent of Cadet Bray, Cycle 35 Graduate

 

 

 

 

Published by Marissa Vannall

What I Want My Fellow Cadets to Know Past, Present, and Future

By | Cadets Corner, News, Success Stories

My name is Jordhan Irvine. I was in Cycle 30 of the South Carolina Youth Challenge Academy. Before attending YCA, I was never really a troubled teen, I’d just gotten side tracked. My senior year in high school all my slacking and laziness caught up with me. In January of 2012 I found out I wasn’t going to be able to walk across the stage at graduation the end of the school year. I ended up being about 4.5 credits short of graduating after the classes I was taking and aside from taking an online class I still wouldn’t be caught up. The only other option I had was to go back to high school for a full year. I tried online school but it didn’t work out well. My mom found out about YCA on a radio infomercial, called and we had an interview.

I enjoyed myself at YCA and took everything from it that I could. It was truly hard being the oldest female in my cycle, but that’s what pushed me harder. Since I graduated from YCA on 12 June 2013, I have been doing very well for myself. Granted I did not get my GED while I was there, I studied and took it when I left then made my way to an Air National Guard Recruiter. Not even Six months after graduating from Youth Challenge I managed to enlist in the Air National Guard.

Currently today, I am still local in Columbia stationed at McEntire Joint National Guard Base. I still visit YCA often because I want to make sure that the cadets know that this program is extremely beneficial and if you’re here you might as well make the best out of the situation.

Youth Challenge truly prepared me for the real world without giving me too much to where I couldn’t learn on my own. They made you remember your cadet creed, which also teaches you how to live with values and standards. They somewhat break you down to build you back up and they also give you the tools all around to be successful in todays society and not just another statistic. They make sure that you understand what was wrong and how to fix it. One of the biggest things was respect at YCA. Not just respect for yourself but everyone. It makes you think about what respect really means and how it will help you later on in life.

What I want my fellow cadets to know past, present, and future; this program has a lot to offer. If you take from it what is given then you will see that 22.5 weeks isn’t that bad. You will gain so much from this program you will always remember the experiences, lessons, the relationships that you build with some fantastic people. Thank you Youth Challenge! I will never forget what you’ve done for me.

Cadet Irvine : Cycle 30

 

Published By: Marissa Vannall

Cycle 35 Graduation Day

By | Challenge Updates, Events, News, Success Stories | No Comments

Cycle 35 Cadets graduated Decemeber 9,2015.

Cycle 35 Graduates, you made it. You had doubts, you fought to stay true to your plans of graduating. It was not easy, at times some of you wanted to give up, but you didn’t. All of you took advantage of all the opportunities available to you, even if you did not think you deserved it. Guess what? You all deserved it, you all deserved the second chance at success. This is only the beginning, if you can make it through this, YOU CAN make it through anything, you have the skills, the discipline, and you all know what right looks like. South Carolina Youth Challenge is here for you, once a cadet, always a cadet!

To view more photos please click here: Cycle 35 Graduation Awards and Ceremony

To view the Graduation Ceremony Video please click here: Cycle 35 Graduation Video

By: Marissa Vannall

 

 

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A Letter of Gratitude

By | Challenge Updates, News

By Cadet Wells, Jamesiaa

I would just like to thank you. I had the chance to leave last night, but I thought about it, I said to myself, “Okay if I go home, what would change about me,” and I said, “Nothing, because it’s like there’s no control when I’m home, so basically I do what I want, when I want.” I don’t want that mindset to continue like that. I would love for my mom to be happy for me and proud to show me off to everybody she deals with. Like I said yesterday I’m not used to getting sent away from home on a good note because I’ve been getting locked up since I was 14. It’s like I do good for a minute, and then I go back into my old ways , I want that to stop also because I’m on parole until I’m 20. It’s hard but I try to manage. My brother that used to go to this program convinced me to go. But at the same time it was either here or jail. I just wanted to write you a letter of appreciation and to let you know, I’ve change my mind about leaving campus because at the end of the day, I have to make the right decision. I took the time to think about what my life would be like if I don’t graduate from this program and risk the chance of not getting my high school diploma. So, thanks for the encouragement, believing in me, and not giving up on me. Thanks so very much.

What It Means To Be A Man

By | Challenge Updates, News

By Cadet Moore, Desmon

What it means to be a man. I can’t really explain what a man is because I haven’t reached that stage in life yet but I can tell you what my idea of a man is. In my eyes a man is someone who can take care of his responsibilities. By me not having a father figure in my life I look up to my older brothers to teach me how to be a man. I realize if keep looking up to my brothers I’m not going to have a good life or probably end up dead. So it takes a real mean to realize his mistakes and fix them, no man is perfect. Becoming a man is not easy, it’s a challenge. A man is someone who can take care of his self and provide for his family when things get hard he does not give up, he keeps pushing forward no matter what the challenge is, he keeps his head up. He is respectful and loyal. I see why this is called the youth challenge academy. This is a challenge, getting up 04:30 and doing PT. I always have to do what I am told to do, whether I like it or not. This is to help me become a man and discipline me. It’s time for me to grow up. I regret a lot of stuff I did in my life but I can’t change the past. All I can do is learn from my mistakes.

Cadets From Cycle 28 Return to SCYCA

By | Challenge Updates, News, Success Stories
From left to right: Joy Toliver, MSG Morris, Seaman Ansuh, CSM Parker, Petty Officer Daniels, 1SG Solomon, MSG Stewart

From left to right: Joy Toliver, MSG Morris, Seaman Ansuh, CSM Parker, Petty Officer Daniels, 1SG Solomon, MSG Stewart

By Marissa Vannall – Media Specialist/PAO for SCYCA

Seaman Israel Ansuh, 20, and Petty Officer Gerald Daniels, 19, are long time friends from Northeast Columbia, S.C., who enrolled in SCYCA for Cycle 28. At the time neither knew the other had enrolled before the start of cycle 28, each were surprised to see each other. Petty Officer Daniels was in 3rd Platoon, then known as the “Spartans,” and Seaman Ansuh was in 2nd Platoon, Deuce House.  Petty Officer Daniels said, “I was getting into a lot of trouble with school and law enforcement. I was doing things I didn’t need to be doing, involved with drugs and the streets.” He continued speaking about how the program gave him discipline, helped him focus, and kept him out of the streets. Seaman Ansuh agreed with Petty Officer Daniels and added, “I was trying to do something better with my life and this program gave me work ethic.” They continue to remain friends after the program and decided to join the Navy together.

Petty Officer Daniels is an Operation Specialist in the Navy and is stationed in Hawaii. He has traveled to several areas of the world to include Japan and Korea in a year’s time. Seaman Ansuh is a Logistics Specialist in the Navy reserves, stationed in Columbia.

Petty Officer Gerald Daniels had this to say to cycle 33, “Don’t quit, don’t ever quit. Take the G.E.D. and ASVAB seriously. Paying attention to detail is important and so is the military training. You can do it, I did it.” He continued to explain what he was like before he attended the program. He also spoke about the friends who continued down the wrong path, those who went to jail and of those killed because of the bad choices they continued to make. “I was a hustler before I came here; I changed my hustle from a bad hustle to a good hustle. I make great money and I now help my mom,” stated Petty Officer Daniels.

He recalled 1SG Solomon telling him that it starts with a small seed and depending on how you prepared the ground for that seed determines what grows from it. “You don’t want bad fruit to grow from that seed, you need to do what you need to in-order to get good fruit from that seed.” explained Petty Officer Daniels to the young men and women of cycle 33.

Seaman Ansuh continued to explain to the candidates of cycle 33, that they could do this, “It may seem hard, but it gets easier. It’s based off of how you listen and pay attention. The time will fly by if you do the right thing. This place changed my life and how I do things. It will do the same for you.”

Cadets work to improve Palmetto Trail

By | Events, News, Success Stories

The South Carolina Youth Challenge Academy has been given the opportunity to help restore the South Carolina Palmetto Trail. This trail, when finished will be a 425 mile recreational trail that goes through the state of South Carolina. The trail will begin in Oconee State Park upstate and end north of Charleston. The trail will have several connecting passages that will showcase the unique history and culture of South Carolina. The trail runs through Fort Jackson and the SCYCA cadets have been working hard to clear areas and make the passages visible. 

“Working on the Palmetto Trail was really fun. The best part about cleaning up the trail is having a sense of accomplishment after completing the project. Knowing that I am apart of helping the community makes me feel good. My group and I walked about 5 miles during our second volunteer trip on the trail. I did not think I could actually do it, but I proved myself wrong. The group faced a couple of big obstacles on the trail. There were a bunch of branches blocking the trail and we had to work together to move them out the way. It took us about 15 minutes to complete that task. Moving trees were another big obstacle. The trees seem to weight over 200 pounds! My group did not stop we worked together as a team.”

– Cade Thompson 3rd Platoon

Parent Experience Cycle 32

By | Challenge Updates, News, Parents View

Parent Experience:  Ms. Catina Lamb

Cadet Jacob Ready and I heard about this program from his NJROTC teacher at Aiken High school. Jacob had been having a lot of problems the past year skipping school and not doing his work.  He had been getting into trouble at home as well. My family went everywhere trying to get my son help. We went to visit South Carolina Youth Challenge Academy and I thought this is the place for my son. I did not want him to end up at DJJ.  I am glad my son decided to take the Challenge and attend this academy. Jacob came home on February 28, 2014  for the first time since January 6, 2014.  I could really can see a change in him for the better. We visited his old school  and his teachers did not even recognize him. I know he’s got a little ways to go, I thank you all for everything that you all are doing for these boys and girls. I would recommend this place to anyone. I can say I’m a proud mom.

Cadet Jacob Ready

Cadet Jacob Ready

Cadet Experience: Volunteer Event

By | Challenge Updates, Events, News

Palmetto Trail

The South Carolina Youth Challenge Academy has been given the opportunity to help restore the South Carolina Palmetto Trail.  When finished it will be a 425 mile recreational trail that goes through the state of South Carolina. The trail will begin in Oconee State Park upstate and end north of Charleston. The trail will have several connecting passages that will showcase the unique history and culture of South Carolina. The trail runs through Fort Jackson where the SCYCA cadets have been working hard to clear areas and make the passages visible.

Cadet Thompson

Cadet Thompson

Cade Thompson

3rd Platoon

Palmetto Trail Experience

Working on the Palmetto Trail was really fun. The best part about cleaning up the trail is having a sense of accomplishment after completing the project. Knowing that I am a part of helping the community makes me feel good. My group and I walked about 5 miles during our second volunteer trip on the trail. I did not think I could actually do it, but, I proved myself wrong. The group faced a couple of big obstacles on the trail. There were a bunch of branches blocking the trail and we had to work together to move them out the way. It took us about 15 minutes to complete that task. Moving trees were another big obstacle. The trees seem to be over 200 pounds! My group did not stop. We worked together as a team.

The South Carolina Youth Challenge Academy with 3D ThinkLink Initiative

By | Events, News

The South Carolina Youth Challenge Academy has been  given the opportunity to participate in the 3D ThinkLink Initiative.  Two staff members trained in Washington D.C to learn how to teach and implement the program into SCYCA. The program is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education project that introduces students to the field of manufacturing, using 3D design and printing classes to teach critical thinking skills that help at-risk teens make better decisions as they enter adulthood. This experience will open the cadets to a considerable amount of career  opportunities such as, automotive and aerospace engineering, cooking, medicine, architecture and art. Three cadets will be selected to travel to Washington D.C at the end of June to have more intensive training on 3D printing.

 

New Cadets Begin Cycle 30

By | News

Cycle 30 started on July 8, 2013. During their first day at South Carolina Youth Challenge Academy (SCYCA) a lot of males faced their first challenge when they had their military-style hair cuts.

During their first week at the South Carolina Youth Challenge the Candidates gain knowledge on the program and the various parts. The Pre-Challenge Phase, which consist of the first two weeks, helps Candidates focus on teamwork, close order drill, code of conduct, leadership/followership skills and physical fitness training based on the programs eight core components.

The cadets take the TABE Test the second week which gets them ready for school. The test helps the Lead Teacher determine what class to put the candidate in based off of his or her educational background. Classes start on July 22, 2013 which is the candidates third week at SCYCA .

Update on Cycle 30: Classes Started Today

By | Events, Uncategorized

Cycle 30 cadets have been very busy these past few days. They spent most of their day Friday getting ready to graduate from the Pre-Challenge phase. The candidates were full of anticipation and excitement. They practiced military drill and learned how to iron their new uniforms. The candidates officially became cadets after graduating from the Pre-Challenge phase Saturday! Between Saturday and Sunday cadets made their first phone call. Today starts the residential phase. For five months the cadets have the opportunity to make basic lifestyle changes and prepare for their GED through rigorous academics and physical training based on the programs eight core components. Focus is on self-discipline,self-esteem, education and development of healthy lifestyles. Parents please encourage these cadets to push forward. A letter from you may make the difference in whether they complete the program.

South Carolina Youth Challenge Started Cycle 30!!!!!!

By | Events, Uncategorized

On Monday, January 7, 2013 Cycle 30 registered over one hundred candidates. Over the past week and a half the candidates been taught teamwork skills on how to work together with each other. They are also learning how to adjust to the physical, mental and social discipline of the program. Focus is on teamwork, close order drill, code of conduct, leadership/followership skills and physical fitness training.

The candidates had their first Physical Training (PT) test yesterday, to find out where they stood and when it comes to physical fitness and health. Youth Challenge  encourages lifelong commitment to physical fitness, mental and emotional well-being. Cadet must show improvement during the 22 week residential program. Activities include, but are not limited to: military style PT, running and organized sports. The candidates have worked hard over the last couple of days physically.

Thank you parents for continuing to support your candidates because it’s all about them. Please  write the candidates letters of encouragement.