The Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy is managed as part of the National Guard Youth Challenge Program as part of a cooperation agreement between the National Guard Bureau and the State of Idaho. This means that it is funded by federal and public funds, so that education is absolutely free for entitled youth. This investment in our young people has a 166% return on social benefits.1 The Youth ChallenNGe program was established in 1993 as a federal-federal partnership to help young people who drop out of school improve their education, life skills and employment potential. The program, conducted by the National Guard in partnership with public and local educational institutions, was successful. Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy hosted its first class in January 2014. During the residency period, students can obtain up to 14 graduate credits in social sciences, science, mathematics, English, English, physical education, technical training, computer science and group service. Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy contracts with the Orofino School District to offer these recognized university courses. Academic credits are issued at the end of the session when the cadet graduated from the program. There is no partial credit if the student leaves the program before the end of the residency period. The credits earned are taken from the school or university closest to the student.
The program is voluntary and students from across the state of Idaho have the right to apply and compete for admission. Students must be young people leaving school prematurely or starting out; 16-18 years old; unemployed or under-employed; a U.S. citizen or regular resident and permanent resident in the state of Idaho; has never been convicted of a crime and no legal action is under way; At the time of registration, free of illicit drugs; and physically and mentally capable of completing the program. Participation in IDYCA does not entail any educational costs. There are eight key elements of the IDYCA curriculum: Academic Excellence, Leadership and Followership, Life Coping Skills, Job Skills, Service to the Community, Responsible Citizenship, Health and Hygiene and Physical Fitness. The Orofino School District provides academic staff related to certification (one principal and six teachers) to teach the main academic disciplines. Other non-academic subjects are taught by Academy staff, with occasional army and air guard teachers, government and local authorities, the economy and the labour sector. Students who pass the entire 22-week residency period of the program can obtain 14 or more credits for their graduation degrees. Academy employees are officials from the Idaho Military Division, as well as a school principal and six contracted teachers from District 171 in Orofino.
Staff are trained to work with youth at risk in a residential area and follow a “hands-off” approach that is tough and disciplined, but caring and respectful. Youth ChalleNGe is a housing program that includes a highly structured quasi-military format that emphasizes self-discipline, ownership and positive motivation. Students qualified as cadets during their stay at the Academy must meet military standards of care, wear military-style uniforms, and respect the usual military customs and politeness. Each class consists of a 3-phase program that begins with a two-week acclimatization period, in which the goal is to identify students who have the desire and discipline to complete the program.