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Tarheel ChalleNGe cadets attend Page program

Cadets from the New London campus of the Tarheel ChalleNGe Academy Class 50 recently participated in the Governors Page Program.

The cadets were selected based on their overall academic performance, personal behavior and leadership aptitude.

A part of the National Guard’s Youth ChalleNGe program, The Tarheel ChalleNGe Academy in New London has been in operation since 2015 and is one of two academies within the state. The other campus is in Salemburg and has been in operation since 1993.

Together, the two academies are responsible for the redirection/reclamation of more than 5,000 youth within North Carolina. These young men and women were given a second chance at success and the ChalleNGe Academy served as a welcome intervention.

Created to assist states with the growing population of high school dropouts in the 1990s, the Youth ChalleNGe program has morphed into an opportunity for youth within the state and around the country that would otherwise be in a category where they are considered to be “at risk” of failure, in school or society.

Many of these youth come from various backgrounds, situations and circumstances. The primary purpose of the program is to refocus youth through a quasi-military format that focuses on eight core components. Those components are: Life Coping Skills, Academic Excellence, Physical Fitness, Health and Hygiene, Service to Community, Leadership/followership, Responsible Citizenship and Job Skills.

From start to finish, the entire program lasts 17.5 months. The first five and a half months are in a residential setting and cadets actually live at the campus.

Housed in a military style barracks, the theme of the residential phase is a mirror of military basic training including 5:30 a.m. wake ups, physical training, drill and ceremony and discipline.

Early on, cadets are introduced to team building skills designed to develop teamwork, trust and courage with their teammates.

Cadets are also afforded the opportunity to attain a High School Equivalency (HSE) and if available, many also participate in a variety of vocational skill classes.

Each academy has a partnership with their local community college and that college helps to administer the HSE program and provide resources for the vocational skill/career pathway courses.

Classes within the HSE program are English, math, science and social studies. Computer employability and life skills classes, round out the education portion, giving cadets a total of six classes in an academic setting.

After the five and a half month residential phase, cadets graduate, return home and began the post residential phase. Some may qualify for military service and a dedicated few transition to the Job Corps or similar programs, some enroll in college and many simply enter the work force.

This post residential phase, which lasts one year, involves cadets being paired with a mentor chosen by the family, and that mentor provides guidance and support to graduates assisting them to maintain and build on those values and goals established during the residential phase.

Each facility has two classes per year and youth throughout the state between the ages of 16 to 18, male and female are encouraged to apply.

Applications are being accepted for the next class which begins on Oct. 13.

Classes are filled on a first come first serve basis, and preference may be given to 17- and 18-year-olds.

Qualified applicants that are not admitted will be placed on a waiting list and may gain admission in the event of no show.

Applicants may have passed their 18th birthday but not have reached the age of 19 prior to the first day of the program. Felony convictions will disqualify any applicant.

Applications and information can be found by visiting www.nctcanewlondon.com or calling 844-880-5206, and www.nc-tcachallenge.org or 800-573-9966.