Youth ChalleNGe Program graduates 200 cadets

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South
Col. Michael Borrel, director of educational programs for YCP, congratulates a YCP graduate.

BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana National Guard's Youth ChalleNGe Program graduated 252 cadets during a ceremony at the Bethany World Prayer Center in Baker, Sept. 14 at 11 a.m.

This year, the LANG's YCP began a pilot program to give cadets the opportunity to take a 90-hour course to become certified in basic construction education and listed on the National Center for Construction and Education Research (NCCER) register.

This graduating class from Carville, is the second group to complete the program of Louisiana's three locations. Participants in this special program must complete 90 hours of core NCCER training conducted after regular school hours or on Saturdays.

The first phase of the Louisiana YCP is a 22-week residential alternative military-like school for 16-18 year olds that offers at-risk adolescents an opportunity to work on their education and life skills in a structured and disciplined environment that emphasizes teamwork, discipline, academic excellence and personal growth throughout the entire program.

This award-winning program has been recognized as one of the nation's most effective and cost efficient programs for targeting youth who are at the greatest risk for substance abuse, teen pregnancy, delinquency and criminal activity.

The second phase is a 12-month post-residential phase that consists of case managers and community mentors assisting cadets putting into those action goals they have realized in the residential phase.

Since 1994, more than 100,000 cadets have graduated nationwide with 20,000 being from Louisiana. Typically, Louisiana graduates approximately 1,400 teens a year from three locations: Camp Minden, Camp Beauregard in Pineville, La., and Gillis W. Long Center near Baton Rouge.

More than 80 percent of teens that graduate this two-phase program go on to continue their education, join the work force or enlist into the military.