Florida Youth ChalleNGe

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During the 1980s, the Rockefeller Foundation identified the need in our country to provide opportunities for young people working to overcome problems in their lives which included being high school dropouts. In 1991, the Joint Armed Services Committee directed the National Guard to develop a plan to “Add value to America” by providing values, skills, education, and self-discipline to young people incorporating the structure and esprit de corps found in the military model. A five-year Challenge Pilot Program began operating in 10 states in 1993 under Public Law 102-484 and has since been embraced by more than 25 states.

Our Beginning . . .

Youth Challenge Color GuardThe Florida Youth Challenge program is endorsed by the State and is a cooperative effort between the Department of Education, Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Children and Families, Clay County District Schools, and the Department of Military Affairs, i.e., the Florida National Guard. The Florida Youth Challenge Academy is located on Camp Blanding (45 miles west of St. Augustine).

Our Mission . . .

To provide a high disciplined and motivational environment, free from outside distractions, which fosters academics, leadership development, personal growth, self-esteem, and physical fitness for qualifying high school dropouts.

Funding . . .

The Florida Youth Challenge program is funded by the Department of Defense and the State of Florida and is operated through a cooperative agreement between the National Guard Bureau and the Governor of Florida. Funding is based on the graduation rate of 100 cadets twice a year. This program is provided at no charge to the applicants.

Staffing . . .

Delivering ValentinesThe Academy consists of an operational staff and cadre with in-depth military experience, certified instructors from the Clay County District School system, a registered nurse practitioner, counselors and recruitment/placement personnel.

For complete information, go to the Florida Youth Challenge Web site.

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