Reserve Affairs

The Office of the Assistant Secretary Defense

National Guard Youth Challenge Program

Authorized as a pilot program in the FY93 NDAA and funded to start 10 programs. Re authorized as a permanent program under 32 U.S.C. 509. The National Guard Youth Challenge Program (NGYCP) operates under the authority and oversight of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, administered through the Chief, National Guard Bureau, and executed by the Adjutants General of the States and Territories. The program operates at 33 sites in 27 states and Puerto Rico.

Program Description

The goal of the NGYCP is to improve the education, life skills, and employment potential of America’s high school dropouts. This is accomplished by providing quasi-military based training, supervised work experience and by advancing the program core components. The core components include assisting participants to obtain a high school diploma or equivalent, developing leadership qualities, promoting fellowship and service to community, developing citizenship, life-coping and job skills, and improving physical fitness, health, and hygiene. The program consists of a 2-week Pre-Challenge residential phase, a 20-week Challenge residential phase, and a 12-month post-residential mentoring phase. The mentoring phase is the second largest in the nation, and reportedly the most successful (received the National Mentoring Award twice).

Program Summary

Since 1993, approximately 100,000 students have successfully graduated from the program, with 80% earning their high school diploma or GED. On average, 26% go on to college, 20% enter the military, and the remaindered join the work force in career jobs. The average cost per Challenge student is $16,800. A longitudinal study conducted by MDRC reported that the early results off their evaluation suggests that partway through the cadets Youth Challenge experience, they are better positioned to move forward in their transition to adulthood.


ALASKA (Ft. Richardson-Anchorage); ARIZONA (Queen Creek); ARKANSAS (Camp Robinson-North Little Rock); CALIFORNIA (Camp San Luis Obispo-San Luis Obispo and Joint Forces Training Base-Los Alamitos); FLORIDA (Camp Blanding-Starke); GEORGIA (Ft. Gordon-Augusta and Ft. Stewart-Hines); HAWAII (Kapoliei and Kulani); ILLINOIS (Rantoul); INDIANA (Edinburgh); KENTUCKY (Ft. Knox); LOUISIANA (Camp Beauregard-Pineville, Camp Minden-Minden, and Gillis Long-Carville); MARYLAND (Aberdeen Proving Grounds); MICHIGAN (Battle Creek); MISSISSIPPI (Camp Shelby); MONTANA (Dillon); NEW JERSEY (Ft. Dix); NEW MEXICO (Roswell); NORTH CAROLINA (Salemburg); OKLAHOMA (Pryor); OREGON (Bend); PUERTO RICO (Ft. Allen-Juana Diaz); SOUTH CAROLINA (Ft. Jackson-Columbia); TEXAS (Sheffield); VIRGINIA (Camp Pendleton-Virginia Beach); WASHINTON (Bremerton); WEST VIRGINIA (Camp Dawson-Kingwood); WISCONSIN (Ft. McCoy); and WYOMING (Camp Guernsey-Guernsey)