Academy open to at-risk youth

Youth Challenge Photo Girls

ANNVILLE—The Keystone State ChalleNGe Academy is accepting applications for its first-ever cadet class in July 2022.

The Keystone State ChalleNGe Academy is designed to give academically challenged teens a second chance at obtaining their basic education, learn leadership, self-discipline, and responsibility while working towards finishing their education and building a brighter future. 

The opening of the academy at Fort Indiantown Gap in Lebanon County formally establishes the National Guard Bureau’s Youth ChalleNGe Program in Pennsylvania.

The program is open to 16- to 18-year-old male and female Pennsylvania residents who are failing to progress in high school or may not be on a clear path to graduating. Applicants must be willing to be drug free, free of felony convictions, and voluntarily commit to the program. The program lasts for 17 months, with the first five months consisting of residential training at FTIG followed by one year of mentorship back in the community.

“Sometimes teens head down the wrong path and fall short of reaching their potential in life,” said Stephen Radulski, KSCA director. “This academy provides the commonwealth’s disconnected youth with a second chance, one that will help them to reach their potential as productive citizens both socially and educationally. We encourage anyone who feels they are eligible to join the academy to apply right away.”

For detailed eligibility requirements and to begin the application process, go to: KSCA Application. If you prefer to have an application mailed to you, or would like to talk with someone about this program, please contact the academy by emailing [email protected], or by calling 717-861-7767 or 717-861-8831.

The KSCA is a joint effort between the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the National Guard Bureau in consultation with the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Cadets are introduced to the military structure and focus on eight core components: Academic Excellence; Physical Fitness; Leadership/Followership; Responsible Citizenship; Job Skills; Service to the Community; Health and Hygiene; and Life Coping Skills. Graduates often receive high school credits, credentials, or a GED. There is no tuition cost to attend. Meals, housing, uniforms, and school supplies are provided at no charge.

Since the program’s inception in 1993, more than 179,000 young people have completed the ChalleNGe program nationwide. This award-winning program has been recognized as one of the nation’s most effective and cost-efficient programs for targeting youth who have dropped out of school or are at the greatest risk for not satisfactorily progressing, are unemployed or under employed.

The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program currently operates 40 Youth Challenge sites in 31 states and territories. The program is both federally and state funded.

More details can be found at, or at

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