Washington Youth Academy Director Amy Steinhilber

Amy Steinhilber took over as director of the Washington Youth ChalleNGe Academy in 2019.

Steinhilber began working with at-risk youth in 1997 as a Cadre Team Leader for the Seaborne Conservation Corps in Texas. Within two years, Seaborn transitioned to become part of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program and Steinhilber helped build the mentoring component for the program as the Post-Residential Coordinator. In 2008, she came to Washington state to help start the program here, one of just two Youth ChalleNGe leaders to get the program off to a running start. In 2013, she was recruited to help get the Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy off the ground, serving as deputy director. She returned to the Washington Youth Academy family in 2015 as deputy director.

Steinhilber has been responsible for day-to-day operations. As director, she reports to Brig. Gen. Welsh. As part of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Training Committee, she has travelled to many of the nation’s programs to help train staff in all aspects of ChalleNGe philosophy and operational practice.

Her background includes service overseas with the United States Army Reserve and a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

Her years of experience in ChalleNGe have led to a clear philosophy: “The ChalleNGe Quasi-Military heart means we train for life-coping, not for battlefield discipline. This means the traditional understanding of ‘Military Leadership’ will not do unless infused with relational compassion with professional bearing – understanding that discipline is not always ‘black and white,’ and what changes hearts and minds is relationships.”