How does the program operate?

The WYA is a 22-week residential and 52-week post-residential program.

The 22-week Residential Phase is a highly structured quasi-military format emphasizing self-discipline, personal responsibility and positive motivation. Students, who are referred to as cadets while at the Academy, must meet military grooming standards, wear military type uniforms and observe standard military customs and courtesies. After commencing from the program, cadets move into the 52-week post-residential phase back at home. Cadets will follow their post-residential plan, attending school/work or volunteering full-time, meeting with their WYA case manager and mentor.

The 22-week Residential Phase of the program begins with a two-week Acclimation Phase, where the goal is to identify those students that have the desire and discipline to complete the program. Students who successfully complete the Acclimation Phase enter the 20-week Challenge Phase where the emphasis is on the “Eight Core Component” curriculum.

Eight Core Components

  • Academic Excellence
  • Leadership and Followership
  • Life Coping Skills
  • Job Skills
  • Service to the Community
  • Responsible Citizenship
  • Health and Hygiene
  • Physical Fitness

The 52-week Post-Residential Phase begins after completing the Challenge Phase and returning home. Each cadet will attend school/work or volunteer full-time, will make monthly contact the WYA case manager and meet monthly with an adult role model in a one-on-one mentoring relationship. Apply and fill out our pre-application form here.


Who is eligible to attend the WYA?

Any Washington State resident that meets the eligibility criteria.

  • 16 -18 years old
  • At least 3 or more credits behind
  • At-risk of not graduating or already dropped out of high school
  • Volunteering; not forced or court-ordered to attend
  • A resident of Washington state and a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, permanent resident alien or green card holder
  • Not arrested, awaiting sentencing or indicted of a crime
  • Diversions must be completed—probation is OK
  • Never charged or convicted of a felony
  • Willing to be drug-free while enrolled
  • If under 18—parent or legal guardian will allow attendance

What is the cost to attend Washington Youth Academy (WYA)?

$0 - There is no tuition cost for attending this program.

The Washington Youth Academy, as part of the National Guard Youth Challenge Program, is operated through a Cooperative Agreement between the National Guard Bureau and Washington state. This means it is funded by federal and state dollars making tuition absolutely free to eligible youth. The Academy receives its base budget through Department of Defense appropriations (75%) and OSPI school apportionment funding (25%).


What is the academic focus at the WYA?

To increase students’ math and reading skills, as measured by the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE).

To provide the skills and knowledge for students to retrieve up to 8 high school credits.

During the Residential Phase, students may earn up to eight high school credits in Social Studies, Science, Math, English, Health/Fitness, Physical Education, Career Technical Education and Service to Community. The Washington Youth Academy contracts with the Bremerton School District to provide approved academic courses. Academic credits are issued at the end of the session when the cadet commences from the program. The WYA doesn’t offer diplomas or GED opportunities. Students return to their home high schools with additional credit than can use to earn their diploma.


What does a typical day look like at the Washington Youth Academy?

  • 4:45 a.m. Wake-up
  • 5:00-6:15 Physical Training (PT)
  • 6:15-8:25 Morning Activities
    • Shower and Hygiene
    • Platoon Bay Maintenance
    • Breakfast
    • Personal Time
    • Formation
  • 8:30 a.m. - 3:40 p.m. Academic Instruction with a lunch break
  • 3:45-6:30 Afternoon Activities
    • Formation
    • Homework
    • Personal Time
    • Mail call
    • Dinner
  • 6:30-7:30 Small Unit or Platoon Activity
  • 7:30-8:45 Evening Activities
    • Platoon Bay Maintenance
    • Hygiene
    • Decompression & Reflection Time
  • 8:45 p.m. Lights Out- Followed by 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep time.

Is there an obligation to enlist in the military after attending the WYA?

No. There is no military obligation or expectation.

This program is not designed or intended to be a military academy or boot camp. The program is an academic intervention, reclaiming the potential of at-risk youth.


Is the WYA a drug treatment or juvenile rehabilitation center?

No. The WYA is not juvenile detention or drug/alcohol treatment center.

Applicants must be willing to live drug-free while in residence at the WYA. Random drug testing is performed. Applicants are required to have all pending and legal obligations completed, including diversions and deferred dispositions. Applicants can be on probation for a misdemeanor or minor offence. Students who have been charged and convicted of a felony are not eligible to apply.


Can I enroll and force my child to attend the WYA?

No. The WYA is a volunteer program.

Applicants must be willing to participate in the WYA. Parents can’t force attendance. Courts do not order students to attend the WYA.


How does the mentoring program work?

Each student who applies to the Academy must submit the name of an adult who will act as their mentor during the 22-week residential phase and the 52-week post-residential phase — basically an 18-month commitment. This is a mandatory requirement for admission and students cannot start the program until a mentor is identified. The mentor plays a critical role in the student’s short and long-term success in completing the Academy and moving on to become a responsible and productive citizen. Mentoring is a positive one-on-one relationship between a youth and an adult that provides emotional support, advice, and guidance to help the younger person deal with the challenge life. Mentors assist students with goal setting and career exploration. More info here.

Mentors criteria:

  • 25 years old or older
  • The same gender/sex as the applicant
  • Cannot be an immediate relative or someone living in the same household.
  • Must live within the same geographic area as the student.
  • Have no criminal history involving sex crimes
  • Have no felonies and crimes involving alcohol or substance abuse with the last 5 years.
  • Must attend a half-day training at the WYA in Bremerton.
  • Must be willing to commit for 17.5-months.
  • Ability to submit a timely, brief report (online) each month to document the student’s progress.
  • Must be able to provide a government-issued Social Security Number.
  • Can I submit my application without a mentor?
  • Yes. You can submit an application without a mentor, but you must identify someone before the start of the class.
  • Finding a mentor can sometimes be difficult. Here are good places to look:
  • Schools – teachers, counselors, coaches, JROTC leaders, custodial, office staff, kitchen staff, bus drivers…
  • Parent work associates, friends, neighbors
  • Extended family – aunts, uncles, cousins
  • Community organizations- Lions Club, Kiwanis, Rotary, Elks, VFW, Soroptimist
  • Religious organizations-leader, youth directors, lay persons

Where is the WYA located and can I visit the campus?

The Academy is located at 1207 Carver Street, Bremerton, WA 98312. This is also the mailing address.

The WYA is a closed campus. Visits are only allowed during Open Houses. Open House opportunities for prospective students and families are offered prior to each class cycle. Please visit the Open House tab on the website for dates and time. Current family and past cadets cannot come to campus without permission ahead of time. Events are posted here. 


What awards has the Youth Academy won?

  • Designated Innovative School--Legislature and OSPI (2011)
  • State Audit for School Programs (2011): “No findings”
  • NGB audit (2012): score 96% of 100%, “top program”
  • CNA studies 2012-16 non-cognitive skills/cognitive skills
  • 1000th Graduate June 2013, 2000th December 2016
  • NGB CORE Audit (2015): “Outstanding” evaluation rating
  • DFAC received HUSSC Bronze Award (2015)
  • NGYF “Teacher of the Year” Award (2015)
  • Governor’s Distinguished Manager Award (2016)
  • Team “Extra Mile Award” (2016)
  • FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Award (Honorable Mention for training every cadet CERT guidelines) (2017)

I have more questions….

The first place to look is the parent handbook. (y en Español aqui). Before you call us, download this document and read the expectations of parents/guardians.