Why apply NOW to the Washington Youth ChalleNGe Academy?
Apply NOW to make sure you are in the running for the next class. An application does not commit a youth to attend. It is a door opener. While many families and youth are seeking ways to earn credits, those who have already applied to the WYCA for the opportunity to earn eight credits in 5 ½ months will be the first considered for this unique and robust opportunity.
How does the program operate?
The WYCA is a 22-week residential and 52-week post-residential program. Have questions? Let us know.
The 22-week Residential Phase is a highly structured quasi-military format emphasizing self-discipline, personal responsibility and positive motivation. Youth, 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 WYCA 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 Candidates that have the desire and discipline to complete the program. Cadets who successfully complete the Acclimation Phase enter the 20-week Challenge Phase where the emphasis is on the “Eight Core Component” curriculum.
- Academic Excellence
- Leadership and Followership
- Life Coping Skills
- Job Skills
- Service to the Community
- Responsible Citizenship
- Health and Hygiene
- Physical Fitness
Where is the WYCA located and can I visit the campus?
The Academy is located at 1207 Carver Street, Bremerton, WA 98312. This is also the mailing address. As of right now, we are limiting visitors on campus, by invitation ONLY. Please do not just drop by. Please enjoy one of our virtual information sessions and watch videos on our YouTube Channel to explore the campus.
Who is eligible to attend the WYCA?
Any Washington State resident that meets the eligibility criteria.
- Volunteer for the program.
- Females and males, 16 – 18 years of age at the time of entry into the program. Applicants will not exceed 18 years of age on the first day of the Residential Phase. Applicants who are 15 years old and who will turn 16 during the Residential phase can attend if approved by the Program Director, but such applicants must be enrolled in a high school credit recovery track to allow for their eventual return to high school.
- High school dropout or at risk of dropping out due to credit deficiency.
- A resident of Washington State and a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
- Unemployed or underemployed.
- Free of felony charges and no pending court proceedings.
- Willing to be free from use of illegal drugs or substances while enrolled in the program.
- Physically and mentally capable to participate in the program with reasonable accommodation for physical and other disabilities.
What is the cost to attend Washington Youth ChalleNGe Academy?
$0 - There is no tuition cost for attending this program.
The Washington Youth ChalleNGe 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 WYCA?
To increase cadets’ math and reading skills, as measured by the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE).
To provide the skills and knowledge for applicants to retrieve up to 8 high school credits.
During the Residential Phase, applicants 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 ChalleNGe 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. Applicants 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 ChalleNGe 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
- Personal Time
- 8:30 a.m. - 3:40 p.m. Academic Instruction with a lunch break
- 3:45-6:30 Afternoon Activities
- Personal Time
- Mail call
- 6:30-7:30 Small Unit or Platoon Activity
- 7:30-8:45 Evening Activities
- Platoon Bay Maintenance
- Decompression & Reflection Time
- 8:45 p.m. Lights Out- Followed by 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep time.
View some of the potential cadet ribbons earned by cadets and their platoons.
Is there an obligation to enlist in the military after attending the WYCA?
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 WYCA a drug treatment or juvenile rehabilitation center?
No. The WYCA is not juvenile detention or drug/alcohol treatment center.
Applicants must be willing to live drug-free while in residence at the WYCA. 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. Applicants who have been charged and convicted of a felony are not eligible to apply.
Can I enroll and force my child to attend the WYCA?
No. The WYCA is a volunteer program.
Applicants must be willing to participate in the WYA. Parents can’t force attendance. Courts do not order applicants to attend the WYCA.
How does the mentoring program work?
Each youth 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 applicant cannot start the program until a mentor is identified. The mentor plays a critical role in the Cadet’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 applicants with goal setting and career exploration. More info here.
Why did the Washington Youth Academy change its name to the Washington Youth ChalleNGe Academy?
The refresh is not a complete overhaul and is similar to a product line changing its label to appeal to more audiences. Our logo remains the same as it already includes the word ChalleNGe in the ribbon. The name change connects us to the larger national community of National Guard Youth Challenge Programs and our place within it. The name also asserts our uniqueness with our stakeholders and state partners.
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)
- KCTS "Golden Apple" Teaching award. (2020)