At-Risk Youth Look to a Brighter Future
The Keystone State ChalleNGe Academy (KSCA) is accepting applications for its third class of cadets which begins in July 2023. The KSCA is designed to give academically challenged teens a second chance at obtaining their basic education, learn leadership, self-discipline, and responsibility to build a better life.
The opening of the academy at Fort Indiantown Gap (FTIG) in Lebanon County in July 2022 formally established 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.
“After graduating our first-ever class of cadets in December 2022, we recently welcomed a larger second class this month that is already demonstrating a high level of energy and an eagerness to succeed,” said Steve Grossman, KSCA director. “We are excited to work with this class as they face new challenges and work their way to a brighter future. We project every class will grow in numbers and encourage any at-risk teen looking for a fresh start to apply for residency at the academy.”
For detailed eligibility requirements and to begin the application process, visit our Eligibility and Admissions web page. 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 (DMVA) and the National Guard Bureau in consultation with the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).
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 200,000 young people have completed the Youth 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 www.dmva.pa.gov/KeystoneStateChallengeAcademy.