National Guard Youth Challenge Program: 14 Things You Should Know

“Children are the future, and it is our duty to make sure that future shines bright.”

Those were the words I used when, several years ago I was involved with helping teenagers get their skate-park rebuilt in Lebanon. Missouri. In doing so, I noticed that several military individuals were also helping. It is with action that we can make a difference for future generations. By interacting with youngsters, and developing programs to help them grow into responsible adults, we can create a world of morally stable people.

The National Guard has a program that is attacking this need. In today’s post, we are going to examine 14 things you should know about the National Guard Youth Challenge Program.

1: About The National Guard Youth Foundationlogo NGYF

The National Guard Youth Challenge Program is administered by the National Guard Youth Foundation. The Foundation is a 501 (C)(3) non-profit that was formed as an advocate for the National Guard Youth Challenge Program. Their goal is to provide the resources needed so that youth can maintain a successful path beyond their graduation. The motto the Foundation carries is: We Support Second Chances.

2: National Guard Youth Challenge Mission

The National Guard Youth Challenge Program has one primary mission. It is intervening in the lives of at-risk youth by producing program graduates with the skills, values, education and self-discipline to succeed as adults.

3: Primary Components In The National Guard Youth Challenge Program

During the time in the program, youth will be involved in courses that will cover these primary components:

  • Academic skills which means either a high school diploma or GED attainment.

  • Physical training

  • Citizenship

  • Leadership skills and followership skills

  • Life coping skills

  • Employment skill training

  • Community service

  • Health and hygiene

4: Program Length

The National Guard Youth Challenge Program has a length of 17 months. The first 5 months are a residential phase, whereas the following 12 month period becomes a mentoring phase. The residential phase uses a quasi-military system.

5: Age And Other Requirements For Challenge Participants

The National Guard Youth Challenge Program accepts both males and females that are 16 to 18 years old and high school drop-outs. The youth must not have any felony convictions, and they have to be completely drug free. The program is completely voluntary, so no youth can be forced to join or participate.

6: The Cost For The National Guard Youth Challenge Program

In these difficult economic times, one of the first questions parents or guardians ask before the youth attends the National Guard Youth Challenge Program is the cost.

It is free for the youth and their parents.

The operation is in cooperation between the State the program is in and the National Guard Bureau. The costs are absorbed by State and Federal funding.

7: Further Education Opportunities For Graduates

In an effort to keep helping those who graduate from the National Guard Youth Challenge Program, supporters instituted the Competitive Scholarship Program. Graduates of the program who would like to further their education can apply for a $5,000 scholarship that will renew over a 4 year period creating a total of $20,000. Or the $3,ooo scholarship that renews over a 2 year period for a total of $6,000. It can be used at any accredited educational institution the student desires.

8: States And Territories That Offer The National Guard Youth Challenge Program

Listed below are each State that offers the program. Some States offer multiple programs. I will link each State to their website.

9: MDRC Evaluation Of The National Guard Youth Challenge Program

The MDRC is an independent organization that performed an evaluation on the National Guard Youth Challenge Program. Their findings showed that in comparison to counterparts, the graduates of the program were more likely to obtain a GED or High School diploma, achieve college credits and have employment. To top it off, graduates were shown to average a 20% higher income in their employment.

10: Board Of Directors

The Board of Directors of the National Guard Youth Foundation are:


Retired Air Force General Craig McKinley

Vice Chairman

T. Gail Dady


Thomas J. Campbell


Anita Antenucci

11: Become A Mentor

The National Guard Youth Challenge Program is always interested in having mentors available to work with these young men and women. This video explains how you can make a difference.

12: Corporate Sponsors

The National Guard Youth Challenge Program has attracted the attention of a wide range of Corporate Sponsors. Here they are:

Airbus Group

Alenia North America

American Business Development Group

American Securities

Armed Forces Benefit Association

Arnold & Porter, LLP

The Arnold Group, LLC

Aronson Capital Partners

Azimuth, Inc.

BAE Systems

BB&T Corporation


Boeing Company

Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC

Cassidy & Associates

Catapult Technology

Cobham North America

Colt Defense, LLC

Computer Security Solutions, Inc

Conaway Group

Dare Mighty Things

DC Capital Partners

Delta Dental

Dentrust Dental


DRS Technologies

Ernst & Young



FLIR Systems

Fogo de Chao

General Building Maintenance, Inc

General Dynamics

General Electric

Georgia Power

Headrick Partners

HealthNet Federal Services

Hendrick Motorsports

Houlihan Lokey

IAI North America

IBM – Global Business Services


Institute for Global Futures

Jefferies & Company

Kaseman, LLC

L-3 Communications

LM&O Advertising

Lockheed Martin

Management and Training Consultants

Mayo Charitable Foundation

McChrystal Group


Michael Baker International


Military Personnel Services Corporation

National Black Chamber of Commerce

National Defense Industrial Association

NCI Information Systems, Inc.

Northrop Grumman

Onsite Health

Oshkosh Defense

Panther Racing


Peduzzi Associates, LTD

Raytheon Company

Robertson Fuel Systems, LLC

Royer Studios


SRA International, Inc

Strategic Resources, Inc

Strategic Intelligence Group, LLC

Student Loan Finance Corporation


TSM Corporation

World Wrestling Entertainment

13: Celebrities Who Support The Program

There are a plethora of celebrities who also are supporting this great program. They are:

Trisha Yearwood

Karri Turner

Johnny Bench

Laura Bryna

Kaley Caperton

Sen. Jay Rockefeller

Tyler Reddick

Kelly Perdew

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Josh Gracin

Brooke Eden

Randy Houser

Jeff Gordon

Kofi Kingston

14: How You Can Help

The National Guard Youth Challenge Program relies on support to keep it running strong. So how can you help? There are many ways.

Final Words

In these days of so much news about crime, poverty and war, it is refreshing to see that there are military minded individuals helping youth.

We would love to hear your thoughts. Have you been involved with this great program? Did you graduate from it? Tell us below, and to all who are helping these youth…Thank you.

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