Youth Challenge Academy Family Day
May 14, 2009
FORT GORDON, Ga.--(May 13, 2009) The Fort Gordon Youth Challenge Academy opened its doors to friends and Family members April 25.
Family Day allows us to show off all our hard work, said Janet Zimmerman, YCA director. The mission of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program is to intervene in and reclaim the lives of at-risk youth to produce graduates with the values, skills, education and self-discipline necessary to succeed as adults.
One of the Soldiers helping out at the event was Pfc. Toby Richards from Company A, 447th Signal Battalion at Fort Gordon. "This is my second [YCA] class that I have volunteered to help with," said Richards.
"I went through the YCA program in 2004. I volunteer to help the cadets because I want to give something back for the help the program gave me."
Family Day gave the Family members an opportunity to tour the cadets' barracks and see for themselves the progress their son or daughter had made during the first four weeks of the 22 week resident program.
During the morning YCA cadets participated in drill and ceremony, scaled and rappelled from the 40-foot tower and lunched with their Families. Basketball tournaments were also held. Children played on air filled slides. Prizes were given away on the hour.
In the afternoon YCA cadets performed drills they had created themselves. On April 24 they were judged by active duty Soldiers from Fort Gordon and awards in the form of colorful streamers for their platoon guidon were presented during Family Day. The first platoon, made up of female cadets, won the PT [Physical Training] award. They called themselves the "Amazons."
The remaining three platoons were made up of all males. The second platoon, who called themselves the "Mustangs," stole the show. They took home three awards -- the kitchen police, esprit de corps and the commandant's awards.
The third platoon, known as the "Wolf Pack," earned the Best Challenge Point Average award.
The "Bull Dogs," or the fourth platoon, won the "Team Work" award.
Following the award presentation, a drill and ceremony competition was opened up to everyone.
Participants were removed from the formation after failing to perform the proper military movement until only three stood on the field.
James Joseph, a four-year Army veteran, earned the first place trophy. YCA cadet Helm Brandon, one of the Mustangs, placed second and YCA cadet Jerahmiah Gaines took home the third place trophy.
The rest of the evening cadets, Family members and friends danced.
First there was the electric slide. This was followed by the electric cha cha, the twist and turn and finally, the limbo.
During the day's event Soldiers from Company C, 447th Signal Battalion and Company D, 551st Signal Battalion helped with parking, serving food and assisting at the 40-foot rappelling tower.
Members of the Georgia State Defense Force welcomed Family members and friends at the entrance gates of the YCA campus and answered their queries about the day's events.