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Stand-To: Procedure prior to first light to enhance unit security, a daily compendium of news, information, and context for Army leaders.

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STAND-TO! Edition: Thursday, October 27 2011

Today's Focus:

National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program

Senior Leaders are Saying

The Army's budget is smaller than it has been in previous years, and it will get smaller still. However, a different fiscal reality does not change the reality of what we owe to our families. The Army's commitment to families remains as strong as ever.

- Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of Installation Management Command

Nation honors military families' sacrifices

What They're Saying

Due to the (operational tempo) over the past 10 years, complacency with the standards has slowly crept in because we had to fill positions. Now that our troops are drawing down in Iraq and Afghanistan, we don't have the need for such a large force.

- Command Sgt. Maj. of the National Guard Richard Burch, speaking with candor and honesty to the deployed National Guard Soldiers about upcoming changes in structure and funding, as well as the personal responsibilities inherent in both, at the Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan

Guard CSM to deployed troops: Standards to change

A Culture of Engagement

Today's Focus

National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program

What is it?

The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program helps reclaim the lives of 16-18 year-old high school dropouts who do not have criminal records. The program produces graduates with the values, skills, education, and self-discipline necessary to succeed as productive citizens. ChalleNGe, recognized as America's premier program for at-risk youth, is available in 28 participating states and Puerto Rico.

What has the Army done?

Congress authorized the Youth ChalleNGe Program in 1993, and, to date, more than 110,000 cadets have graduated and turned their lives around. The National Guard uses a quasi-military, disciplined, and focused approach to guide the ChalleNGe program. The result is a high-performing organization with an emphasis on outcomes and results. With limited financial resources, ChalleNGe program directors use planned and structured networking opportunities to maximize the knowledge, skills, and abilities of all staff members.

The average program per capita cost is $17,300 per year. States receive both federal (75 percent) and state (25 percent) funding and thus provide financially stable life-altering opportunities to at-risk young people.

The Youth ChalleNGe Program consists of eight core components: leadership/followership responsible citizenship service to community life-coping skills physical fitness health and hygiene job skills and academic excellence. These core areas enable the program to focus on a wide band of attributes, values, skills, and goals including moral and ethical standards, self-esteem and self-discipline, resilience through anger, grief, depression, and stress management, basic academics such as math and reading, physical fitness, substance avoidance, service to communities, and environmental awareness. Professional development focus areas include personal finance, career exploration, and job searching skills.

Why is this important to the Army?

Recent statistics show that fewer young people are graduating from high school. Graduates of ChalleNGe are potential candidates for any branch of military service and are much more likely to avoid legal pitfalls or behavioral problems. ChalleNGe graduates, whether they join the military or not, demonstrate a much lower rate of joblessness, criminal behavior, and substance abuse than their high school dropout peers, and are far more likely than their peers to obtain a GED and become productive citizens.

What continued efforts does the National Guard have planned for the future?

The Youth ChalleNGe Program emphasizes public awareness of and expansion of the program. Future goals involve offering this great opportunity to a larger population of at-risk high school students. ChalleNGe alumni serve as role models, mentors, and successful productive citizens.

Resources:

Army National Guard

National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program

Louisiana National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program

New Jersey Army National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Academy

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