Vision, Mission, Goals, and History
The Oregon National Guard Youth Challenge vision is to be one of the State’s leaders and premier youth programs serving high school drop outs and those who are not likely to succeed in the traditional high school system, while creating economic value, long term cost avoidance, civic contribution and future responsible tax paying citizens of Oregon.
The program mission is to provide opportunities for personal growth, self improvement and academic achievement among Oregon high school drop outs, teens no longer attending and those failing in school, through a highly structured non-traditional environment; integrating training, mentoring and diverse educational activities.
The primary focus and goal of the Oregon National Guard Challenge Program is to improve education, life skills and placement potential after the residential phase for participating cadets. This is accomplished by providing military-based training, classroom instruction and mandatory CORE areas of training. As described previously, the educational CORE areas include assisting cadets in obtaining a high school diploma or it’s equivalent, developing leadership qualities, promoting service learning and community service, developing life-coping skills and job skills, while improving physical fitness, health and hygiene.
As a commitment to the National Guard Bureau / State partnership, the Oregon National Guard Youth Challenge Program will focus on the following service goals during the state plan implementation period and during each class;
- Serve a minimum of 300 cadets per year and 600 cadets per biennium that have previously been unsuccessful, dropped out or are not attending a required Oregon traditional high school.
- Successfully graduate a minimum of 240 cadets per year and 480 per biennium.
- 100% of all attending cadets shall at a minimum, shall earn one of the following; earn a High School diploma, Oregon GED, 8 to 10 high school credits and return to high school after graduation from the residential phase.
- 100% of attending cadets will have a qualified trained adult mentor prior to graduation from the residential component.
- 20% of all attending cadets will enlist in the United States Armed Forces during the 17-month program.
- 80% of the cadet residential graduates will have a placement that represents return to school, military, secondary education, vocational placement, Job Corps or employment at the time of graduation from the residential component.
- 70% (7/10) of all cadets completing the 17 month program shall be placed and accounted for at the end of the 12 month program period.
- Actual per day, per cadet costs for the 24/7 residential school operation to the State of Oregon shall be the same or less than the current per student costs for the state to fund the mainstream school system 6-7 hour per day, 5 day public high school student costs.
- 100% of the Oregon Youth Challenge graduates will increase academic performance in math, reading and language during the 22-week intensive school program.
- Less than 5% of the Youth Challenge graduates will be arrested/convicted on or before completion of the 17-month program as validated through mentor reports.
Congress authorized and funded the National Guard Bureau to enter into agreements with the nation's governors to operate youth programs beginning in Fiscal Year 1993. The Oregon National Guard (ORNG) began its first pilot iteration of the Youth Challenge Program (ONGYCP) in September 1994. In January of 1999, ONGYCP became an official ChalleNGe Program. The goals of this program are to provide young people with values, self-esteem skills, education, and to succeed as students and young adults. ONGYCP is designed as a intervention program rather than punitive. It is a youth program which targets drug free, unemployed/underemployed male and female school dropouts ages 16 to 18. The program's mission is to provide work skills and alternative learning opportunities to meet the unique individual needs of students in order to increase positive behavioral and academic skills. The student is better prepared for transition to and subsequent success in his or her next learning or work environment by promoting learning, goal setting, and self image building.
This 17 ½ month ChalleNGe Program consists of two distinct phases.
First is a 22 week Residential Phase. This is split into a 2 week acclimation period in which each Corpsmember (Cadet) is given a chance to prove his or her commitment to the program. For those who pass the acclimation period comes the 20 week academic classroom instruction and service to community period. The residential phase takes place at the Oregon National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program facility in Bend, Oregon.
The final Post-Residential Mentorship Phase begins during the residential phase and continues for one year after the cadet successfully completes the residential phase. This is a highly important phase of the program. Please go to the Mentor Page for more mentor information.
The ONGYCP program is a military style environment. Staff utilize a "Hands Off", tough love, caring, disciplined approach to instill values, train, and instruct cadets. Core components consist of academic excellence (preparation for GED or HSD), citizenship, job skills, service to the community, health and hygiene, life coping skills, leadership/followership, and physical fitness. The eligibility/selection criteria for entrance into the program are that the participant must be: a volunteer; within the ages 16-18; a citizen or legal resident of the U.S. and of the State of Oregon; unemployed or underemployed; must not possess felony or capital adjudications / convictions and must have physical capability to complete the program with reasonable accommodations for physical challenges. The staff of the program screen the applications and select those most likely to complete the program. Cadets have two educational options in the program: GED or high school credits and make this choice in the first week that they are enrolled. The critical work ethic portion of the program teaches cadets to accept work assignments which vary in scope and length. During the Residential Phase, cadets are in the classroom 4 days each week and doing work projects for the remainder of the week. These assignments are designed to foster initiative, flexibility, creativity, and leadership. These important skills are reinforced so that they are understood and incorporated by the cadets as part of their work ethic no matter what the task. Cadets are exposed to a variety of agencies while working on work projects.