In 1999, the Oregon National Guard established the Oregon Youth Challenge Program (OYCP) in Bend, Oregon as an intervention program to reclaim the lives of Oregon teens who had dropped out of high school or who were not on track to graduate. The term “at-risk”, for our purposes, refers to the risk of not graduating high school. We are well-aware of the negative life outcomes that are associated with this risk: poverty, incarceration, and early death are among them. It is because the stakes are so high that the Department of Defense invested in the Challenge model of youth development and community outreach.
OYCP is one of more than 40 programs in 28 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. All Youth Challenge Programs help at-risk youth earn their high school diploma, an equivalency, or credit recovery toward graduation.
OYCP incorporates best practices in positive youth development from a combination of educational and military models. Staff leverage high-quality and trusting relationships with program participants, their parents and guardians and a vast network of OYCP supporters to achieve success. OYCP continues to work with program participants for one year after they graduate from the residential phase to help them return to high school, enroll in college, trade school, start a career, volunteer or join the military.