This Week at Challenge, Week 2-3
They made it!! 132 Candidates survived Red Stage and became Cadets today. The pride in their accomplishment was written all over their faces. It was a long uphill battle, but they persevered, overcame and became Cadets – Class 54.
The first week of Red Stage ended with the company in high spirits. Of course the first week of Red Stage was very difficult and trying as the Candidates adjusted to a new place and a different routine. Even though a few of the Candidates chose to leave OYCP, the ones who remain are showing improvement and motivation to achieve the goals that they have set for themselves.
Week two is always a long week for the Candidates. Lots of time was spent learning the rules of just about everything: boot shining, exercising, ironing, health and hygiene, and how to behave in class. The Candidates held up well under all the pressure, culminating in taking their handbook test. This was a test of their cadet handbook knowledge and must be passed in order to graduate Red Stage. This test can be challenging to some; however all the Candidates passed with flying colors.
Red Stage graduation was a very touching affair. The Cadets looked great in their freshly ironed Class A uniforms. For the first time in weeks there were smiles on their faces and a gleam in their eyes. Along with the ceremony, they also enjoyed a celebratory dinner of hamburgers and hot dogs, cooked and served by the OYCP staff. Everybody was buzzing with excitement as White Stage was about to start!
The cadets had a great first week of White Stage filled with school and lots of activities. Although there are some who are still struggling with home sickness, the company is really coming together as the platoons mesh into cohesive groups. Already the change is starting to show as the cadets have started to mature and realize how Youth Challenge is going to improve their lives.
Classes started this week and cadets were placed with their math and English teachers. They also attended their core classes including careers, science, health and social studies. In health, the cadets calculated their body mass index (BMI) so that they could have a starting point for the class. They will calculate this again at the end of the program so they can see how far they have improved physically. In careers, the cadets began preparing to take the test for their food handler’s card. All the cadets are required to take the test and earn the card. Meanwhile, in social studies, the cadets took the United States Citizenship test. This is the actual test that is given to immigrants trying to earn their citizenship. This test will also be given again towards the end of the program so the cadets can see how far they have come in their comprehension of U.S. Government.
After school this week, the cadets were busy taking the OYCP Physical Fitness test. They will take this test 4 times in total during the class, and awards will be given to the cadets who improve the most as well as those with the highest scores. The cadets have also competed in their first D&C (Drill and Ceremony) competition. All the cadets performed at a high standard and looked great. The video is available to watch, and the winner will be announced next week.
With White Stage and school starting it is as important as ever that parents continue to support your sons and daughters with letters and e-mail. Remember, your Cadets can receive pictures, so please mail some visual reminders to your kids; they love to show off their families to their platoons and staff. Although one really hard part is over, they still have four weeks until they go home for first break. Keep encouraging your Cadets to ensure they continue to grow and thrive at Youth Challenge.
Next week the cadets will be introduced to various branches of the military, will find out which platoon is best at cleaning their bays, and will learn how to save a life!