Module 2

Overview of the challenge program


  • List the eight core components for cadets in NGYCP.
  • Be exposed to the principles and attributes of NGYCP.
  • Consider benefits of mentoring.


The National Guard Youth Challenge Program (NGYCP) is a free, co-educational, preventative program for high school dropouts aged 16-18 years old. The mission is “to intervene in the lives of at-risk youth and produce program graduates with the values, skills, education, and self-discipline necessary to succeed as adults.” The program accomplishes this mission through a structured 17 ½ month program that gives youth the opportunity to improve life skills and employment potential through development in core component areas.

Challenge is managed by the National Guard Bureau and was approved by Congress in 1993 as a pilot program. The program embraces a “quasi-military” philosophy. Quasi means “resembling somebody or something in some ways, but not the same.” The program is based on principles such as self-discipline, teamwork, self-esteem, personal responsibility, ethics, goal setting, and community service. Challenge is not a boot camp. Program graduates are not in any way required or expected to enlist in the military upon graduation. Cadets self-select into the program and are not forced into the program.

Eight Core components

1. Academic Excellence

  • Earn GED
  • Earn HSD
  • Earn 8-10 High School Credits and return to High School to Graduate
  • Increase Grade Level by taking Pre and Post TABE tests
  • Attend daily classes

2. Life Coping Skills

  • Understand personal financea. Demonstrate basic banking (savings and checking account management)b. Identify methods of obtaining and managing good creditc. Demonstrate how to prepare and manage a personal budget
  • Recognize various emotions and stressors, and identify coping strategies
  • Recognize conflict resolution strategies
  • Set and achieve goals

3. Job Skills

  • Complete the ASVAB and participate in a vocational interpretation.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and skills required to seek and obtain employment.a. Acquire job search skillsb. Complete a job applicationc. Complete a resumed. Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of work ethicse. Complete a mock job interview
  • Explore knowledge and skills required to pursue future educational opportunities, to include educational alternatives, institutions and financial aid

4. Health and Hygiene

  • Maintain personal hygiene by employing appropriate methods and practices
  • Recall the adverse effects of the abuse and available treatment resources for ATOD (alcohol, tobacco and other drugs)
  • Recall healthy sexual practices, human sexuality, family planning and related responsibilities
  • Recall the methods and practices used by individuals to prevent the spread of communicable diseases including STDs, HIV/AIDS and other bloodborne pathogens
  • Recall the importance of nutrition in the daily diet for personal well-being

5. Responsible Citizenship

  • Recall the rights, privileges and obligations of citizenship
  • Register for selective service, if eligible
  • egister to vote, if eligible
  • Communicate a basic understanding of the U.S. Constitution, government and citizenship
  • Participate in the democratic process
  • Communicate an understanding of voting and the election process

6. Service to the Community

  • Describe the importance and value of a service to community/conservation project
  • Complete a minimum of 40 hours of service to community/conservation projects

7. Leadership/Followership

  • Willingly comply with established rules, regulations and procedures
  • Perform basic military customs and courtesies
  • Perform basic military facing and marching movements
  • Define and recognize leadership skills, traits, dimensions and components
  • Employ leadership skills in accordance with FM 6-22 while performing in a leadership position
  • Maintain personal living areaFunction as an effective team member

8. Physical Fitness

  • Demonstrate a general knowledge of physical fitness concepts
  • Participate in physical fitness training and testing