"The Youth Challenge Program had given me the opportunity to graduate from high school with my class. I now have my own apartment and a job."
My name is Alex, Alexander Michael Barreto. I am one lucky enough to attend and graduate from OYCP! Actually, my mother found out about the school and asked if I wanted to go check out to the orientation. I had been struggling to graduate in time at the school I was currently attending and I didn't have enough credits to graduate with my class. I realized that if I went through OYCP I could get my diploma. I didn't want to be the guy who couldn't graduate in time, so the choice was easy for me.. plus I had always liked and wanted to be in the military. I'm super glad I made the choice to give it a shot. OYCP helped me become the man I am today. I learned self discipline, courage and determination. I learned about teamwork and brotherhood. Which would help me get through 8 years in the military and 2 overseas tours. After Graduating from OYCP, I joined the National Guard as a welder. I went to FT Sill Oklahoma for my basic training (which actually was not too bad thanks to OYCP) then on to Aberdeen Proving Grounds for my AIT welding training. When I got back and was placed in my new platoon, I became a Humvee Gunner. Then a couple months after that we got our warning order that our unit was getting mobilized to Baghdad Iraq. Thankfully I made it through that and a second tour to Oman. OYCP helped mold me to be a good soldier and a good man. I am now preparing myself for a new adventure.. which is to become a underwater welder. I would like to thank all the staff at OYCP with all my heart for being there me and all of us who have attended and graduated from OYCP.
"This program has taught me honor and self-discipline."
"The main reason I came to OYCP was to earn 4 high school credits. While here, I learned other principles such as the importance of setting goals and accomplishing them; earning trust and accepting the responsibilities that come with it. Like many others, I had problems with school, I didn't want to go. My priorities were to hang out with my friends. My parents always told me I could make it through school. This program challenged me to get through school, not just sliding by, but exceeding the standards and being at the top of my class. When we, as cadets, have a goal; the important thing is to stay focused. This program teaches that. While here we learned to motivate ourselves a day at a time. On my wall locker I wrote "Remember, you want to graduate a one plus so trust in God to get you there." This helped me to remember my goal and to strive towards it. THE OREGON NATIONAL GUARD YOUTH CHALLENGE PROGRAM has lived up to it's name. It's been a challenge from day one. Whether it be working on work crew or being in school, we always had to apply ourselves, even at six o'clock in the morning. Throughout the program there have been cadets who could not make it. They refused to accept the challenge. That is the hardest part. The challenge is in striving to get where you want to be. If you want something, you just can't sit there, you have to strive to get there. I learned alot from the staff also. I learned the importance of trust. Trust is the key to success. If no one trusts you, they won't allow you to do certain jobs. Alot of jobs, whether in this program or not, takes an amount of trust. Earning that trust is another part of the challenge. To earn it and to accept all that comes with it. If you earn that trust you need to keep it, if you lose it you might not get it back. Responsibility is another key to success. The definition of responsibility is; Obliged to carry out or take care of duty. When assigned a task you must fulfill it to the best of your ability. You can't stop halfway through, you have to carry it out to the end. In other words, seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions. No one can open the doors for you. You have to accept the challenge. It isn't always going to be easy, but to succeed you must give it everything you have. You can't wait around for life to happen to you, you have to go get it. Myself and other cadets here have decided not to wait any longer. We believe we will do it. I would prefer to go farther than those who said I wouldn't go anywhere."
I attended OYCP during the 2002-2 year.. I was just writing because I came across the OYCP website and it brought back the memories I had. I am writing to express my gratitude for the program. Before I came in I was a High School student'. I put it in parenthesis because in reality I never really went.. I always skipped classes and such. But I went to the program. Got my GED, and now, I have entered the Air Force.. got my Associates degree, and am working on getting my Bachelors degree in Astrophysics. I am sure that had I not gone to OYCP I would not have finished school and I would be drifting around aimlessly not succeeding in anything. I cannot express how much I appreciate the program and I wish that more people knew about it and what it can do for them. I will continue to spread the word wherever I can. Thank you guys.
"This program was sometimes hard and I didn't always like it but it was the best decision I ever made."
"Before I came here I was in a lot of trouble. I suffered from depression and a lack of self-esteem. I saw myself being influenced to walk down a road I didn't like. I decided to make a positive change in my life, but change isn't easy. This program makes this change possible. The major thing that makes this program great is the staff. The fact that the staff here actually cares, gives them the power to help us in our lives especially because many of them have been in our shoes before. I would like to give my utmost thanks and respect to all of the staff here. Another positive thing about this program is the educational system. The teachers are the foundation of the system for they always have the time to help us individually. The fact that every teacher gets to know us, helps them teach us on a level that we can understand. I would also like to thank them as well. The work system here works hand in hand with the educational system. For we are learning from it as well. The job skills we gain here are invaluable to our future, considering how hard it is to get a job without experience. This program will make it easier to make it out there lawfully rather than through crime to survive. Also the discipline we learn to do jobs that we don't like is a major improvement, for not all jobs out there are fun. One of my main problems as a young adult is the indecision about my future. In the process of this program I have found a clarity in my life that I have never experienced before. I have had a lot of help in the process of finding a purpose to work for my life. Career counseling, Guest Speakers, and the work I have done, have all helped me in my decision. Now I have something I can work to, rather than just shuffling life along and waiting for something to happen. I am now going to go out and grab it!!