July, 20 2018

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Troubled Teens Graduate from Challenge Academy

Cadets from the National Guard Challenge Academy took a big step in improving their future today. More than 100 troubled teens were given a second chance to change their lives, and become first-class adults. The National Guard Challenge Academy had it's graduation at Mauston High School for the 19th class to come through the program.

The goal of the Challenge Academy is to make positive changes in the lives and the character of troubled teenagers, and to prepare them to be responsible adults. "I'm going to have a job then possibly go into the military" says Cadet Taylor Brunschmid, a graduate of the Challenge Academy program. Without the strong work ethic and discipline the Challenge Academy instructs, troubled teens like Taylor wouldn't be getting a diploma, but more likely a prison sentence. "I'd probably be the same place that I was. Going, heading down the wrong road...going to jail" Brunschmid added.

The National Guard Challenge Academy is a 22-week residence program that guides at-risk youth who are: high school drop-outs, habitual truants, expelled students, or students who are severely behind in school. For many Cadets, this program was their last chance to get their High School Equivalency Diploma, and change their lives for the better. Challenge Academy Director Michael G. MacLaren says: "This is their chance to take the other path and not the path that they're taking. Take the more positive path to success and to their futures."

The change the Cadets have experienced the past 149 days has been something everyone notices, and appreciates. "He's so polite now...he's so goal oriented. I'm just so proud of him, extremely proud for him not giving up on himself" Taylor's mother, Shannon Nicolai says about her son.

Today's graduation was the largest in the history of the Challenge Academy at Ft. McCoy, with 105 Cadets, representing 41 Wisconsin counties. More than 60,000 teens have completed National Guard youth programs, like the Challenge Academy, since 1993.

This is a volunteer program, and any teens ages 16 to 18, that are having a hard time and want to turn things around, are good candidates for the program. The Challenge Academy will begin its next class January 17th.

Related Articles:
10 Signs of a Troubled Teen 12/15/07
Florida Trooper Uses Chess to Help Troubled Teens 12/14/07
Montana Report Prompts Director to Resign 12/14/07
Pilot Program in New York to Help Troubled Teens 12/13/07
Montana Judge Unseals Swan Valley Report 12/13/07
Teen in Illinois Sent to Boot Camp 12/13/07
North Carolina Resident Suing Whisper Ridge 12/11/07
Former Montana Boot Camp Director Exposed for Abuse in Maryland 12/12/07
Getting to Know Attachment Disorder 12/10/07
How the Mind of a Teenage Killer Works 12/6/07

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