Keystone State ChalleNGe Academy Now Accepting Applications for Summer 2024 Class

The Keystone State ChalleNGe Academy (KSCA) is accepting applications for its fifth class of cadets which begins in July 2024. The KSCA is designed to give academically challenged teens a second chance at obtaining their basic education, learn leadership, self-discipline, and responsibility to build a better life.

The opening of the academy at Fort Indiantown Gap (FTIG) in Lebanon County in July 2022 formally established the National Guard Bureau’s Youth ChalleNGe Program in Pennsylvania.

The program is open to 16- to 18-year-old male and female Pennsylvania residents who are failing to progress in high school or may not be on a clear path to graduating. Applicants must be willing to be drug free, free of felony convictions, and voluntarily commit to the program. The program lasts for 17 months, with the first five months consisting of residential training at FTIG followed by one year of mentorship back in the community.

“This academy continues to graduate cadets who display a strong desire to learn and succeed in their life’s journey,” said Steve Grossman, KSCA director. “Their commitment and hard work is inspiring as we watch these young men and women change the trajectory of their life and begin down a new path filled with hope and promise. I encourage anyone in need of a positive change and who meets our requirements to consider applying for this academy.”

The KSCA conducts two classes a year, one starting in mid-July and the other in mid-January. Applications are accepted all year long.

For detailed eligibility requirements and to begin the application process, visit Eligibility and Admissions web page. If you prefer to have an application mailed to you or would like to talk with someone about this program, please contact the academy by emailing RA-MVPACHALLENGE@pa.gov, or by calling 717-861-7767 or 717-861-8831.

The KSCA is a joint effort between the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) and the National Guard Bureau in consultation with the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).

Cadets are introduced to the military structure and focus on eight core components: Academic Excellence; Physical Fitness; Leadership/Followership; Responsible Citizenship; Job Skills; Service to the Community; Health and Hygiene; and Life Coping Skills. Graduates often receive high school credits, credentials, or a GED. There is no tuition cost to attend. Meals, housing, uniforms, and school supplies are provided at no charge.

Since the program’s inception in 1993, more than 200,000 cadets have graduated from Youth Challenge academies nationwide (including programs no longer in operation).

This award-winning program has been recognized as one of the nation’s most effective and cost-efficient programs for targeting youth who have dropped out of school or are at the greatest risk for not satisfactorily progressing, or are unemployed or under employed.

The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program currently operates 40 Youth ChalleNGe academies and eight job academies in 30 states and territories. The program is both federally and state funded.