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In the PRess


Foresight Ensures Successful Graduation of Class 43

November 23 , 2020

Class 43 of the Montana Youth Challenge Academy was successfully graduated on November 23, 2020. The Academy honored 82 cadets with diplomas, completing the cycle about 3 weeks early from a typical class. The shortened cycle was the result of statewide increase in COVID-19 cases, including suspected cases within the Academy. Like many other schools and organizations across the state, MYCA encountered some bumps in the road affecting staffing and overall containment. However, the Academy experienced great success in warding off the the virus for nearly 19 weeks. Since last March (during a statewide shutdown), the Academy has undergone intensive planning, allowing for multiple courses of action to be developed so that variations of early program completion could be completed successfully. This in addition to front-loading the cycle with state and NGB requirements, cadets of Class 43 has sufficient time to meet program requirements and graduate...they enjoyed some fun activities as well. Youth Challenge continues to look for areas of improvement including innovative disinfecting and sanitizing equipment, revision of the daily training schedule to allow for ample social distancing, leaning into technology for virtual events, and maintaining flexibility to adapt to an everchanging environment and paralleling program schedule.

October 15 , 2020

Last week each platoon took a turn rappelling, a first for nearly all who participated! A cadet who was assigned to a temporary PAO (Public Affairs Officer) position was tasked with capturing the experience from the cadet perspective. She did phenomenal work, capturing photos of her peers, and wrote a summary of the week's activities. Follow the link above to our Facebook page to read her full report!

September 23 , 2020

Cadets enjoyed a three course meal (salad, lasagna with green beans and garlic bread, and apple pie) served by UMW's food service. The Director acknowledged the cadets for their success in the program thus far, but also reminded the class that there is more work to be done, and that they are capable of completing it. The night concluded with the announcement of Class 43's elected Student Body Government:
President- Cadet Healy
Vice President- Cadet Norman
Secretary- Cadet Pongah
1st Representative- Cadet Osborn
2nd Representative- Cadet Disburg
3rd Representative- Cadet Ehman

September 23 , 2020

Cadets completed the Commandant's Run, a four mile course with eight exercise stations, winding through the mountains of Birch Creek. Cadets cheered each other on (2nd and 3rd platoons did push-ups as a show of support) as the final participants reached the finish line at the Bender Center-an inspirational moment to witness. Cadets closed the event out with a sack lunch and prepared to return to Clark Hall for the evening's JMG (Jobs for Montana Graduates) Banquet.

September 5, 2020

The success of Montana Youth Challenge Academy is in large part due to over 20 years of partnership with The University of Montana Western (UMW). Western’s core focus on experiential teaching lines up seamlessly with the vision of Challenge’s educational curriculum and immersive program structure. Challenge leases the University's dormitory-style building, known as Clark Hall, and classrooms located in the Business and Technology Building (BTB), providing cadets with safe and structured housing while experiencing a small taste of campus-life. Partnership with UMW provides MYCA cadets with dining services and educational enrichment opportunities. Depending on the time of year, eligible cadets are able to earn up to 15 college credits from a selection of courses offered by UMW.

September 4, 2020

The Honor Code ribbon is awarded to cadets who score a 100% on the Cadet Code of Conduct written test, an 80% (or above) average on their weekly individual assessment, display improvement in PT and continuously make positive choices that contribute to their success (scored based on write-up history within the past 30 days - students that earn the Honor Code Ribbon will have zero write-ups within that time period).

Students Participate in the Filming of MYCA's upcoming Commercial

August 20, 2020

MYCA students participated in a unique work opportunity. A small group of students were selected as subjects to provide footage for the Academy's upcoming TV commercial. The work day kicked off early as students and film crew began the climb to the "M" (a beloved landmark located to the west of the rural town of Dillon).

August 19, 2020

While we couldn’t see their smiles, we imagine there were many among the cadets of Class 43 today!

We are proud of the hard work and commitment that has been displayed by all of the cadets achieving Phase II. This is a well deserved accomplishment. As cadets exchange their Phase I bands for Phase II, they earn increased privileges and their behaviors will earn rewards or corrections based on the decisions of the individual, rather than group repercussions. The bands signify each student’s continuous efforts for self-improvement and desire for growth.

More opportunities lie ahead for them to achieve!

August 5, 2020

Student-cadets are excited about the change in scenery. They are looking forward to the upgrade in living quarters, access to the MYCA designated classrooms and student library, confidence course and the approaching opportunity to phase up and earn more privileges.

The Academy's transition has been approved by the Beaverhead County Public Health Department. MYCA will continue to follow public health guidelines regarding health & safety. This includes social distancing, staff and students wearing masks when 6 feet cannot be maintained, daily temperature screening, and frequent sanitization and cleaning practices.

July 23, 2020

Candidates who have made the decision to accept the Challenge have been promoted to cadets! The first step was making the choice to show up on Registration Day. Now they continue to choose the path of success as they prepare for the Residential Phase of the program. Cadets receive an official MYCA-facemask and phase-band to acknowledge their commitment to the program. Congratulations Class 43, we are proud of you!

July 21, 2020

Cycle 43 of the Montana Youth Challenge Academy is underway. A curbside drop-off, at the Dillon Readiness Center (Armory), facilitated a safe candidate check-in. Additional safety precautions included a temperature scan and completion of a COVID19 prescreening questionnaire. Candidates were then issued a mask and escorted through the rest of the registration process, which included a COVID test; results are pending. The first 11 days of Challenge are known as Acclimation. Qualified applicants trade old habits, hairstyles, and fashions for a rigorous training schedule and a uniform. Candidates are oriented to physical fitness training and military conventions such as drills and ceremonies while they begin to form team relationships with staff and members of their platoon. At the same time, candidates set personal goals for their time at MYCA.

Class 42 Graduation Forges on Despite Program Interruption

June 27, 2020

The graduation ceremony for class 42 was held at the University of Montana Western’s Vigilante Stadium in Dillon, MT. This commencement looked different from previous ceremonies, with its outdoor location and social distancing measures in place, in order to meet recommended health guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The residential program was temporarily suspended from March 28th through June 1st, for the first time in its 21 year history, in order to reduce the risk of cadets and staff exposure to the Novel Coronavirus. However, the interruption did not deter the cadets of Challenge Class 42. 70 cadets returned to complete their initial mission and another 30 committed to re-enrolling in Class 43, which is scheduled to begin July 21, 2020.

Students Enjoy a Day of Fun Hosted by the Academy's JMG Staff

June 26, 2020

After a few vigorous weeks of studying and testing, cadets were treated to a day of fun. Festivities were kicked off with platoons rotating through various stations organized by our JMG staff. Activities included: tie dye, survival bracelets, and a couple of interactives provided by the Montana National Guard. Students took a break for an outdoor lunch on the Tundra. The afternoon was spent playing volleyball, capture the flag and kickball. As the weekend closes in, students and staff will begin preparing for graduation.

Cadets Hike into Birch Creek to Participate in the Commandant's Run

June 23, 2020

Last weekend cadets spent a day at Birch Creek. They hiked about 3 miles into the Aspen Campground where they enjoyed a BBQ style lunch, served by members of The Montana Youth Challenge Foundation. Students participated in the prestigious Commandant's Run where they worked through a series of obstacles covering another 3 mile span. Memories were made along the way, especially at the "push up in the creek," a revered obstacle towards the end of the course testing skills like balance, strength, confidence and trust.

Cadets Reach New Heights in Confidence

June 24, 2020

3rd Platoon climbed the flights of Clark Hall to experience the thrill of rappelling. This group was one of the most eager to get their feet off the building and to begin their decent. Once they were past the overhang they worked on their brake hand coordination and focused on a smooth rappel.

Class 42 Returns Despite Temporary Closure in Response to COVID19

June 4, 2020

MYCA is pleased to share that all results from the Program's COVID testing, earlier this week, have been confirmed negative. Tests were administered to all returning students and staff members as a precautionary measure to ensure the health and safety of those returning cadets, staff, and the Dillon Community.

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