Tips for Success

Adjusting to life at Montana Youth Challenge Academy can be overwhelming at first; being prepared helps. Here are tips for students and their families to ease the transition and prepare for success.


This is a real feeling that can affect more than one-third of all people who experience a new and distant environment. During Acclimation, candidates are expected to follow a detailed and fast paced training schedule. There a many benefits to a high tempo routine, including having something to do. Be prepared to experience homesickness at some point but also commit yourself to participating to the best of your ability!

Sleep habits

Candidates/cadets get up early, EVERY MORNING. Prepare your body by making adjustments to your sleep schedule. Practice going to bed and waking up earlier. While at the Academy, lights out are at 10:30 pm and wake-up time is 5:30 am. 


Throughout the program participants will be expected to make improvements in physical fitness. They will also learn Drill and Ceremony skills which means a lot of time on their feet. We highly encourage youth to look for ways to begin preparing ahead of time. Running to the mailbox, taking the family pet for a walk each day, doing sit-ups during commercial breaks, be creative!


Included in the daily training schedule are consistent meals and snack times. They are the same time every day. If you are used to 'grazing' or eating at irregular times, begin preparing your body now by making your meals more consistent.  

For Parents

The first few weeks can be very difficult for candidates/cadets due to all of these changes. Numerous excuses are offered to QUIT our program that stand on very weak grounds. It is important for parents, family members, and mentors to stand firm and encourage your kids to endure all of the changes and accept the Challenge that they signed up to complete. Remember, 22 weeks is a very short time compared to a total lifetime.

For Cadets

This is an opportunity to re-invent yourself by leaving your past behind you.
To keep your frustration level at a minimum:
Be ready to put up with other people’s “stuff.”
It’s simple really… listen and follow directions.