"Prior to attending the Montana Youth Challenge Academy my life slowly started to fall apart. I needed a way to to get back on track but little did I know that on July 20th 2021 my life was about to change for the better. Soon after arriving everything seemed to come together and I could notice all my hard work. I felt a great sense of pride and accomplishment that I have never felt before. During my time at MYCA I learned respect, discipline, and motivation. My plans for the future are to return to Malta High School and join the Army National Guard. After that I want to attend the University of Montana Western to pursue a degree in psychology. MYCA has changed my life forever and I couldn't of done it without all the amazing staff. Thank You!"
-Karley Weston, Class 45
"I have a lot of fun memories from youth challenge. Some of my favorite memories are going up to Birch Creek and doing the Commandant's Run, hiking up to the "M" [and doing STC at the] Missoula [Chamber of Commerce] banquet, hiking around Dillon, and the ruck marches, especially the 12 mile ruck march we did with Sergeant Burgess."
-Curt LaQue, Class 45
"I was someone who was going nowhere in life and youth challenge changed that. It was the best thing that has ever happened to me and I'm so happy I chose to do it. I'm a new man with new goals RISE UP!"
-Brendon Jacintho, Class 45
"Before Challenge I was failing high school so bad. I struggled to do my work, focus, want to go, and anything else that had to do with school. My mom heard about the MYCP and brought it to my attention. Skeptical, I first declined. We went home and she said "just look into it" so I did just that. It was then I decided okay I'll go! The day came to drive to Helena for pre-challenge and I was never so sick about a decision before! I had to say goodbye to my mom for 6 months...terrifying! Pre-Challenge was work in itself...but I pushed and pushed and made it through! Yaaay onto Dillon now! It was a really hard adjustment. It took awhile to feel okay with the fact but I met some amazing girls and had the most amazing Sergeants! Challenge was the best decision I could have made for myself! Birch Creek was probably the highlight of the 6 months! PT was always a good time as well! When we got to do our runs through Dillon! Marching to the chow hall! Thanks to all of the staff at MYCP I went from the lowest GPA to graduate in 6 months with a 3.45 GPA!! Highly recommend MYCP!"
-Kristin Lehman, Class 15
"Before going to challenge, I had no idea what my future held nor did I really care. I made the decision to go to challenge simply because I thought it was a way to get out of high school early, but soon after arriving in Dillon, I learned that it was so much more than that. MYC opened my eyes, and made me want the best for myself and helped me develop the motivation and discipline I needed in order to succeed, it actually changed my life. And for that I’m forever grateful. My plan for the future is to join the Army National Guard and come back and work for the Program. You guys saved me and changed my life, so coming back and being a part of MYC again is my dream."
-Dominique McGrew, Class 44
January 19th 2021, the day I thought was the end of the world. But in reality was the start of my new life. Montana Youth Challenge challenged me in ways I didn’t think were possible. If it wasn’t for Youth Challenge, I wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity to graduate with a [HiSET], and meet so many like minded cadets ‘ now, friends’. Not only were the cadets like family, but the CI’s are also like family. To this day I can not thank Montana Youth Challenge enough for helping me be the person I am today! The skills I learned in Youth Challenge such as: kindness, and self independence have helped me with being a CNA! I seriously can’t thank you guys enough! I loved MYCA, I'd go back a million times if I could!"
-Emma Miller, Class 44
"Wow.........MYC........where to start. This program was so amazing I cant even begin to describe it. The bond I formed with my platoon was nothing short of a miracle. The changes I saw in myself were outstanding. Not only did I achieve my Hiset but I gained brothers along the way, and learned leadership skills that I couldn't have learned anywhere else. My position as Executive Officer will forever be one of my greatest achievements. Now that I'm back home I'm able to apply the knowledge I've gained to everyday life. I'm working full time while taking classes at my hometown college. My CIs and the staff did very well in putting me on the right path to success. #Riseup "
-Wyatt Burman, Class 44
"I was struggling in school, at home, and was constantly in conflict with authority. Youth Challenge provided me with many of the tools to better myself and my life. I still use these tools, 13 years later, in all areas of my life. The program was not easy, and many times I wanted to just quit, but knowing that I had the support from program staff, and my mentor, enabled me to push through the difficult times and come out the other side a better person. Attending Youth Challenge was the best thing I ever did."
-Ryan Gunderson, Class 18
"MYCA was an experience I will never forget. The people I met will always have a place in my heart. It was a family. I obtained my HISET there. After graduating youth challenge I attended my community college on my Blackfeet reservation & have been attending ever since, I’m now on my second year. I kept my job for nine months then quit to become a childcare provider, which is my current job. MYCA taught me many things, like strength, resilience, patience & even how to love. MYC offered me stability & showed me how to be independent. MYC saved my life. This is my success story & I am proud to say I did it. I overcame. Thank you for everything staff & cadre! I am doing great!"
-Lariah Holmes, Class 40
"My son, Hayden, was a graduate of MYCA class 41. He successfully obtained his Montana HiSET while attending MYCA. MYCA challenged Hayden to become the best version of himself. MYCA gave him the confidence and leadership capabilities to deal with adversity and he is successful in his jobs and has enrolled to pursue technical degree in sound engineering at the Conservatory of Recording Arts in Mesa, Az."
"Best program, best decision as a parent & troubled youth. I can’t say enough good things about the staff & sergeants. It wasn’t easy for my son, but taught him respect, self esteem, pride & a new sense of self. I’m forever grateful that this program exists. I’m also so happy to have my son back, I thought I lost him to drugs & poor choices. This mom's heart is full & couldn’t be more proud of his commitment to change. ❤️🙏 Thank you MYC. "
-Michelle Zebro Rice
"The Montana Youth Challenge Academy gave me another chance to succeed after giving up on the traditional track of high school. At the age of 16, I was able to learn and utilize military practices that would later be put to use in the adult world as responsibility. At the age of 23 I now own my very own construction company with an amazing future ahead of me.
If you’re afraid to fail than you aren’t thinking the right way! You should always challenge yourself to be better! An occasional break to drink some water and change your socks wouldn’t hurt either, haha... when you get to the Youth Challenge make sure to get as much out of it as you can. It will be well worth it! "
-Kaden Olhausen, Class 29
"Thank you for putting me on the right path. Blessed with amazing staff and friends who were a huge part of my life. A family who cared enough to take me in and teach me how to show compassion, how to buckle down, and most importantly how to get my body and spirit into fighting shape."
-Brennan Armstrong, Class 26
"Class 25 my son graduated. I truly believe it saved his life. Thanks for all your hard work."
"Best thing I've done...if I could do it again, I would. I miss the staff, structure, and of course the other cadets. I highly recommend it to anyone who need[s] help or a challenge like I did."
-Marshall Baumgardner, Class 36
"I miss challenge! Best thing I've ever done and accomplished!"
-Shelby Paulson, Class 35