The Mission of the Virginia National Guard Commonwealth ChalleNGe Youth Academy is to intervene in the lives of 16-18 year old teenagers by providing the values, skills, education, and self-discipline needed to produce responsible, productive citizens, and to do so in a highly structured learning environment.

Class 44 graduates performing the ceremonial turning of the tassel.
Class 44 Performs the Ceremonial Turning of the Tassel to Represent Graduation from Challenge.
tides game color guard
Class 45 Color Guard Cadets Prepare to Perform at a Norfolk Tides Baseball Game.

Selection for the Program

To be considered for selection into the program, the applicant must be:


  • 16-18 years of age at the time of entry into the Program. Participants will not exceed 18 years of age on the 1st day of the class they are applying for. 
  •  no longer attending any school and has not received a secondary school diploma or certificate from a program of equivalency for such diploma (ex. GED) OR if attending high school, you must withdraw/transfer prior to enrollment. Upon acceptance to ChalleNGe, the applicant must officially withdraw or transfer to ChalleNGe, and send us paperwork confirming they are no longer enrolled in a traditional or alternative high school/middle school/home school.
  • a citizen or legal resident of the United States.
  • a Virginia resident
  • unemployed, or underemployed.
  • not currently on parole or probation for other than juvenile status offenses, not awaiting sentencing, and not under indictment, charged, or convicted of a crime that is considered a felony when charged as an adult. Also, applicants CANNOT  be court-ordered to attend the ChalleNGe program.
  • Drug Free by Day 40.  Students will be drug screened and must be free from use of illegal drugs or substances.
  • physically and mentally capable of participating in the Program with reasonable accommodation for physical and other disabilities.

Non-Discrimination Statement

The Virginia Commonwealth ChalleNGe Youth Academy serves unemployed or underemployed 16-18 year old youth who have withdrawn or have dropped out of high school, without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity

If you would like more information on Commonwealth Challenge, please fill out the following form, and an Admissions Representative will contact you.

Candidate's Name:*
Parent/Guardian Name:*
Candidate's Gender:*
Candidate's Date of Birth:*
Mailing Address:*
Candidate's High School (please spell out): *
How did you hear about Commonwealth Challenge?*