About the Program

About the Program: The ChallenNGe Experience

Three Phases to the Program

The Virginia ChalleNGe Academy is divided into three phases. Throughout the program, MENTORS are a vital part of the Academy experience.

IMG 3475 200x300, Commonwealth ChalleNGe Youth AcademyPhase 1: Acclimation

The first phase is the Acclimation Period. This period is the first two weeks of the residential phase that consists of physical, leadership, and mental challenges designed to test the candidates’ potential for success in the second phase of the program.

Phase 2: Residential

The second phase is a 20-week residential period that consists of academics (credit recovery or GED test preparation), post-residential goal development, physical fitness, counseling (both individual and group), life skills, and team building.

This phase supports the development of job skills and self-concept through daily activities and service community.

Reyes 169x300, Commonwealth ChalleNGe Youth AcademyPhase 3: Post-Residential

The third phase is a one-year post-residential phase.  This one year mentorship period is completed in the cadet’s community with the guidance and assistance of a screened, trained, and matched mentor.

The relationship between the Cadet and Mentor begins during the Residential Phase.  The progress of each Cadet during the post residential phase is documented in monthly mentor reports submitted by the Mentors to the Career Counselors at the beginning of each month.

Program Details

The Virginia Commonwealth ChalleNGe Youth Academy operates two residential classes per year. The classes begin in March and October. The residential phase consists of academics and structured training that includes daily rigorous physical fitness exercises.

Program Staff

Academic training and instruction is the responsibility of the faculty and is supplemented with various off site field trips.  The destinations of these trips vary, depending on the curriculum being taught at a given time. Past field trips have included museums, the Virginia Aquarium, the state capital, Washington D.C., and live theater performances.

The TAC (Teach Advise Counsel) Officers, also known as  Cadre, are responsible for the cadets’ execution of the daily routine, physical fitness, personal hygiene, health and welfare, teaching ethical behavior and military science, and working together as a team.

Physical training (PT), drill and ceremonies (marching), and barracks inspections are also integral parts of this training in teaching cooperation, tolerance of others, and teamwork.