Our Director

Field Day 60 300x225, Commonwealth ChalleNGe Youth Academy

Director Jennifer Lanz introduces herself to Class 60 at Field Day.  She reminds cadets to reflect on the gifts they have received from their families, friends and ChalleNGe staff and think about the gifts they get to take home as they approach graduation.

The Commonwealth ChalleNGe Youth Academy consists of three separate phases: acclimation, residential and post-residential.

Classes begin each year in January and July.

Dear Applicants, Family Members and Youth Stakeholders,

Thank-you for taking the time to explore Commonwealth ChalleNGe Youth Academy (CCYA) and believing education is important to one’s life.  CCYA is a 30-year-old success story!

CCYA’s mission, sponsored by the Virginia National Guard, is to intervene in the lives of 16–18-year-olds by providing the values, skills, education, and self-discipline needed to produce responsible, productive citizens, and to do so in a structured learning environment.  We use a quasi-military format and offer high school credit recovery for those wishing to return to their public school and we are a GED licensed facility.

As a former public educator, I know and understand the barriers some youth face while trying to achieve their education.  CCYA removes all of those barriers and our student to staff ratio provides timely and specific interventions to give students the tools and skills they need to be successful.  A FREE, residential, 24-7 supervision with state certified staff is not available anywhere else other than at CCYA.  I am proud to offer students education provided by state licensed educators and mental health support with life coping skills instruction by state licensed therapists.  In addition, CCYA provides 2 years of post-residential support from our career advisors to ensure students are making progress with their future plans and utilize the resources available.  Direct supervision is provided by our team of Cadre that teach, advise and counsel on the military structure, physical fitness, leadership and teamwork.

I am extremely excited to be part of the CCYA staff and lead this program.  I am confident in the foundation in which Youth Challenges were created and confident in our staff.  It is remarkable to see the positive changes in students and life-long impact students have on us.  Each student has a reason to be at Challenge.  The gift that CCYA gives students and families is the opportunity to write their own story after graduation.   If you are or know of a student or family in need, we want CCYA to be a resource you consider or share.


Lanz Signature 300x212, Commonwealth ChalleNGe Youth Academy

Jennifer D. Lanz, Director

Commonwealth ChalleNGe Youth Academy


For admission information or community partnership opportunities, please contact:

Ms. Garcia-Roman
Executive Assistant
757-491-5932 ext. 221