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Our Mission: The Michigan Youth Challenge Academy (MYCA) educates, trains, and mentors at-risk youth in a quasi-military environment at no cost to participants, giving young people the skills to become productive and responsible citizens. Applying the military model to alternative education, the Academy promotes competency development through academic opportunities, life skills, and vocational preparation.

The Michigan Youth Challenge Academy was established in 1999 and is part of the National Guard Youth Challenge Program (NGYCP), which was established by the National Guard in 1993. NGYCP currently operates 40 programs in 28 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. The National Guard Youth Challenge Program is a voluntary 17.5-month (5.5 month residential/12 month post-residential) program that helps at-risk youth earn their high school diploma or GED, in a very disciplined and structured environment using the military model. Challenge works with program participants after graduation to help enroll in college, trade school, start a career or join the military. 

Participants can expect to work hard as they complete the eight core components that are the foundation of our program. In the process, young adults will develop accountability, integrity, teamwork and time management qualities, and build the grit and resilience necessary to successfully navigate adulthood.

MYCA runs two cycles each year, beginning in mid-January and mid-July. Application and selection for each cycle begins several months in advance.

Additional information is available at

3 male cadets smiling at graduation