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Program Phases

There are three phases of the MYCA program

  • The Acclimation phase is sometimes referred to as “Pre-Challenge”. During the first two weeks, youth are learning the basics of how to be a cadet. They receive instruction on our code of conduct and expectations, along with military customs and courtesies. They are taught to perform tasks according to the MYCA standard, such as making a rack (bed), folding clothes and marching. Youth will participate in physical training, which is sometimes an area of concern for youth. Youth are not expected to be at a top level of physical fitness on the first day, but we do expect full effort. 

    Successful completion of Acclimation culminates in a military ruck march and the youth earning the title of “cadet”. 
  • The Challenge phase is also referred to as the residential phase and lasts 20 weeks. Cadets go to school Monday through Friday on site at the MYCA. The education component of our program is provided by Marshall Public Schools. Additionally, cadets attend Vo-Tech at the Calhoun Area Career Center three evenings a week, where they will get an introduction to a trade or technical field. 

    Cadets begin working on the eight core components of the MYCA program, which includes the development of job skills, life coping skills, leadership and followership, service to community and more. Our staff make every effort to aide young adults in connecting what they learn here to successful life navigation when they leave our program.  

    During the Challenge Phase, cadets develop a “P-RAP”, or “Post-Residential Action Plan”. This is a road map for what comes next following completion of the MYCA program. P-RAPs include both short and long-term goals, and steps they will take to accomplish these goals. Youth and mentors will be writing letters during this time, and parents/guardians will participate in Tool Seeker Workshops with our advising staff in preparation for a successful post-residential phase.

    Between the Acclimation and Challenge phases, youth will be with us residentially for 22 weeks (5.5 months). Their residential stay culminates in graduation from the Michigan Youth Challenge Academy Program, a time of celebration for youth, families and our staff.
  • Post-Residential is where the rubber meets the road and is one of the reasons the program is so effective in transforming lives. Following program graduation, youth transition back home or to whatever is next for them. For the next 12 months, graduates will be supported by their mentor, their MYCA case manager and their P-RAP to keep their momentum going. 

    Graduates of the Michigan Youth Challenge Program may be selected to continue to the Michigan Job Challenge Program.
Infographic illustrating the phases involved in the MI Youth Challenge Program