National Guard academy challenges MI youth to make a change

Nov 18, 2014

Raina Miller (right) is one of more than 100 cadets now attending the Michigan Youth Challenge Academy. After suffering bouts of anxiety and depression, Raina voluntarily entered the academy. Her mother, Robyn, is a retired military police officer.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Two months into the traditional school year, Michigan students are already thinking about Thanksgiving break. That includes students who are taking a less conventional route through their studies. Right now, more than 100 teenagers from communities across the state are participating in the Michigan Youth Challenge Academy, a program sponsored by the Michigan National Guard.

The Academy is designed primarily to help kids who’ve dropped out of high school, or have some other serious life situation that’s prompted them to seek a more disciplined approach. It’s an almost 18-month long program. Students wear uniforms and earn various ranks, but it also features a strong mentoring program. It’s not a military academy, but it employs certain techniques of military training to help kids develop more focus and direction in their lives.

Current State’s Kevin Lavery has been looking into this program.