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The Town Talk - ‘Hard work, sweat, tears’ paying off for YCP Cadets

August 24, 2015

'Hard work, sweat, tears' paying off for YCP Cadets

By: Richard Sharkey

Destiny Lackey likes being a cadet in the Youth Challenge Program at Camp Beauregard because it gives her a chance to control her own … destiny.

Lackey was among more than 250 YCP cadets taking part Sunday in Family Day activities at the National Guard camp near Pineville.

More than 2,000 relatives and friends watched the cadets compete in a marching competition before getting to spend some time with them on and around the Parade Field.

Hugs were in abundance, as was food, during the get-togethers following the formal part of the program. After visiting with friends and family, the cadets returned to their structured lives as they seek to gain new skills and enhance their self-discipline.

Lackey is working toward earning a high school degree through HiSET, High School Equivalency Test, and will take the ACT in October. She plans to attend college to study business.

She said she joined the YCP program to further her education, and she has learned the importance of respect for herself and others along the way.

"This opportunity is worth all the hard work, sweat and tears," said Lackey, who was joined on Family Day by her parents, Richard and Angel Lackey.

Cadet Demarco Follins, who is making strides academically through YCP, said he joined because he wanted to "change his attitude and provide for his family in the future."

The program has also made him appreciate home more. He credited his brother, Deondray, as well as his fellow cadets and instructors, for providing support to help him succeed in the YCP program.

Follins is looking at joining the National Guard in the future.

Lackey, Follins and the other cadets have been in the program for six weeks and are scheduled to graduate in December.

"The cadets have come a long way. They have faced challenges head-on and have persevered," said Maj. Kenneth Paul, director of YCP at Camp Beauregard.

"This Family Day, being our first of this class, is a chance for our cadets to demonstrate their discipline, attention to detail and motivation to change their lives for the better."

The YCP is designed to aid at-risk youths ages 16 to 18 by "producing program graduates with the values, life skills, education and self-discipline necessary in order to succeed as productive citizens."

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