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YCP Press Release # 27 - 253 cadets graduated from YCP-Gillis W. Long

March 22, 2015

Youth Challenge Program graduated 253 cadets


Carville, La. – The Louisiana National Guard Youth Challenge Program graduated 253 cadets during a ceremony at Bethany World Prayer Center in Baker, La., Mar. 21 at 11 a.m.  The prayer center will open to the public at 10 a.m.

The Honorable Jr. Shelton, Mayor of Central, La. was in attendance.

R2lsbGlzIFcuIExvbmcgKGNsYXNzIDIwMTQtMikgNSBzdGFyIGNhZGV0cw==Through partnerships with Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) and Associated Building Contractors, The Youth Challenge Program now offers students additional opportunities to further their educational goals. This graduating class from The Gillis W. Long Center in Carville, La., includes 79 cadets who participated in the BPCC program.  Each student has the potential to earn up to 15 transferrable college credits before graduating from the 5 ½ month residential phase.  Thus far, those 79 students have earned more than 400 college credit hours, and 10 students earned 15 college credit hours.  Additionally, in partnership with Associated Building Contractors, 50 cadets completed a 90 hour NCCER course which allows them to become certified in basic construction technology.

This graduating class included 17 cadets who were awarded the rank of 5 star, which is the highest rank a cadet can achieve.  These cadets excelled in all aspects of the program and were selected as leaders among their peers. Five star cadets included: Logan Kelley of Shreveport, Ethan Wilson of Stonewall, Teddy Bagwell of Baton Rouge, Emmanuel Bell of Baker, Lakeitha Clark of Baton Rouge, Kendrica Garner of Baton Rouge, Britni Widmeier of Baton Rouge, Jermaine Williams of Baton Rouge, Liberty Clark of Denham Springs, McDaniel Phillips of Denham Springs, Tristin Silman of Port Allen, James Beard of Monroe, Tristian Cormier of Eunice, Aryon Lazard of Opelousas, Kyle Kipp of Maurice, Matthew Durbin of Leesville, and Aslyn Smith of Minden.   

Of these top cadets, Teddy Bagwell of Baton Rouge was selected as Cadet of the Cycle, and delivered his commencement speech during the ceremony.

CPT. Jackie Manton, director of YCP at The Gillis W. Long Center stated, “The Youth Challenge Program provides purpose, direction, and motivation for young men and women to succeed in life. Many teenagers come to our program feeling like they have no purpose.  This graduation marks the first time that many of these teenagers have started and completed something. When life gets tough, the graduation certificate from The Youth Challenge Program is a reminder that if you don’t quit or give up you will finish and succeed.”

The mission of the Louisiana National Guard Youth Challenge Program is to intervene in and reclaim the lives of 16-18 year-old adolescents, producing program graduates with the values, life skills, education, and self-discipline necessary in order to succeed as productive citizens. 

The Youth Challenge Program offers young people an opportunity to improve their lives through participation in an innovative, alternative school. 

The Youth Challenge Program is administered to participants at no cost, and all needs such as meals, bedding, classroom instruction, and uniforms are provided free of charge. This award-winning program has been recognized as one of the nation’s most effective and cost efficient programs for targeting at-risk youth.

Since 1994, more than 100,000 cadets have graduated nationwide with more than 19,500 being from Louisiana. Typically, Louisiana graduates approximately 1,400 teens a year from three locations: Camp Beauregard near Alexandria, Camp Minden near Shreveport, and Gillis W. Long Center near Baton Rouge. More than 80 percent of teens that graduate this two-phase program go on to further their education, join the work force or enlist into the military.

Approximately 80 percent of Louisiana YCP graduates receive their HiSET
Program participants have donated more than 5 million hours of community service
Programs have awarded graduates nearly 50,000 academic credentials

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