FAQ

What is the cost to attend Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy (IDYCA)?

The Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy, as part of the National Guard Youth Challenge Program, is operated through a Cooperative Agreement between the National Guard Bureau and the State of Idaho.  This means it is funded by Federal and State dollars making tuition absolutely free to eligible youth. This investment in our youth has a return of 166% in social benefits.1 The Youth ChallenNGe Program was started in 1993 as a federal-state partnership to help high school dropouts improve their education level, life skills, and employment potential. The program, which is operated by the National Guard in partnership with state and local education agencies, has been extremely successful.  The Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy welcomed its first class in January 2014.

How does the program operate?

Youth ChalleNGe is a residential program that incorporates a highly structured quasi-military format emphasizing self discipline, personal responsibility, and positive motivation.  Students, who are referred to as Cadets while at the Academy, must meet military grooming standards, wear military type uniforms, and observe standard military customs and courtesies.  Each class involves a 3-phase program that begins with a two-week Acclimation Phase, where the goal is to identify those students that have the desire and discipline to complete the program.  Students who successfully complete the Acclimation Phase enter the 20-week Residential Phase, where the emphasis is on the “Eight Core Component” curriculum.  Cadets must show improvement in each component.

 Eight Core Components:
  • Academic Excellence
  • Leadership and Followership
  • Life Coping Skills
  • Job Skills
  • Service to the Community
  • Responsible Citizenship
  • Health and Hygiene
  • Physical Fitness

After completing the Residential Phase, students begin a 52-week Post-Residential Phase, where each student works with an adult role model in a one-on-one mentoring relationship.  The adult mentor provides the student advice, guidance, and support to help him/her continue the positive successes and direction achieved during the Residential Phase.

It is also important to understand what the IDYCA is not.  The IDYCA is not designed or intended to be a military academy; there is no military obligation or expectation for the students.  Further, the IDYCA is not a juvenile detention center; it is not a drug or alcohol treatment center; it is not a professional child care service; and it is not a hospital, medical, or dental clinic.  The Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy is an approved institution, with credentialed teaching staff and trained professional support staff, supporting the educational goals and priorities of the Governor and the citizens of the State of Idaho.

What is the focus of the Academic Excellence component at IDYCA?

The academic focus at the Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy is three-fold:

  1. To increase students’ math and reading skills, as measured by the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE).
  2. To provide the skills and knowledge for students to retrieve up to 14 high school credits.
  3. For some participants, to prepare them to test for the General Education Development (GED) credential.

During the Residential Phase, students may earn up to 14 high school credits in Social Studies, Science, Math, English, health/fitness, physical education, career technical education, computer skills, and community service.  The Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy contracts with the Orofino School District to provide these approved academic courses.  Academic credits are issued at the end of the session when the Cadet graduates from the program.  There is no award of partial credit if the student withdraws from the program prior to completion of the Residential Phase.  Credits earned are transcripted at the student’s next school.

Who is eligible to attend the IDYCA?

The program is voluntary, and students from all over the State of Idaho are eligible to apply and compete for admission.  Students must be a high school dropout or expellee, age 16-18, a US citizen and resident of the State of Idaho, never convicted of a felony and have no legal action pending, free of illegal drugs at time of enrollment, and physically and mentally able to complete the program.  There is no cost to attend the IDYCA.

What is the basic curriculum?

There are eight core elements to the IDYCA curriculum:  Academic Excellence, Leadership and Followership, Life Coping Skills, Job Skills, Service to the Community, Responsible Citizenship, Health and Hygiene, and Physical Fitness.  The Orofino School District is providing the credentialed academic staff (one principal and five teachers) to teach the core academic subjects.  The other non-academic subjects will be taught by the Academy staff, with occasional guest instructors from the Army and Air Guard, state and local government agencies, the business community, and the labor sector. Students who successfully complete the full 22-week Residetial Phase of the program can earn 14 or more credits towards their high school diplomas.

What is the staff composition?

The Academy staff are state employees of the Idaho Military Division, plus a principal and five teachers under contract from the Joint School District 171 in Orofino.  The staff is trained to work with at-risk youth in a residential setting and employs a “hands-off” approach that is tough and disciplined, yet caring and respectful.

Requesting Re-entry? 

IDYCA can only be attended one cycle, unless the Candidate/Cadet was excused for medical purposes, and the medical issues have been resolved and can be confirmed by a medical professional. Youth that were terminated for other reasons may request readmission through our Commandant. In order to do so, you must provide a current complete application, letters of support, and letters of reference and a detailed letter explaining the youth’s desire for reconsideration. It is important that the youth address the behaviors/reasons for dismissal, and the changes, treatment and factors that support the youth’s ability to be successful in the program.

Where do I send mail (letters, postcards and greeting cards) to encourage my Cadet?

Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy
Candidate’s Name, Flight Name (If known)
117 Timberline Drive
Pierce, ID 83546

Where is the IDYCA located?

The Academy is located at:

117 Timberline Drive
Pierce, Idaho 83546

Map of Pierce, Idaho
Map of Pierce, Idaho

1Perez-Arce, Francisco; Constant, Louay; Loughran, David S; Karoly, Lynn A. Meeting the Challenge: The Economic Return on Investment in the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program. Rand Corporation, 2012.