SWCSD #2 Board Learns About Academy for Struggling Teens

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Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy cadets from Class 36 march to chow at Camp Guernsey Joint Training Center January 18, 2018. (Wyoming Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jimmy McGuire)

GREEN RIVER– The Sweetwater County School District #2 Board of Trustees heard a presentation at Tuesday night’s school board meeting about the Wyoming Cowboy Challenge Academy (WCCA), a five and a half month long residential academy designed for youth to develop life and job skills.

The quasi-military academy is operated under the Wyoming Military Department and is hosted at Camp Guernsey. WCCA is an accredited five-and-a-half-month-long residential academy designed to provide structure, instill discipline, and help young men and women recognize and achieve their potential in a quasi-military training environment.

The academy offers two, 22-week programs each year for 16-18 year old kids. WCCA teaches the teens core high school classes, job and life skills, leadership, followership, and health and hygiene. The academy also teaches the Cowboy Code of Ethics and about how the government operates.

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Each cadet is also required to complete 40 hours of community service while attending the academy. The academy is designed to instill the teens with discipline, knowledge, and various skills to give them hope and opportunity for a better education and a better future, according to April Corwin, a WCCA recruiter.

The program is offered to teens who are currently enrolled in school but are struggling, or for teens who have dropped out. Corwin said many of the teens who go through the academy are doing credit recovery. Since the academy is accredited, it shows up as a transfer on the teens’ transcripts, rather than a drop.

The cadets can either recovery credits to go back to high school and graduate with their class, or they can earn a high school equivalency diploma.

Once the cadets graduate the program, they have a mentor who checks up on them for the following year. The mentor is typically someone from the cadet’s community who knew the teen before they completed the academy.

WCCA was founded in 1993 by the National Guard in California. Today, there are 40 academies across the United States. The academy started operating in Wyoming in 2006. Since it’s inception in the state, it has graduated over 1,000 cadets.