The Alaska Military Youth Academy (AMYA) is an accredited special purpose school that runs several programs designed to help Alaskan youth make positive life changes. The Academy is a division of the Alaska Department of Military & Veterans Affairs. The largest and best known of the Academy's programs is its ChalleNGe Program. Although ChalleNGe is military in structure and style, it is not a "boot camp". While there is plenty of physical training, structure and discipline, there is also an intense academic and skills development curriculum.
Other Academy programs include a State of Alaska testing center, a Workforce Development training site and the state's largest mentoring program. Our purpose is best spelled out through our vision and mission statements.
The vision of the Alaska Military Youth Academy (AMYA) ChalleNGe Program is to provide a premiere program attracting, retaining and serving youth who are at risk of not receiving their secondary education. With a quasi-military emphasis, and modeled after the positive leadership style of our nation's finest military service academies, we will provide the highest quality, basics-oriented educational opportunity in the state while offering the greatest possible opportunity to participate for youth from every region, city, town, and village, thereby strengthening all of Alaska's youth and their communities, and contributing to a strong and prosperous future for both Alaska and America.
“To help intervene in and reclaim the lives of at-risk youth and produce program graduates with the values, skills, education, and self-discipline to succeed as adults.”
The AMYA ChalleNGe Program is a course designed to help young Alaskans achieve high school completion and develop the life skills necessary to be successful in today's American society. The AMYA ChalleNGe course closely follows a national model called the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program. ChalleNGe is comprised of a 22-week mentally and physically demanding residential phase, followed by a year of follow-up and support to help students (cadets) maintain positive lifestyles. Unlike "boot camps" ChalleNGe includes demanding academic, healthy life skills and teamwork elements along with a strong volunteer adult mentor program to support students.
During the residential phase, students live in upgraded military barracks, attend school, and participate in a rigorous curriculum designed to instill healthy, life-long skills that have been time-proven to lead to success.
During the post-residential phase, students are required to be in school, working, or both, and must report monthly to the Academy's mentor program staff. Students are also required to maintain contact with their adult volunteer mentors.
Prior to or during a ChalleNGe class, each student is matched with a caring, responsible adult mentor who acts as a role model, helps the student stay on track with their individual life plan, and assists with employment and education needs. Mentor-student matches are monitored and supported by academy Mentor Program staff. Mentor volunteers receive free training by experienced academy trainers. Students also receive training to help them communicate effectively with their mentors and understand the importance of their new relationships.
AMYA runs the largest mentoring program in Alaska. The mentoring relationships continue for a year following a cadet's graduation from the 22-week-long ChalleNGe residential phase.
Young Alaskan men and women 16 through 18 years of age may apply to AMYA for admission to a ChalleNGe Program class. Applicants must provide proof of United States citizenship or legal residency, may not have a traditional high school diploma or GED, be willing to commit to a drug, alcohol and tobacco-free life while enrolled, be free of legal entanglements and must be volunteers.
No young man or woman can be "sent" to an AMYA ChalleNGe course. Most importantly, applicants must have a desire to move their lives in a positive direction and must have made the decision to make a healthy change in their lives.
ChalleNGe student life is very different from that lived in the "civilian" world. ChalleNGe cadets get up early every day. They participate in physical training, technical and job-related skills training, academic classes and special programs before turning in late each evening.
Students enrolled in the ChalleNGe Program are not allowed to have any personal audio-visual devices (including, but not limited to, cell phones, CD players, MP3 players/Ipods, televisions, video games, tape recorders or personal message devices of any kind). Students wear only authorized AMYA uniforms and are not allowed to have personal vehicles at the school.
All meals are prepared by AMYA dining service staff and all medical services are provided by, or through, school medical personnel. On weekends, students participate in a variety of activities that range from family visits to volunteer service to Alaskan communities or those in need, or adventure-based character-building training.
Non-uniform clothing, like all the other items not allowed at the Academy, is a distraction from learning that does not help the student move forward to success. Personal clothing, hair styles, cell phones and other personal items may be nice to have and use, but are not necessary to success at the Academy.
Most students finish the program with a high school diploma by examination (a GED). Others earn a traditional high school diploma. In addition to traditional academic subjects, the ChalleNGe Program curriculum includes for-credit courses in health, citizenship, leadership, teamwork, job skills training, cooperative work experience and positive life skills. All ChalleNGe students are required to pass all courses with a grade of C or better to successfully complete the academic portion of ChalleNGe.
Applicants and parents are urged to discuss possible academic directions with AMYA staff before entering a ChalleNGe course.
As part of its skills training and job preparation curriculum, the Academy workforce development coordinator organizes a wide-ranging cooperative work experience (CWE) program, runs a carpentry class, a culinary arts class, a CompTIA A+ certification class, a private pilot ground school course (with the Elmendorf Air Force Base Aero Club), an in-depth military studies course, a college study skills course, and a series of short courses designed to make AMYA graduates more marketable in the work world.
All cadets develop military-related skills through a leadership development curriculum and the academy's adventure-based learning program. All ChalleNGe cadets must also become CPR & First Aid qualified while enrolled in the residential phase.
Adventure (Green Line) Training is an assortment of activities designed to provide interesting, fun and useful outdoor and/or military-interest activities to broaden the perspective and experience of the cadet attending the Alaska Military Youth Academy. Generally, Green Line training is held every weekend for one of the three platoons of the Corps of Cadets. Look under “About us” elsewhere on this website for more information.
Yes. ChalleNGe students may compete for a variety of scholarships to help them continue education, training or to get started in life. Scholarships are competitive and some are based on specific requirements.
In addition to the wide array of ChalleNGe activities, the school supports a student government, a cadet chain of command, and a variety of committees and special activities groups that students are encouraged to participate in.
No! While some graduates of the ChalleNGe Program do join the United States Armed Forces, becoming a cadet does not require anyone to enlist. As a cadet, you will be introduced to recruiters from all branches of our military services. You will also be introduced to a wide variety of other educational, training, and employment possibilities.
“The mission of the National Guard Alaska Military Youth Academy ChalleNGe Program is to help intervene in and reclaim the lives of Alaska’s at-risk youth and produce graduates with the values, skills, education, and self-discipline necessary to succeed as adults.”