How to Prepare for YCA

How to Succeed at a Georgia Youth ChalleNGe Academy

Following these suggestions can help ensure your cadet makes a successful transition from home life to a new life!

This is an incredible opportunity to re-invent yourself by leaving your past behind you and giving yourself a fresh start. Protect this opportunity by not disclosing or bragging about your past and any trouble you may have experienced. Maintain a positive attitude and think positive at all times!

The first few weeks can be very difficult for candidates/cadets due to all of the below lifestyle changes. It is not uncommon for a cadet to want to QUIT our program during the Acclimation Period. 

It is important for parents, guardians, family members, and mentors to stand firm and to encourage their teens to endure all of the changes and accept the ChalleNGe that they signed up to complete.

Remember, 22 weeks is a very short time compared to a total lifetime.

Cadets in the program can take advantage of an incredible opportunity to start over and build a better life.

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If your cadet has a mental health diagnosis, please note the diagnosis and medications on the paperwork. A mental health diagnosis does not prevent a child from entering the Academy but failing to properly treat the issue can prevent them from being successful. If staff members are not made aware, we cannot provide the support that your cadet needs.

If your child is on medication therapy or your child begins medication therapy at the Academy, refills are always the parents responsibility and it is crucial that cadets maintain a supply of medicine throughout the 22-week program. Parents are also responsible for scheduling psychiatric appointments and transporting the candidate to the appointment. The best practice is to talk to your candidate's psychiatrist, explain the program, and if possible, request medication refills for the duration of the program. If this is not possible, then work to schedule appointments for home pass.

Chances are, this will be your first time away from home for more than a week. Even then, you were most likely in a familiar environment with trusted people. Coming to YCA will be a great adventure for you, but as with any adventure you may be fearful of things you do not know or understand. You will naturally want to return to the familiar and loving embrace of your comfort zone and family members. Don't worry, your platoon-mates will be in the same situation, and will quickly start to feel like family. 

Our cadets live in what is referred to as an “open bay” style dormitory with upwards of 50 other young adults. Candidates live with their peers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is little to no opportunity for privacy or quiet moments alone. If you are used to having your own room where you can shut the door and ignore the stress of interacting with other people, then this will be shocking indeed! Much like in the adult world, cadets will learn to cooperate with many different types of people. 

The Georgia Youth ChalleNGe Academy is a physically demanding program and will include a daily period of physical exercise.. Cadets are strongly encouraged to begin getting into shape before they arrive on site, if at all possible. Begin by running or jogging for at least 20 minutes every day. 

Well-balanced meals are standard for all cadets. We provide three well balanced, cafeteria style meals, prepared by a nutritionist, each day where the cadets will eat as a platoon. Two snacks are provided each day as well. 

It is important for parents to encourage their cadet not to quit. All the hard work DOES pay off.


The difference between wanting and achieving, is discipline. 

GAYCP is excited to welcome our Class #63 to the Fort Stewart campus on July 14, 2024!

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