ATLANTIC CITY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.J. --
The New Jersey Youth ChalleNGe Academy, State of New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, based out of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, visited the 177th Fighter Wing, New Jersey Air National Guard, Egg Harbor Township, N.J., for a base tour Dec. 19, 2018.
The mission of the NJ Youth ChalleNGe Academy is to provide a highly disciplined environment that fosters academics, leadership development, physical training and personal growth as to educate and train unemployed youth who have ceased to attend high school.
“Most of these children have had some type of crisis in their lives,” said Sean M. Chapman, Deputy Director of the NJ Youth ChalleNGe Academy. “This program offers them some comfort because they can ask for help without expecting to give anything in return. They can learn in a positive environment without threat of violence or negative distractions.”
This program offers a variety of courses, including math, science and social studies. Once the cadets complete these courses they can take the GED exam and, upon receiving a passing grade, they receive their High School Diploma.
“The program offers personal mentors that help create three-to-five year plans to put the cadets on the right path,” said Chapman. “The education and mentorship offered in this program have allowed these children a lot of success, to include going to college, joining the military or entering the workforce.”
The base tour started with a mission briefing from Col. Bradford R. Everman, commander of the 177th Fighter Wing, New Jersey Air National Guard, and a visit to an F-16 static display. Then the cadets proceeded to tour the Aircrew Flight Equipment section and Fire Department. They then received demonstrations from Explosive Ordnance Disposal and the 227th Air Support Operations Squadron.
After the tour ended, the group received closing remarks from the New Jersey Assistant Adjutant General – Air, Col. Patrick M. Kennedy, where the cadets followed up with numerous questions.
“I think it’s a great program,” said Kennedy. “It allows kids who may have been set on the wrong path to be put on a successful path and hopefully a positive direction.”