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Applications open for next class of academically challenged teens at Keystone State ChalleNGe Academy

The Keystone State ChalleNGe Academy aims to give academically challenged, at-risk teens who are not on track to graduate a chance to rebuild their life.
Credit: WPMT

FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. — Teens in Pennsylvania are once again able to apply for enrollment in the Keystone State ChalleNGe Academy (KSCA), a program that helps at-risk teens turn their lives around and obtain their basic education.

The KSCA is located at Fort Indiantown Gap (FTIG). It welcomes 16- to 18-year-old students who may be failing at school, at risk of not graduating or already dropped out.

Applications are open for the third class of cadets, with the program beginning in July 2023. 

“After graduating our first-ever class of cadets in December 2022, we recently welcomed a larger second class this month that is already demonstrating a high level of energy and an eagerness to succeed,” said Steve Grossman, KSCA director. “We are excited to work with this class as they face new challenges and work their way to a brighter future. We project every class will grow in numbers and encourage any at-risk teen looking for a fresh start to apply for residency at the academy.”

Applicants must be willing to be drug-free, free of felony convictions and voluntarily commit to the 17-month program. For a full list of eligibility requirements and to see the application, click here.

Those who enroll will spend five months in residential training at FTIG before making their way back into the community for a year of mentorship. Cadets are introduced to the military structure and focus on eight core components: academic excellence; physical fitness; leadership/followership; responsible citizenship; job skills; service to the community; health and hygiene; and life coping skills. 

If you prefer to have an application mailed to you or would like to talk with someone about this program, contact the academy by emailing ra-mvpachallenge@pa.gov, or by calling 717-861-7767 or 717-861-8831.

More than 200,000 at-risk youth have completed the program since it began in 1993. Pennsylvania's branch was established in July 2022 at FTIG.

The KSCA is a joint effort between the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the National Guard Bureau in consultation with the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

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