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Kuchler, Kenneth
/ Categories: Cadets

Bozeman Youth Learns Responsibility and Respect at Montana Youth Challenge Academy

Seventy four Cadets graduated during the Commencement Ceremony for Class 37, Montana Youth Challenge Academy, which was held on Saturday, December 16, 2017 on the campus of the University of Montana-Western in Dillon, Montana.

Cadet Ashley Del Duca of Bozeman said she was starting to run with the "wrong group" and wanted a second chance. Responsibility, respect and a "second chance" is exactly what she found, at the Montana Youth Challenge Academy in Dillon. During the 22-weeks of the on-campus Residential Phase of the Academy, Cadet Del Duca said she learned to be responsible for her actions and found a new sense of respect for her parents and authority figures in the process. While at MYCA, she also earned Senior Cadet status, the National Physical Fitness Award and successfully completed her HiSET (formerly the GED) earning her a ribbon for Academic Excellence. Cadet Del Duca further distinguished herself on graduation day by receiving one of two National Guard Thrift Shop Scholarships. At the point of enrollment, all Cadets are required to have a volunteer Mentor who agrees to be an additional resource for that Cadet. Mentoring is critical to the success of MYCA and helps keep the Cadet focused on their original placement plan following graduation from the Academy. Cadet Del Duca’s Mentor is Tanja Brekke, who actually had a son complete Youth Challenge several years ago. Tanja said she chose to become Ashley’s Mentor because she "saw how her son’s life was dramatically changed when he completed Youth Challenge", and that she had "been waiting for the right time and person to pay forward her debt of gratitude to MYCA." As a Mentor, she will assist Ashley during the next 12 months of the Post Residential Phase by maintaining contact with her and providing additional guidance and support. Tanja stated that "Ashley is significantly more confident in herself and her abilities to learn and manage her life" and that "she sees possibilities and potential that she could never have imagined before enrolling at Youth Challenge. Cadet Del Duca now plans to enroll in college and join the Montana Army National Guard at some point in the future.

The Montana Youth Challenge Academy (MYCA) is a two-phase, academic-based program located in Dillon, Montana on the campus of the University of Montana-Western. The Academy’s focus, is to assist youth, ages 16-18, by helping them to develop the academic and life skills necessary to be successful. Following graduation from the Residential Phase, students enter a 12-month Post Residential Phase in which they maintain on-going contact with a Mentor in their community who provides additional support.

MYCA is cost-free to families and conducts two sessions each year with the next session beginning on January 16, 2018. For more information, please contact MYCA at 1-877-367-6927 or visit their website at

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