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Cadet Nomee harnesses leadership ability as MYCA Company Commander
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Cadet Nomee harnesses leadership ability as MYCA Company Commander

Big Horn County News | Gary Rood | January 17, 2019

The day Randy Nomee entered Montana Youth Challenge Academy, according to his parents, he showed no leadership qualities. An 18-year-old Hardin High School student, he had hit a rough patch – skipping class and taking part in what he called "illicit" activities. Twenty-two weeks later, he exited the MYCA of Dillon, Montana in a leadership role as a company commander. "The challenge brought it out of him," said Allen GunShows, Nomee’s father. "He went in one way and came out another."

Nomee, initially, had second thoughts about joining the academy and ran away from home two months before he was supposed to leave. He nonetheless returned and, within two weeks of its start, began July 19 as one of 102 cadets in MYCA’s 39th class.

MYCA, according to its website, "assists at-risk Montana youth in developing skills and abilities necessary to become productive citizens" using a "highly-structured, quasi-military environment." Cadets, it states, range from ages 16-18.

Upon finishing his 11-day acclimation phase, Nomee attuned quickly to the program’s structure and thrived within its five-month acclimation phase, held at the University of Montana-Dillon campus. MYCA Outreach Coordinator Ron Carroll, when speaking to his cadet’s parents, asked if Nomee always had been a leader.

"He just exuded confidence and that would come through, and you would see his growth every week," Carroll said. When it was time to apply for leadership positions, he continued, "the staff had confidence in" choosing him for company commander.

In the position, Nomee reported to the organization’s commandant and kept his fellow company members in line.

To help Nomee maintain a habit of achievement and good citizenship, Julie Seminara – a physician assistant who performed cadet physicals – will serve as his mentor for one year. Her role is to support, encourage and will keep track of Nomee’s goals and accomplishments for that period of time.

"We thought since Randy was college material, he would be a perfect fit," she said. "I could help him achieve his potential, considering I went to too much college."

Moving forward, Nomee said, credits from the academy have allowed him to graduate from Hardin High School. Academically, he said, he hadn’t felt challenged, but the stricter environment helped him focus.

"Lately, I’ve been learning about myself," he said. "I’ve been taking everything for granted and not using the tools that I’ve been given."

In the future, he continued, he would like to join the U.S. Air Force or Navy.

For more information on MYCA, go online to youthchallenge.mt.gov/.

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