Great Falls Youth Excels 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 Chas Matye of Great Falls was looking for a way to get his life back on track so he could focus on finishing high school. That desire led him to the Montana Youth Challenge Academy. During his 22 weeks at Youth Challenge, Matye earned the National Physical Fitness Award (three times) and was selected to serve in the Cadet Leadership position of Squad Leader. He stated he has “gained great personal discipline and renewed ability to focus.” At the point of enrollment in the Academy, all Cadets are required to have a volunteer Mentor who agrees to be an additional resource for that Cadet. Mentoring is crucial to the success of MYCA and helps keep the Cadet focused on their original placement plan following graduation from the Academy. Cadet Matye’s Mentor, Robert Ferguson, who was his teacher when he was a freshman, stated that “MYCA has given Chas an opportunity for growth that he could not possibly have gotten anywhere else.” As a Mentor, he will assist him during the next 12 months of the Post Residential Phase by maintaining contact with him and providing additional guidance and support. He further added that “this program has helped him to regain a sense of personal responsibility for his actions and has prepared him for the future.” Cadet Matye will now return to high school and graduate with a high school diploma. Following graduation from high school, he plans to join the US Air Force and pursue a career as a Para-Rescuer or a UAV Controller.
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 volunteer 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 www.youthchallenge.mt.gov.