What is the Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy (WCCA)?
The WCCA is a two-phased voluntary program geared toward Wyoming's 16 to 18 year old at-risk youth. The first phase is a 22-week or 5.5 month residential program followed by a 12-month post-residential or at home second phase. The residential phase of the program takes place in a highly disciplined and motivational environment promoting structure, teamwork, discipline and academics along with leadership, health, community service, life skills, job skills, physical fitness and citizenship.
The post-residential phase takes place after graduation from the residential phase and is a time when the cadet uses the skills learned in the residential phase through their placement in either a job, further education, or the military. The cadet is matched with a mentor during the residential phase and this mentor helps to guide the cadet during the 12 month post-residential phase.
Mission: Provide a safe, disciplined and professional learning environment for at-risk 16-18 year-olds, graduating cadets with the values, life skills, education, and employment potential to be responsible and productive Wyoming citizens.
Vision: Wyoming's most effective and cost efficient program transforming at-risk 16-18 year-olds through a quality education that instills Cowboy Ethics combined with life and job skills to give them hope and opportunity for a better future.
Motto: Courage to Change
Code of the West: Wyoming’s official state code was adopted by the Wyoming State Legislature in March 2010. It emphasizes the unique culture of Wyoming and is best exemplified by “Cowboy Ethics” ©, the 10 life principles created by James Owen. These 10 principles are…
- Live Each Day with Courage
- Take Pride in your Work
- Always Finish what you Start
- Do What has to be Done
- Be Tough, but Fair
- When you Make a Promise, Keep it
- Ride for the Brand
- Talk Less and Say More
- Remember that Some Things aren’t For Sale
- Know Where to Draw the Line
A Brief History of ChalleNGe:
The National Guard's Youth ChalleNGe Program began in 1991, when the House Joint Armed Service Committee tasked the National Guard to develop a plan to help at-risk teens and "add value to America."
By providing values, skills, education, and discipline to young people using the structure and esprit de corps of the military model, the Youth ChalleNGe Program began a three year pilot program in 1993.
Fifteen states participated in the pilot program, which became a permanent National Guard program in 1996. The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program celebrated its 19th year of operations in 2012. Today, a total of 34 states across the nation operate a Youth ChalleNGe Program.
Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy:
The Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy opened its doors in January 2006 as the Wyoming Youth ChalleNGe Program and successfully graduated 22 Cadets in its first class in June 2006.
The Academy is located in Guernsey, Wyoming and resides in Building 505 on the State’s National Guard Camp Guernsey Joint Training Facility. After modifications in the summer of 2006, the program expanded and now operates from 2 buildings: main program building (505), and a classroom building (319).
The Academy also uses the camp’s Dining Facility for meals, the camp Chapel for presentations and optional faith/spiritual training, the Obstacle and Confidence Courses, and various other services to meet Academy needs. The WCCA greatly appreciates Camp Guernsey’s leadership and support to our mission. Without these enablers success would not be possible.
In July 2012, the program adopted its current name, the Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy (WCCA), and embraced the State’s official code, the Code of the West. Cowboy Ethics is now an integral part of the WCCA’s curriculum.