Starting in 2022, Fort Indiantown Gap will be the site of the Keystone State Youth ChalleNGe Academy (KSCA), a program designed to help youth who have dropped out of high school receive a formal education.

The 16- to 18-year-old cadets voluntarily enrolled in the program will live at the Gap for 5.5 months before moving on to a yearlong mentorship program within the community.

Enrollees will live in 10 renovated WWII-era barracks, currently under renovation. Another building is in construction to include a cafeteria, gym, medical facilities, and classrooms.

Planning and construction for KSCA have been in the works since 2019, the press release says.

To start, the program plans to host 200 cadets per year. It aims for a minimum graduation target of 100 per class. It will have a maximum capacity of 138 per class (96 male and 41 female).

Students will learn military structure and eight core values: Academic Excellence; Physical Fitness; Leadership/Followership. Responsible Citizenship; Job Skills; Service to the Community; Health and Hygiene; and Life Coping Skills.

“The youth who become our cadets will be here as volunteers who want to be part of this program,” said KSCA director Brig. Gen. Stephen Radulski in the press release. “This shows from day one that they have the desire to succeed. We will tap into that desire to help each cadet achieve academic success.

“Ultimately, we all win by accepting at-risk youth back into the learning environment and enabling a new beginning and brighter future.”

The ChalleNGe Academy is a National Guard Bureau program with 41 sites across the country, which receives federal and state funding. The program was started in 1993 and has been completed by over 170,000 people, according to the press release.

Emily Bixler was born and raised in Lebanon and now reports on local government. In her free time, she enjoys playing piano and going for hikes.