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About the Program

The Tennessee National Guard Volunteer ChalleNGe Academy is a new beginning for those young men and women who need a change.


Our Mission

The mission of the Tennessee Volunteer ChalleNGe Academy is to intervene in and reclaim the lives of at-risk youth and produce program graduates with the values, life skills, education, and self-discipline necessary to succeed as productive citizens of Tennessee.


Our Vision

The Tennessee Volunteer ChalleNGe Academy (TNVCA) will provide a safe and productive quasi-military environment for “at-risk” youth ages 16-18 years who "Volunteer 2 Change!"  


Our Purpose

To enhance life-coping skills and employability potential of our cadets through a quasi-military environment with discipline, structure, education, service to community and mentoring that will positively impact our cadet’s future.  TNVCA will provide the eight-core components during a 22-week residential phase, followed by a 12-month post-residential mentoring phase.  



The 8 Core Components

To successfully complete the program, all cadets must master the 8 Core Components of the National Guard Youth Challenge program during the residential phase. 

  1. Academic Excellence:  Cadets attend daily classes to increase math and reading comprhension and prepare them for the high school equivalency diploma. 
  2. Life Coping Skills:  Cadets learn to identify and self-regulate emotions; identify conflict resolution and anger management strategies, financial management and teamwork.
  3.  Job Skills:  Career exploration is accomplished through career assessments and interest inventories and job-specific skills orientations.
  4. Health and Hygiene:  Cadets will understand nutrition basics, substance abuse awareness and positive personal relationships. 
  5. Responsible Citizenship:  Cadets discover their role in the democratic process and learn their rights, privileges, and obligations as United States citizens. 
  6. Service to the Community:  Cadets realize the value and importance of giving back to the community while performing a minimum of 40 hours of community service.
  7. Leadership/Followership:  Cadets learn to comply with established rules, regulations, and procedures; perform basic military customs and courtesies; and define and identify their leadership skills, traits, dimensions, and components.
  8. Physical Fitness:  Cadets perform physical training based on the President’s ChalleNGe, the Amateur Athletic Union Physical Fitness Program, and the Canada Fitness Award Program.


The ChalleNGe Facts

  • A multi-phased intervention program (residential and post-residential)
  • Targets high school dropouts or those at risk of dropping out between the ages of 16 & 18
  • A structured, disciplined 5 1/2 month Residential Phase focusing on education and practical life skills followed by a 12-month post-residential Phase involving skilled and trained mentors supporting graduates engaged in positive, durable placement
  • More than 149,000 graduates nationally have completed the National Guard Youth Challenge programs since 1993
  • There are 40 programs in 28 States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico​


The ChalleNGe Model

  • Quasi–Military disciplined training combined with educational instruction, experiential learning, and mentoring
  • Administered by the Department of Defense and implemented by the National Guard Bureau
  •  Goal to improve education, life skills, and employment potential of cadets

Answers to Commonly Asked Questions

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