CLAY NATIONAL GUARD CENTER — Nineteen Liberty County teens graduated Dec. 18 from the National Guard-sponsored Youth Challenge Academy at Fort Stewart during a commencement ceremony at the Macon City Auditorium in Macon.
Phillip Bowdle of Fleming, Jodeci Dowdy of Allenhurst, Alexander Frommberger of Midway, Andjouja Benton, Joseph Curry, Steven Curry, Rashad Deloach, Darrick Hansen, Tre’von Hill, Jalen Jamison, Ashley Jinks, Sa’Corey Johnson, Kevin Lambert, Kenzerrick Middleton, Jordan Pray, Ethan Turpin, Brittany Woodard, Charles and Jonathan Young and Briana Colon, all of Hinesville, completed Fort Stewart’s 22-week, in-residence youth development program for at-risk youth.
The National Guard’s Youth Challenge program helps youth develop the values, skills, education and self-discipline necessary to succeed as adults.
The preventative — rather than remedial — YCA targets unemployed, drug-free, high school dropouts ages 16-18 years who have had no run-ins with the law.
The Georgia National Guard operates two YCA campuses, the original at Fort Stewart and a second at Fort Gordon near Augusta. Since its first graduating class, YCA has graduated nearly 10,000 participants.
Georgia State Rep. Ben Harbin was the commencement speaker.