2011-07-07 / News

Demonica Huff graduates from Guard’s TCA June 18

Demonica Huff of Tignall graduated from the National Guard Youth Challenge Program on Saturday, June 18, at the Macon City Auditorium.

Huff is among 215 Youth Challenge Academy (YCA) cadets to complete the program.

During the ceremony, Georgia Army Guard Brig. General Larry Dudney, director of the joint staff, congratulated the estimated 25 members who chose to join the military after graduation. “This is the biggest group of prospective enlistees I have seen come out of a YCA class in years,” he said.

In addressing the graduates, Dudney added, “No matter which branch of service you’ve decided on, no matter how long you’ve chosen to serve, you have committed yourself to one of the greatest and oldest professions in the world: the profession of combat arms. Congratulations on the choice you have made; see it through, stay committed, and become the leaders we know you can be.”

State Representative Barbara Massey Reece delivered the commencement address, telling the cadets that she knew of no better way to spend a weekend than among those who had just completed one of the best youth programs in the nation.

The estimated 22-week National Guard Challenge program is a preventive youth-at-risk program for teens 16-18 years old who are unemployed, drug-free, and law-free high school dropouts. Core components of the program are citizenship, academic excellence (GED attainment), life-coping skills, community service, health and hygiene, skills training, leadership followership, and physical training. The five-month residential phase, which includes the pre-challenge phase, is followed by a year-long mentoring relationship with a specially trained member.

The Georgia National Guard operates two YCA Campuses. One is at the Garrison Training Center in Hinesville and the other is at Fort Gordon in Augusta. Between the two, more than 10,000 former “at risk” teens have graduated from YCA.

Return to top