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COMMUNITY BASED PROGRAM
The Florida Youth ChalleNGe Academy (FLYCA) is a community-based program that leads, trains, and mentors at-risk youth so they can become productive citizens. The Academy promotes adult responsibility, values and basic lifestyle changes by providing a demanding, highly regimented, motivational environment, free from outside distractions. In this voluntary program, 16- to 18 year old high school dropouts enter a rigorous 5 ½- month residential phase, based on a military model. During the remaining 12-month post-residential phase, the cadet is matched with a mentor and with the help of their FLYCA case manager works to stay on track and sharpen their skills after graduation.
Since its inception in July 2001, FLYCA has graduated 5,870 cadets from 63 of Florida’s 67 counties from the 5 ½-month residential phase. During the residential phase, cadets have the option to participate in credit recovery to return to high school or they can work toward earning their State of Florida High School Diploma through the GED testing service. Through the course of their stay at the Academy, these cadets have contributed over 423,000 hours of service to the communities of Florida, a value of over $3.04 million. Last year, 223 young people from throughout the state of Florida were directly impacted by Florida’s National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program.
The Florida Youth ChalleNGe Academy is governed by the Florida Department of Military Affairs and the Florida National Guard. In addition, the Academy is partnered with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, the Florida Department of Children and Families and the Florida Department of Education through the School District of Clay County (SDCC). FLYCA’s budget is paid for in part with federal funding and in part from these state partners.
This past year, the Florida Youth ChalleNGe Academy continued to operate and serve Florida’s youth through leadership and provide quality education from Clay County District Schools, an important need as several of the cadets entering the program had not attended school for the past few years. Even with that, FLYCA’s educationally focused environment resulted in 110 cadets earning their GED along with 51 cadets earning enough school credits to return to high school. FLYCA cadets have also been able to participate in several service to the community events to including helping to feed those in need along with supporting festivals and events throughout the State.