National Guard Youth Program will receive uniforms from DoD

Today, Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) applauded the announcement that the Department of Defense (DoD) will provide Washington State’s National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program with surplus military uniforms.

Rep. Kilmer requested that DOD make excess uniforms available to the 35 ChalleNGe programs across the country.

The move will help more students participate in the National Guard Youth Academy by saving it over $80,000 a year in Washington state alone. The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program is designed for at-risk youth to help them succeed. More than 121,000 cadets have graduated since 1993 and of those; more than

Sixty percent earned their GED or high school diploma while participating in the program.

“I’m proud to support a program that lifts up struggling students and helps them thrive,” said Kilmer. “The Youth Academy is helping to transform the lives of kids in Washington State and across the nation. The Defense Department has answered our call to help this successful program reach out to even more students. Now, this will help the Youth Academy so they can bring more students through the ChalleNGe doors."

We thank Representative Kilmer for advocating on behalf of the Youth Challenge program, and securing these surplus uniforms,” said Major General Bret Daugherty, commander of the Washington National Guard and director of the Washington Military Department. “The Washington Youth Academy is a unique education program that works. Countless teenagers in Washington state who either have, or are on the brink of dropping out of high school connect with our teachers and cadre staff, and leave as responsible, productive adults. I could not be more proud of this program, and the students that graduate from it. Any help to increase our success rate and reach more kids is greatly appreciated.”

The Washington Youth Academy established in 2009 and located in Bremerton, Washington is designed to be a highly-disciplined, safe, and professional learning environment that provides youth an academic credit recovery/life intervention program to help turn their lives around. More than 1000 cadets have graduated from the 17 month residential (22-weeks) and post residential program (one-on-one adult mentoring) that includes eight core components; academic excellence, life coping skills, job skills, health and hygiene, responsible citizenship, service to community, leadership/followership, and physical fitness.

The academy serves the entire state with youth attending from all 39 counties. On average cadets recover almost 8 academic credits (over one full year of high school) and increase almost 3 grade levels for The Adult Basic Education (TABE) test in just the 22-week portion alone. Additionally, cadets perform almost 10,000 total hours of community service in local communities during the resident phase and truly learn the value of giving back to their communities.

As a member of the Washington State Senate Kilmer advocated for funds to build the Washington Youth Academy in Bremerton and continued to support the academy’s programs.


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