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Press Release
February 08, 2002
Oregon Youth ChalleNGe to receive national "best all-around" program; media invited to visit program
Bend, Ore. - Members of the media are invited to visit the Oregon National Guard's Youth ChalleNGe Program in Bend on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2002. Please notify Maj. Jeff Julum or Colleen Breeden with names and social security numbers of interested media representatives so flight arrangements can be made for Thursday morning. 
The OYCP will be awarded the national "best all-around" ChalleNGe program in Washington, DC, on May 1, 2002. Two OYCP cadets, chaperones, the OYCP director, and the state adjutant general will travel to Washington for the awards presentation. 
Oregon's program placed in the top three percent of all performance categories, over 28 other state programs. 
The categories each program was judged on are: community service; leadership and followership; academic excellence; life skills; job skills; health and hygiene; responsible citizenship; and physical fitness. 
Oregon's program teaches at-risk youths life skills and how to develop a life plan. OYCP cadets learn specific measures of effectiveness, and most show significant academic growth. Each cadet must perform many hours and multiple types of community service, and the cadets have a role in identifying community service projects to complete. 
"The young people at the Oregon Youth ChalleNGe Program are so excited about the program; they want more of it," Pat Antosh, program manager for the evaluation of ChalleNGe programs for the nation, said. 
Program goals are to provide young people with values, self-esteem, team-working skills, education and success as students and young adults. 
Core components consist of citizenship, preparation for GED or high school completion, work skills, community projects, health, hygiene skills and physical fitness. 
Cadets have two educational options in the program: GED or high school credits, and they make this choice in the first week they are enrolled. 
OYCP is designed as a intervention program rather than a punitive program. It is an "at-risk" youth program targeting drug-free, unemployed or underemployed teens between the ages of 16 and 18 who currently reside in Oregon. 
The mission of the program is to provide work skills and alternative learning opportunities to meet the individual needs of students in order to increase positive behavioral and academic skills. 
The student is better prepared for transition to subsequent successes in his or her next learning or work environment by promoting learning, goal setting, and self-image building. 
The program consists of three phases: phase one is the pre-challenge, a trial period in which each cadet is given a chance to prove his or her commitment to the program. Cadets may be cut at the end of this phase. 
Phase two is the 20 week challenge residential phase. 
Phase three is the post-residential mentorship phase, which begins during the residential phase and continues for one year after the cadet returns to his/her community. This is a highly important phase of the program which links an individual from the community with the cadet to provide guidance and continuity after leaving the residential phase.  
"This is one of the best programs I've seen," Antosh said. "Oregon is leading the way with new, creative and innovative projects. They get more with what they have." 
From December 1994 through December 2000, OYCP graduated 965 cadets. Of these, 539 have successfully returned to high school, 392 have earned a GED, and 132 enrolled in college. 
In the governor's proposed budget, this program is scheduled for closure at the end of the current class due to the lack of state matching funds.
Maj. Jeff Julum
Cell: 503-551-8323