Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Site Image
Press Release
March 01, 2006
Oregon Youth Challenge Program receives top honor today
The Oregon National Guard Youth Challenge Program (OYCP) received honors today for having the best post-residential mentorship program of more than thirty similar programs nationwide. In addition, it was recently named one of the top three programs of its kind in the nation for 2005 – an honor it has received for four out of the past five years
Two cadets, Romiro Villgomez of Salem and Alex Soeffker of Medford, joined Oregon Congresswoman Darlene Hooley and Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees, Adjutant General of the Oregon National Guard, in receiving the honors at the Senate Dirkson Building in Washington D.C. Also in attendance from Oregon were Sen. Gordon Smith, Rep. Greg Walden, Col. Mike Caldwell, deputy director for state affairs, and Rick DeMars, the Director of OYCP. Other guests were Senators John McCain of Arizona and Max Baucus of Vermont.
Administered by the Oregon National Guard, the OYCP is Oregon's only public military-focused alternative high school. It is guided by Oregon National Guard values and principles and focuses on redirecting at-risk youth toward a positive future.
The OYCP is the only statewide high school in Oregon, and it serves youth from all 36 counties. It is accredited and an Alternative School for Bend and La Pine. The legislative Emergency Board approved more than $400,000 in funding last month to help keep the successful program whole.
The voluntary 17-month program provides at-risk youth ages 16 to 18 with a second chance to succeed. Cadets work through a two-phase program, beginning with an intensive residential program during which they develop life-coping skills, perform community service work and attend academic classes. The structured and highly successful program focuses on many of the Governor's benchmarks for youth, including mandatory mentoring, work placement, and drug and alcohol education.
In addition, OYCP students provide thousands of hours of service to the community, government agencies and nonprofit organizations. Since its inception, OYCP students have provided over 188,900 hours of service through out Oregon.
Upon graduating from the OYCP, cadets receive a high school diploma, a GED, or have earned enough credits to return to high school. Nearly 1,700 Oregon high school dropouts have earned eight or more certified high school credits at the OYCP and re-enrolled in school. More than 1,000 students who previously dropped out have earned a high school diploma or GED while in the OYCP.
The program, which is cost-free to cadets and their families, is followed by one year of mentoring. During this time, the cadets receive encouragement and support in implementing their life plan as they re-enter their home environments.
Details about the Oregon Youth Challenge Program are available at www.oycp.com  or by phoning 541-317-9623.
Kay Fristad
cell 503-931-5179
Capt Mike Braibish
cell 503-932-5805