The Commencement Ceremony for Class 37, Montana Youth Challenge Academy, was held on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017 on the campus of the University of Montana-Western in Dillon. Seventy-four cadets graduated during the formal ceremony, including Daryl McDonald of St. Regis.
Speakers included Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney and University of Montana President Dr. Sheila Stearns. Other distinguished guests included state Sen. Jeff Welborn, SD 36, Maj. Gen. Matthew Quinn, the Adjutant General, Montana National Guard Brigadier Gen. Bryan Fox, Commander, Montana Air National Guard, Brigadier Gen. (Ret.) Hal Stearns, Montana Army National Guard, Dr. Beth Weatherby, Chancellor, University of Montana Western, Susan Briggs, Vice Chancellor, University of Montana Western and Erica Swanson, State Coordinator, Jobs for Montana Graduates.
The Montana Youth Challenge Academy (MYCA) is a two-phase, academic-based program located in Dillon on the campus of the University of Montana-Western. The Academy’s focus is to assist youth ages 16-18 by helping them to develop the academic and life skills necessary to be successful.
During the 22 week residential phase academy participants focus on eight core components, which include physical fitness, academic excellence, leadership-followership, responsible citizenship, service to community, life-coping skills, job skills and health and hygiene.
Following graduation from the residential phase, students enter a 12-month post-residential phase in which they maintain ongoing contact with a volunteer mentor in the community who provides additional guidance and support. MYCA conducts two sessions each year and the next session will start on Jan. 16, 2018.