Sunburst Youth Challenge Academy is one of three National Guard Youth ChalleNGe programs facilitated by the California Military Department and its focus is on reclaiming the lives of at-risk teens.
Candidates in Sunburst Youth Challenge Academy’s Class arrived and checked in on intake day as family members looked on. Candidates will not see family members again for weeks, as family visits are not allowed until much later in the program.
Both male and female candidates are accepted and organized into sex-segregated platoons led by cadre members who are National Guard personnel. Dorms are also segregated by sex.
Although Sunburst Academy has an excellent success rate, acceptance as a cadet is not automatic for the candidates. A candidate can wash out. At the end of the program, successful cadets will graduate with high school credits earned as part of the academic side of the program.