SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – As friends and family members tearfully watched, 171 cadets from Camp Minden’s Louisiana National Guard Youth Challenge Program, on Saturday walked across the stage of Shreveport Municipal Auditorium to receive diplomas or GEDs.
The program offers 16-18-year-old “at risk” youths an opportunity to improve their circumstances in life by intervening and teaching new skills. The curriculum is structured so graduates have the opportunity to come out with values, life skills, education and the self-discipline necessary to succeed as productive citizens.
Capt. Jason Montgomery, director of Camp Minden, says this year’s class did well academically.
“It’s just gratifying. You know, you’ll see these kids on day zero, week one during intake and they’re just uncertain. They’re unsure, and you just watch the growth. For 22 weeks you see that it’s evident that the program works.”
Focusing heavily on service, the program teaches students to become good community citizens.
To date, cadets have performed more than 6,800 community service hours.