What is the Academy’s mailing address?
PO Box 256, Sea Girt, NJ 08750
Do you have a campus closer to me?
New Jersey has only one ChalleNGe program. The campus is in Sea Girt, NJ at the National Guard Training Center.
What time do I have to get up and go to bed?
You will wake up at 5:00 a.m. and go to bed (lights out) at 9:00 p.m.
Can I bring my vehicle to the Academy?
How long is the course of study at the Academy?
The residential phase is 22-weeks in length, followed by a one-year post-residential phase. Our entire program experience lasts 17 ½ months.
How do I enroll my child in your academy?
There is an application process in place that lasts anywhere from three to five months prior to the start of a new class. Our Academy has been in operation for over 25 years and continues to be in high demand. As a result, we are fortunate to receive approximately three applications for every candidate accepted.
Do cadets go home on weekends or in the evenings?
Unless there is an emergency requiring a pass off site, our residents do not go home on weekends and remain at the Academy for the duration of the residential phase.
What if my child does not want to attend the Academy?
New Jersey Youth ChalleNGe Academy (NJYCA), like all ChalleNGe programs, is voluntary. While your child does not need to be over-the-moon excited to attend, he/she must be willing. Our Cadets are not incarcerated and will not be treated as such; we cannot and will not keep them here against their will.
What if my child wants to quit once he/she is there?
NJYCA is a voluntary program; however, we do not easily give up on Cadets once they have been accepted. There will be a multi-step intervention plan to redirect behaviors and address Cadet needs so that they are more likely to stay.
My child will not be 16 until after the first day, can you make an exception?
Unfortunately, the age restrictions are non-negotiable. Your child may start the application process prior to turning 16, but he/she cannot attend until their 16th birthday or after.
My child will be 19 before the first day, can you make an exception?
Unfortunately, the age restrictions are non-negotiable. Your child is not eligible to attend NJYCA unless he/she is 16, 17, or 18 on the first day.
My child is using drugs, or I suspect he/she is, does that make him/her ineligible?
We understand some applicants may not currently be living a drug-free lifestyle, and we still encourage them to apply. We have a zero-tolerance policy for drug use while at the Academy, and Candidates and Cadets must be willing to be drug-free while they are with us. Urinalysis drug screens will be used once your son/daughter has had the opportunity to “get clean.”
How often will I get to see my child while he/she is at the Academy?
Except for unforeseen circumstances, you will see him/her once during the 22-week residential phase. We will have a Family Day on campus on or around week 10. Details will be shared at the beginning of each cycle.
What if I am a resident of New Jersey but my child is not?
Your child may apply as long as he/she has a New Jersey address and a person in New Jersey who is willing to accept responsibility for him/her in the event of an emergency, prolonged illness, or dismissal.
How does it work with mail and/or phone calls?
The more mail the better!!! We encourage you to write each other as frequently as possible. Mail is passed in the evenings, and Cadets are required to open mail in front of a staff member to ensure there is no contraband inside the envelope. Pictures will be reviewed for appropriateness, but mail will not be read or censored. Please keep in mind that interference with the mail is a Federal offense, so your child will be allowed to send and receive mail from anyone, unless there is a court order saying otherwise.
Phone calls are earned weekly, and duration ranges from 5-10 minutes depending on your child’s rank and any disciplinary actions. Your child will be allowed to call whomever they wish, but will be encouraged to contact their parent/guardian weekly.
Can you accommodate my child’s dietary restrictions?
In most cases, yes. Food allergies and other dietary restrictions must be disclosed during the application process so that we have time to plan accordingly. Vegetarian, food allergies/sensitivities, and pork-free diets are all easily accommodated. Please note that medical documentation will be required for food allergies or sensitivities.
My child has learning differences or disabilities, can you meet the accommodations specified by his/her school?
Yes. Individual Education Plans, 504 Accommodations, Behavior Improvement Plans, and/or Full and Individual Evaluations must be submitted during the application process so that our Principal and Special Education teacher have time to plan accordingly.
Does my child have to join the military after graduation?
No. We will likely have military recruiters as guest speakers at some point in the cycle, but there is no obligation for your child to speak with them or pursue enlistment. Each Cadet will take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB); however, it is used primarily as a career exploration tool as opposed to a step for enlistment.
Will my child get his/her diploma or GED?
That depends on your child, his/her academic history, and his/her progress at the Academy. Classes on site will be taught by NJ certified teachers, with online self-paced courses also available. As such, Cadets will earn credits at different rates.
If applicable, Cadets will earn credits to return to their home campuses with the mindset to succeed at earning a diploma with their classmates.
Many cadets will take the GED tests (high school equivalency) tests. Passing all four tests will credential them, earning them a NJ State high school diploma issued by the NJ Department of Education.
What happens if I do not pass the GED tests?
All students who earn the privilege will take the GED tests during the residential phase of our program. Those that do not meet the passing scores in any of the four tests will have the opportunity to retest during the post-residential phase.
How important is the mentor, and what if I do not have one?
Your child’s mentor is instrumental in his/her success after leaving the program. The mentor is responsible for maintaining a relationship with your child and holding him/her accountable to the goals he/she set while at the Academy. The mentor serves as another caring adult in your child’s life and will stay in contact with NJYCA staff for a full year following graduation from the residential phase.
Your child will not be accepted to the Academy without a mentor. Please speak with your NJYCA Admissions Specialist for ideas on finding a mentor.
Can you accommodate my child’s religious practices?
In most cases, yes. After the Acclimation phase, Cadets will be allowed to have a religious text of their choosing. There will be quiet time most evenings, and a couple of hours each Sunday devoted to reflection. Local religious leaders will be invited to come to campus during the Sunday reflection time, and your child may participate in this worship if they so choose.
Any accommodations your child may need regarding head coverings, facial hair, or additional time for prayers should be addressed during the application process, and there is no guarantee the accommodations will be made.
My child does not have a transcript because he/she has never been enrolled in high school.
All applicants must be eligible to enroll in high school level coursework, this means they MUST have completed 8th grade and be eligible for promotion to 9th. In this case, please provide a middle-school transcript.
If your child lacks a transcript because he/she has been homeschooled, please contact our principal during the application process. Your child may be required to take a placement test in order to determine eligibility.