What is the Florida Youth ChalleNGe Academy? (FLYCA)

FLYCA is a 17 1/2 month voluntary program geared toward Florida’s 16 to 18 year old at-risk youth. The program consists of a 5 1/2 month residential phase and a 12 month post-residential phase.
The residential phase of the program takes place in a highly disciplined and motivational environment promoting structure and academics along with leadership, health, community service, life skills, job skills, physical fitness and citizenship.
The post-residential phase takes place after graduation from the residential phase and is a time when the cadet uses the skills learned in the residential phase through their placement in either a job, further education, or the military. The cadet is matched with a mentor during the residential phase and this mentor helps to guide the cadet during the 12 month post-residential phase.

Where Anything Is Possible

Alternative High School

We are a listed alternative high school under Clay County School District.

We focus on the whole person

We focus on more than just education, we actually focus on 8 areas that help develop a complete person.

17 1/2 Month Program

They stay with us for 5 1/2 months, then we along with their mentor continue to help them for an additional 12 months.

We are always here

Even after they complete our program, our doors are always open for past cadets that want to stop in and visit.  Or if they need someone to talk to.   We are family and will always be their for them.

During the 1980`s, the Rockefeller Foundation identified the need in our country to provide opportunities for young people working to overcome problems in their lives which included being high school dropouts. In 1991 the Joint Armed Services Committee directed the National Guard to develop a plan to “Add value to America“ by providing values, skills, education and self discipline to young people incorporating the structure and espirit de corps found in the military model. A five-year ChalleNGe Pilot Program began operating in ten states in 1993 under Public Law 102-484 and has since been embraced by more than 29 states.

Every dollar expended on ChalleNGe yields $2.66 in benefits – a return on investment of 166%. This return is substantially higher than other rigorously evaluated social programs that target disadvantaged youth. Youth Challenge is unmatched in its effectiveness in helping youth prepare for the future.

RAND Corporation

Cost-Benefit Analysis Report

National Guard Youth Challenge Programs in the United States

Teens that have graduated the National Guard Youth Challenge Program

  • From the 2012 ChalleNGe graduates received their high school diploma or GED. 59%
  • Graduates that joined the workforce 45%
  • Graduates that continued their education 41%
  • Graduates that joined the military 7%


The Florida Youth ChalleNGe Program is endorsed by the state and is a cooperative effort between the Department of Education, department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Children and Families, Clay County District Schools and Department of Military Affairs, i.e., the Florida National Guard. The Florida Youth ChalleNGe Academy is located on Camp Blanding (45 miles west of St. Augustine) and housed in an existing military complex that has been renovated to accommodate administrative and operational requirements.


To apply to the Florida Youth ChalleNGe Academy, each applicant must meet the following minimum eligibility criteria: be 16 but no more than 18 years old; a high school drop out/expellee or disenrollee; a citizen or legal resident of the United States and a resident of the State of Florida; unemployed/underemployed; not currently on probation or parole for other than misdemeanor offenses; not charged, under indictment, nor awaiting sentencing; not convicted of a felony; free of illegal drugs; physically and mentally capable of completing the program; and be a volunteer.


The program consists of two phases­ a ChalleNGe Phase of five and a half months, and a Post Residential Phase of one year. During the first two weeks of the ChalleNGe Phase, applicants are stressed mentally and physically and then evaluated to determine if they are prepared for acceptance into the ChalleNGe Phase. Those earning the right to participate in the ChalleNGe Phase become “cadets” and will undergo a demanding, highly regimented, motivational period where the core components of academic excellence (GED completion), community service, job skills, leadership/followship, life-coping skills, physical fitness, and health education are embraced daily. The Post Residential Phase is a mentorship phase beginning immediately after graduation in each cadet’s home community.

To provide a highly disciplined and motivational environment, free from outside distractions, which fosters academics, leadership, development, personal growth, self-esteem and physical fitness for qualifying high school dropouts.

The Florida Youth ChalleNGe program is funded by the Department of Defense and the State of Florida and is operated through a cooperative agreement between the National Guard Bureau and the Governor of Florida. Funding is based on the graduation rate of 150 cadets twice a year. This program is provided at no charge to the applicants.

The Academy consists of an operational staff and cadre with in-depth military experience, certified instructors from the Clay County District School system, a registered nurse practitioner, counselors and recruitment/placement personnel.

Florida Youth ChalleNGe Academy

1-866-276-9304 | Toll Free admissions@flyca.info | E-Mail

take the challeNGe, make the chaNGe

© 2017

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