Q. What is the Arkansas Youth Challenge Program (ARYC)?
A. In 1993, Congress created the National Guard Youth Challenge Program, a civilian youth opportunities program and
authorized the Secretary of Defense to use the National Guard Bureau to conduct the program for at-risk youth.
The Arkansas Youth Challenge Program is administered by the Arkansas Department of Military Affairs. We are
located on Camp J.T. Robinson in North Little Rock, AR. The Arkansas Youth Challenge Program is one of the
original 4 pilot programs established in 1993 and offers youth the opportunity to change the direction
of their lives and develop the strength of character and life skills necessary to become successful,
responsible citizens. The Program consists of a 5 ½ month-long Residential phase followed by a year-long
Post-Residential Phase.

Q. Who can attend?
A. Arkansas youth, ages 16 years but not yet 19, can volunteer to attend ARYC. Must be:

  • One or more years behind in high school credits, or expelled or dropped out
  • A citizen or legal resident of the United States and a resident of Arkansas
  • Not currently on parole or probation for anything other than juvenile status offenses
  • Not charged or convicted of a felony
  • Drug free
  • A volunteer

Q. How much does the Youth Challenge cost to attend?
A. There is no cost from the families for attendance to the Youth Challenge. The cost of the program is covered
by State and Federal dollars. The families are required to provide a small list of personal items for the Cadet
(t-shirts, socks, underwear, etc.)

Q. When do classes at the ARYC begin?
A. The Challenge Program holds two classes per year beginning in mid-January and mid-July.

Q. What is the curriculum?
A. The curriculum, developed by the National Guard Bureau, is based on the experiential learning model and is
comprised of eight core components:

  • Academic Excellence
  • Physical Training
  • Job Skills
  • Service to Community
  • Health and Hygiene
  • Responsible Citizenship
  • Leadership/Followership
  • Life Coping Skills

Character Development is integrated and emphasized throughout the curriculum. Cadets invest much of their
time in developing a goal and task oriented plans for their futures (Post-Residential Action Plan or P-RAP).

Staff can also call 1 (800) 814-8453 to speak with our Admissions Department to schedule a tour of the ARYC or a
presentation by Challenge staff at your school district.

Q. Can students be “sent” to the Challenge Academy?
A. The program, as established by Congress and administered by the National Guard and the Arkansas Department of
Military Affairs, requires that students (future cadets) volunteer for the program. Students cannot be “sent”
by a school district through an IEP or other plans, or court ordered. Schools can refer students who they
believe would benefit from the program.

Dream | Believe | Achieve