Guernsey, WY. – The Wyoming Cowboy Challenge Academy is a National Guard program that targets at-risk teens. In the program, 16 to 18 year-old students who have dropped out of high school go through a five-and-a-half-month residency at the Fort Guernsey facility. In the program they engage in a regimen of physical fitness, education, citizenship and leadership. A 12 month mentorship program then follows, ending with the cadet completing their GED.
In recent years, turnout for the WCCA program has increased, but enrollment numbers are still lower than the facility would like to see, citing a number of empty beds. So Wyoming lawmakers met on Tuesday looking for ways to bring school districts closer to the project. Some of the suggested options included school districts recommending students to the program, or districts being credited financially when a student enrolled in the program receives a GED within a set time limit.
Maj. Gen. Luke Reiner believes that the program saves the state money, with the potential of keeping at-risk students out of court-ordered systems, or the state penitentiary.