Three from Portage Co. among Challenge Academy graduates

By Patrick Lynn

More than 100 cadets from 38 Wisconsin counties will graduate from the Wisconsin National Guard Challenge Academy on Saturday, Dec. 14 at Mauston High School. Three of the cadets are from Portage County—two from Plover and one from Stevens Point.

The Challenge Academy, located on Fort McCoy, reshapes the lives of at-risk young men and women ages 16 to 18. It uses a structured, military-style environment and state-certified teachers and counselors to build cadets’ academic abilities, character, self-confidence, and personal discipline.

After graduating from the 22-week residential phase of academy training, cadets are paired with hometown mentors who offer guidance and encouragement in pursuing a new direction in life.

The National Guard Youth Challenge Program currently operates 41 programs in 30 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. Nationwide, more than 145,000 teens have graduated.

The Wisconsin Challenge Academy will begin its next class on Jan. 16, 2020. Applications are available for future classes by contacting the Challenge Academy at (866) 968-8422 or online at