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About the Academy

About Hoosier Youth Challenge Academy

Indiana’s Hoosier Youth Challenge Academy, located in Knightstown, offers military-based training to unemployed/underemployed, crime-free and drug-free high-school dropouts 16-18 years of age. HYCA trains and mentors these youth to develop the values, skills, education and self-discipline to become successful young adults. The program is ideal for high-school-age youth who are not on a disciplined path to learn the skills they need to change the outcome of their current life situation and to graduate from high school.

The free program is a 17.5 month commitment, including an in-depth screening process, two-week acclimation phase, five-month residential phase and a yearlong post-residential mentorship phase to help graduates with career and life goal achievements. There is NO MILITARY OBLIGATION for those who participate.

The Academy provides:

  • Academic excellence
  • Health and hygiene
  • Job skills
  • Life coping skills
  • Mentoring and post-secondary educational counseling
  • Physical fitness
  • Responsible citizenship
  • Service to community

HYCA is part of the National Youth Challenge Program established in 1993 by the National Guard.

There are 40 Youth Challenge Academies in the United States. Former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and former Indiana National Guard Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger established the Hoosier Youth Challenge Academy in 2007.


School Partnerships

Cadets have the opportunity to pursue different education tracks through HYCA’s partnership with Adult Basic Education and Options Charter School.

  • Cadets may continue to progress toward earning their high-school diploma through credit-earning classes as they complete HYCA's 8 Core Components. Cadets will take additional courses through New Castle High School for credit.
  • Alternatively, Cadets can attain their High School Equivalency Diploma through our partnership with Adult Basic Education, a program offered to Indiana residents 100% tuition free (no cost to parents or cadets). Cadets on this track are encouraged and assisted to continue their education at a college, trade or technical school, or military environment. These Cadets are given the opportunity to test for their HSE diploma while in the program, and receive additional assistance from a Mentor, including with their Post Resident Action Plan (PRAP), to create goals for when they leave the residential part of the program.