PA Nat’l Guard, Fort Indiantown Gap looking for new cadets for Keystone ChalleNGe class

18 July 2023- The Keystone State ChalleNGe Academy (KSCA) is accepting applications for its fourth class of cadets which begins in January 2024. The KSCA is designed to give academically challenged teens a second chance at obtaining their basic education, learn leadership, self-discipline, and responsibility while working toward finishing their education and building a better life. 

The opening of the academy at Fort Indiantown Gap (FTIG) in Lebanon County in July 2022 formally established the National Guard Bureau’s Youth ChalleNGe Program in Pennsylvania. 

The program is open to 16- to 18-year-old Pennsylvania residents who are failing to progress in high school or may not be on a clear path to graduating. Applicants must be willing to be drug free, free of felony convictions, and voluntarily commit to the program. The program lasts for 17 months, with the first five months consisting of residential training at FTIG followed by one year of mentorship back in their home communities.

“The academy program is growing and we are excited to welcome more teens to take part in this life-changing experience that will pave the way to a future of success,” said Steve Grossman, KSCA director. “We have graduated two classes of extraordinary cadets who made the decision to commit to the academy way of learning, knowing that they will come out a more mature, educated and confident person ready to tackle all life has to offer. I look forward to greeting even more cadets in January and helping them meet goals and change their lives for the better.”

For detailed eligibility requirements and to begin the application process, visit our Eligibility and Admissions webpage. If you prefer to have an application mailed to you or would like to talk with someone about this program, please contact the academy by emailing, or by calling 717-861-7767 or 717-861-8831. 

The KSCA is a joint effort between the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) and the National Guard Bureau in consultation with the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). 

Cadets are introduced to the military structure and focus on eight core components: Academic Excellence; Physical Fitness; Leadership/Followership; Responsible Citizenship; Job Skills; Service to the Community; Health and Hygiene; and Life Coping Skills. Graduates often receive high school credits, credentials, or a GED. There is no tuition cost to attend. Meals, housing, uniforms, and school supplies are provided at no charge.

Since the program’s inception in 1993, more than 200,000 young people have completed the ChalleNGe program nationwide. This award-winning program has been recognized as one of the nation’s most effective and cost-efficient programs for targeting youth who have dropped out of school or are at the greatest risk for not satisfactorily progressing, are unemployed or under employed.

The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program currently operates 39 Youth Challenge sites in 30 states and territories. The program is both federally and state funded. 

More details can be found at