Saturday, April 2, 2011

My Son's Portrait and The Grizzly Youth Academy

Aloha! Sorry for not posting on this painting weekly as I said I would. But after I started this portrait I took a road trip (over 3 hours long) to visit my son who I had not seen in 2 1/2 months! Then I had many art classes to teach. I know excuses, excuses. Plus I hit an awkward stage in my painting and did not want to post until I got beyond it. Since I last posted, I have worked on this painting approximately 4 hours in the past 2 weeks. The problem I had was getting his facial features correct. Here are some pictures of the work in progress:

This is where I left off.  Maybe next week I will be able to finish this painting and then next month start the Hawaii landscape.

I wanted to give a shout out to the Grizzly Youth Academy and the National Guards for educating my son along with many other young men and women between the ages of 16 and 18 (or 19?). The kids live on campus for 5 1/2 months and complete a full school year in almost half the time. They will not take your teen if they do not want to be there. These kids have all volunteered to go and are interviewed before they are accepted. Once accepted, some do not last beyond the 2 week boot camp and some want out before the first month is even over. The first month was tough for my son and all the other cadets. They are homesick for their friends and family back home. They also go through TV, computer and technology withdrawals plus they do not get much privacy. They live in barracks together as a platoon (group). They must also be drug free.

The teens that get beyond the tough stage end up loving it! The kids want to be there to improve their discipline, focus, exercise, get fresh air, improve their grades, learn living skills, team building exercises, field trips, they do volunteer work and job shadowing. This is an engaging school for young people. Never a dull moment. The kids are kept very busy all day long. The teacher to student ratio is healthy. I will guess it is about 20 kids per teacher. The kids work together to improve as individuals and work together to have the highest scores (like GPA) in their platoon!  My son's goal is to attain a 4.0 GPA. I highly recommend it.

There are more young men who sign up then young ladies. I would say 1/4 females to 3/4 males. The females live in separate quarters. The teens mature, learn respect for themselves and others while in this program. They improve in confidence. They get to choose a mentor for the program. This is an important job to be a mentor. The mentor gets to visit the cadet more than family! Plus the mentor promises to stay with your teen for an additional year after graduation to make sure they are keeping their personal goals. Be sure to pick a mentor who is truly up to the task it is important. My son has a GREAT mentor! Thank you Kelley for being faithful and positive. Kelley loves this role. His son also completed this program the previous year. This is how my son learned about the program. My son had to sell me on the idea and I was a hard sale, but now I am a convert to the school.

My son is at the half way point and loves it now. It was so good to see him physically and in 2 1/2 months his GPA is 3.60. He has really matured and learned good social skills. My son has always been a pretty good kid. However, he was falling behind in school and was bored. When we visited him for 5 hours we took him around town and he would hold doors open for people, and when we were served in restaurants, he would say thank you and have a nice day. This school really emphasizes respect and good manners. This program is free to the parents and teen however, they do need donations to keep the school running. They ask the parents to participate in a fund raiser. I will be auctioning my Maui condo during their silent auction. I am happy to contribute to this great school and to these kids. The kids come from all walks of life mostly middle class and lower income. Here is how you can help this school and our youth and the future of America

I hope that they will expand and open more schools in every state! Not all cadets go on to join the military. They will not ask or force your child to go this route. But some of the students do choose to proudly join and serve our country.

Signing off with much Aloha!

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