Friday, July 29, 2011

Grizzly Youth Academy Graduating Class 26 June 2011

(Click on photos to enlarge)

I'm a proud mama. My son and most of his fellow cadets completed their 5 1/2 month Challenge Program at the “California National Guard Grizzly Youth Academy. It was fun, motivating, and difficult. Near the end of the program, he was ready to return home to enjoy some solitude. The graduation ceremony was beautiful. We enjoyed the speeches. After the event, there were a few hugs and goodbyes and mom taking pictures. When we were in the car ready to drive home, my son tells me that he feels funny. He was happy to return home and sad to leave. He said he felt an “emptiness.” He was actually a little homesick for the academy. It had become his home. He was leaving his new family in San Luis Obispo, CA.
When he first arrived to the academy my son did not know any of the cadets but soon discovered he knew one female cadet from his former high school. Many of the kids come into this program not knowing a soul. He became friends with the others. They learn to respect and support each other to "Dream It, Believe It, Achieve It." He will miss the Major, Sergeants, and his wonderful teachers. They taught him many life skills beyond what a normal high school could and in a focused 16 hour filled day! The kids do not have time to be bored. Two semesters (a year of school) is squeezed into this 5.5 months program.

 It is not easy to get accepted into this academy, it is becoming popular due to referrals and recommendations from other parents like me. There are only so many students they can take due to limited space. It is a free school to the parents. Donations are of course GREATLY appreciated so please donate especially if your child is accepted. If your young man or woman does get in, and if they complete the program, they will graduate more mature, well rounded, smarter, caring, self aware and responsible. Young people from all walks of life attend this school. I’m glad that my son got to meet other people with different backgrounds and upbringings. This school brings together all the young people who are still trying to find their way in life. Some were seriously side tracked. But in the end they graduate as mature men and women with self-confidence. As a proud parent I highly recommend this program and school. It builds discipline and character in your son or daughter. It makes a huge difference not only in the cadet's life but also their family and the community.

Kathy McCartney