Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Capt. Megan Hoffmann
State Public Affairs Office 

The story of Wyoming's Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy:

Candidates, to cadets, to confident young men and women


June 14, 2017

COURTESY/Wyoming Air National Guard/Senior Master Sgt. Charles Delano

Samantha Clinger (center), 16, from Thermopolis, a cadet in the Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy Class 32, listens to a C-130 crewmember explain the airframe capabilities May 30 during their visit to the 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard, in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Cadets of class 32 reported Jan. 8 and those who made it through the program graduated 22 weeks later on June 10. The program serves at-risk youth 16 to 18 years old and takes place in a safe, disciplined and motivational environment that promotes structure, teamwork, self-control and academics along with leadership, health, community service, life skills, job skills, physical fitness and citizenship. More than 840 cadets have graduated the first 32 classes.

CHEYENNE - A level of uncertainty is expected upon entering the program. The 52 candidates of Class 32 who reported to the program Jan. 8 were no exception.

When they reported on a cool, cloudy day in January to the Camp Guernsey Joint Training Center, they were quiet. Smiles and pleasantries were not exchanged. Many of them kept their eyes toward the ground, lacking confidence and self-esteem. They knew the next 22 weeks until graduation would not be easy.

On June 10, 41 of those cadets walked across the stage for their graduation at Wheatland High School, substantially changed. They look...

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