GUERNSEY, Wyo. – The Wyoming Cowboy Challenge Academy (WCCA) will shut down for an indefinite time based on the inability to recruit and retain staff. Shutdown procedures are underway, and all cadets will return home by October 1.
The Wyoming Military Department (WYMD), which has oversight of WCCA, has a dedicated administrative staff as well as Wyoming National Guard members on state active duty to make up for staffing shortages, particularly in the cadet care and management section. Since the July current class start date, continued staff attrition – despite bringing on state active-duty personnel – has led to an inability to maintain the 24/7 residential program. The critical staffing shortage is deemed by the Wyoming Military Department to be unsustainable in the long term.
“We understand the hardship this places on families and cadets, but we simply cannot sustain our current program given our staffing issues,” says Maj. Gen. Gregory Porter, The Adjutant General of the Wyoming National Guard.
“This decision was not an easy one but one made in the cadets’ best interest. We are committed to helping the cadets achieve their educational and individual goals and will work with them to find alternate means to meet them. This program has been of value to students across the state for nearly twenty years facilitated by dedicated and passionate staff.”
There are approximately 60 cadets in the current class which began in mid-July. WYMD staff has reached out to all parents and legal guardians of these cadets regarding the program closure.
The Wyoming Cowboy Challenge Academy is an accredited five-and-a-half-month-long residential academy followed by a 12-month mentorship program designed to provide structure, instill discipline, and help young men and women recognize and achieve their potential in a quasi-military training environment. All cadets volunteer to take part in the program. Since the program’s inception, 1,453 cadets have successfully completed the program.
The mission of the Wyoming Cowboy Challenge Academy is to provide a safe, disciplined, and professional learning environment that empowers non-traditional learners (ages 16-18) to improve their educational level and employment potential and become responsible productive citizens of the State of Wyoming.
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