EASTOVER, SC, UNITED STATES
Story by Spc. Chelsea Baker
South Carolina National Guard
Fogle was congratulated by other distinguished members of the South Carolina Military Department, among them was Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston Jr., adjutant general for South Carolina. Livingston spoke highly of Fogle’s decorated career and commended him on his accomplishments in the growth of the program.
“Jackie Fogle, what a hero,” said Livingston. “He and his staff at Youth Challenge made a difference for our state one person at a time and that is what it takes. It takes caring about people and he and his team exemplify that greater good better than anybody I know.”
The SCYCA is an organization that is a part of the South Carolina National Guard and is conducted at the McCrady Training Center, part of the Fort Jackson military installation. It is designed to help at risk youth, ages 16-18, who have dropped out of high school. This program gives them guidance and mentor ship, providing them a path to a better future.
“The Youth Challenge transforms the lives of our youth of South Carolina,” said Livingston. “It helps create citizens who will change this state and this nation for good.”
Each cycle is a 22-week program where staff members teach cadets how to be productive citizens. The instructors educate the cadets in eight core components consisting of academic excellence, life-coping skills, job skill, health and hygiene, responsible citizenship, service to community, leadership, and physical fitness.
“We are trying to make a total person. Academics are very important but it’s not as important as them learning soft skills,” said Fogle. “Soft skills are things like how to dress properly, health and hygiene, how to get along with other people, how to work in a team.”
The Youth Challenge is not only a program to help these individuals become better citizens but it also helps them decide what they want to do in their futures. Cadets are also given the opportunity to earn their GED. An additional opportunity, called the Post Challenge, allows a graduate to enroll in job training programs such as welding, certified nursing assistance, tower technician and manufacturing.
“I’ve always enjoyed working with the Youth Challenge because it’s very rewarding to see someone turn their life completely around,” said Fogle. “That’s my only purpose for this program, to try and get these cadets to change their lives around and be successful.”
During the retirement ceremony, Fogle was presented with the highest state award by Livingston, the Order of the Palmetto.
“It is very fitting we honor Jackie during this 25 year anniversary celebrating the tremendous success of the Youth Challenge program,” said Livingston. “He exemplifies the very best in giving back to our state and nation and created the foundation for what the organization represents today.”