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Governor visits ChalleNGe program
By Sgt. 1st Class Robert Stephenson, NJDMAVA/PA with DMAVA intern Adam Wallace
TAG at Operation Jump Start
Governor Jon S. Corzine has lunch with cadets from the New Jersey National Guard's Youth ChalleNGe Program at Fort Dix. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen, NJDMAVA/PA.

New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine and Maj. Gen. Glenn K. Rieth, The Adjutant General, were at Fort Dix Feb. 8 to take a tour of the National Guard’s Youth ChalleNGe Program, a residential program which offers “at-risk” teenagers a second chance at life. After being briefed by the program’s director, retired Col. Kenneth J. Prossick, the Governor walked the halls of the facility, visiting classrooms and chatting with cadets and cadre.

The visit culminated in a trip to the dining facility, where the Governor and General Rieth joined the cadets for lunch. Commenting on the program, Governor Corzine had extremely positive remarks. “I’m deeply impressed,” said Corzine. “I’m proud of the kids. It looks like these young people are trying to make a world for themselves that’s positive, and that’s the best thing you can ever do.”

The Governor toured the facility as part of his fact-finding tour during budget season, where the state government decides where to invest funding and support. “We ought to expand this program, where more young people can get the access to climb that ladder to better opportunities,” commented Corzine as he addressed the cadets. “Anything that we can do in the world of politics and government to help make that happen for more kids, I think, is my responsibility.”

Established in 1994, the ChalleNGe Program offers second chances to “at risk” youth, ages 16-18 that are no longer in school. Funded by more than $1 million per year, the 17 week residential program at Fort Dix provides a quasi-military style structured environment that includes academics, physical training, life coping skills, responsible citizenship and community service. For one recent graduate, the ChalleNGe program offered a number of opportunities.

I think back to all the discipline I’ve learned, all the respect I have for the leadership,” noted cadet Nathanial Terzano of Franklin who took home the Leadership Award. “I can actually achieve my high school diploma, and at home I couldn’t do that, because I didn’t have the selfdiscipline. I learned a lot of good trades while in this program, and now I’m going to apply them in life.”

He also noted the importance of teamwork, which the ChalleNGe Program stresses at all levels. “When you succeed, it feels good. When everyone is working together and does the right thing and everything goes the right way. The National Guard’s ChalleNGe Program is a great program."

The program’s most recent graduating class reported that more than 90 percent of the cadets obtained their high school diplomas, 50 percent moved on to college, and 20 percent joined the military. Parents with “at risk” children between the ages of 16-18 can contact the ChalleNGe Program at (800) 997-5587 or at

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Volume 33 Number 1 Staff / Information
(c) 2006 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs