Headlines in the Midlands
S.C. National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program receives gift from Marines
COLUMBIA, SC - December 4, 2011 - The Greater Columbia Marine Foundation presented a check for $5,000 to the S.C. National Guard's Youth ChalleNGe program, this week. And $2,000 from the gift will go toward two scholarships for qualifying Youth ChalleNGe cadets.
Youth ChalleNGe (the upper case "NG" reflecting the National Guard's oversight) is a program wherein at-risk teenagers ages 16–19 enter a five-month "quasi-military" academy, and – upon successful completion of the program return home with the values, skills, education, self-esteem and self-discipline to succeed as an adult. Time spent at the Youth ChalleNGe Academy – located at Fort Jackson's Camp McCrady – is followed by a one-year mentoring phase to ensure the new graduates don't slip back into the self-destructive environment that led them to the academy in the first place.
The $5,000 gift – which will generate three-times that amount in matching federal funds, (equating to $20,000 for Youth ChalleNGe) – will directly support the academy's ongoing operations, with $2,000 being earmarked for two $1,000 scholarships, each known as the Greater Columbia Marine Foundation Scholarship.
"This gift for the Youth ChalleNGe Academy is an investment in the future of our state by supporting S.C.'s youth," says Chief Warrant Officer 5 Chuck Paxton, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.) and pres. of the Greater Columbia Marine Foundation. "It is also an expression of the Greater Columbia Marine Foundation's commitment to our communities statewide and a recognition of the extraordinary work of the S.C. National Guard and the broader S.C. Military Dept. which are turning these young lives around."
The Greater Columbia Marine Foundation – an organization of active, retired, Reserve and formerly active U.S. Marines who support injured and wounded fellow Marines and their families, and which sponsors community outreach programs in the Midlands of S.C. – has hosted the USMC Ultimate Challenge Mud Run in S.C. since 1993. In 2010, S.C.'s Mud Run included 3,600 teams and over 14,000 participants from around the country, making the Greater Columbia Marine Foundation's Mud Run the largest in North America (The Foundation now hosts two Mud Runs annually in S.C. with the next event slated for Apr. 21, 2012.)
In addition to its support for Youth ChalleNGe, the Greater Columbia Marine Foundation has supported the Wounded Warrior program, Blue Star Mothers, Sea Cadets, the 2010 Medal of Honor convention in Charleston, Honor Flight South Carolina, various JROTC programs, deployed troops, individual Marines struggling financially, and scholarships to the University of South Carolina, Clemson University, and The Citadel among others.
– Visit W. Thomas Smith Jr. at uswriter.com.