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Letter: Youth Challenge will leave lasting memories

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January 24, 2015 is a date that will live in the hearts of the recent Graduates of the LA National Guard Youth Challenge Program at Camp Minden, along with their families and friends throughout their lifetime. All of us are familiar with the sacrifices our National Guard’s men and women make in times of war, conflicts, civil unrest and natural disasters.

The Youth Challenge Program is designed to give struggling students a second chance at having a successful life. This challenging and demanding program, accompanied with the hard work and commitment of the National Guard, mentors, pastors and educators, literally turn the candidates life around. The students, in most cases, are resistant to complying with the heavy demands. But with order and discipline comes rewards that captures the imagination and from that point on, they are unstoppable. The noticeable improvement in study, learning and increased responsibility is almost breath taking.

Most graduates work hard to obtain their GED with many being awarded college scholarships and job opportunities. Without question, the National Guard’s work with our young people is worthy of our appreciation and respect. I hope and pray, as we face many important and challenging issues at the upcoming Legislative fiscal session, that we remember the 18,000 students who have graduated from the Louisiana National Guard Youth Challenge Program and the vast majority that have gone on to become highly productive tax paying citizens.

I pledge my continued support to Major General Curtis, Adjutant General , Col. Borrel, Director, LA Educational Programs, CPT Jason Montgomery, Director of the Youth Challenge Program, Camp Minden and all of the administrative staff, faculty, mentors from around the state that make this program happen. The benefits to the region and state are immeasurable. Finally, to the students: I am so proud of you and may God bless you and keep you. You are now winners and ready to make a positive difference, not only for you and your family but to all that call Louisiana home.

State Representative Henry L. Burns

District 9