Posted by Pete Dawson on Nov 16, 2017
Our Guest Speaker at the Silverdale Rotary Luncheon on 16 Nov 2017 was Amy Steinhilber (photo above), the Deputy Director of the Washington Youth Academy. The vision of the Washington Youth Academy is to provide at-risk youth a quality education, positive values, and life and job skills training that will change their lives and give them hope and opportunity for a new future. Working with high school counselors across the state to identify and recruit youth who have dropped out of high school or are at risk of dropping out, the Washington Youth Academy provides a 17 ½ month residential and post-residential intervention program to give youth a second chance to become responsible and productive citizens. 
 
It starts with a half year quasi-military resident program of skill building, physical fitness, leadership, citizenship, and academics in Bremerton, WA and then follows up with a yearlong post-residential phase where the youth receives intense mentoring and placement follow-up. Program graduates can recover up to 8.0 credits (approximately 1.3 years of high school credits). Credits are approved by OSPI and taught by certificated teachers. The goal is to return graduates to their home high school to graduate on time with their peers.  Attendance is free of charge but youth must agree to a regimen of discipline and structure free of distractions like cell phones.
 
The Washington Youth Academy opened in 2009 as a division of the Washington State National Guard established under authority of both federal and state law.   A state-run institution, the Washington Youth Academy runs two cycles a year of about 150 youth, each divided into two male and one female platoon.  They are currently accepting applications for the Jan. 13, 2018 Cycle 18-1, as space allows.  For more information go to https://mil.wa.gov/youth-academy .
 
Editor’s Note: Young people from Washington Youth Academy have helped for many years to clear blackberries and brush from under the Silverdale Christmas Tree in the fall to make way for light maintenance that our Club helps with.  They have also helped clean up after RAGS for years and years.