The Residential Phase of the program is a 22 week holistic experience conducted in residential facilities located on an active or closed National Guard base, a National Guard training center, or a school campus. Each class typically accommodates an average of 100 participants, with separate quarters for male and female cadets. Several states have more than 100 youths in their program per class.
The Residential Phase begins with a two-week acclimation period during which candidates are further assessed to determine their potential for successfully completing the program. While in the acclimation period, candidates have an opportunity to adjust to the physical and mental, and social discipline of the program. The focus is on teamwork, close order drill, code of conduct, leadership and followership and physical fitness training. The candidates who successfully complete this phase earn the distinction of becoming a cadet. Over 90% of these cadets will successfully complete the program.
During the remaining 20 weeks of the Residential Phase, daily activities and service to the community experiences build the cadet's job skills and self-concept. The academic program prepares cadets for the G.E.D. (General Education Development) exam given at the end of the Residential Phase. Cadets also develop a Life Plan that outlines their 12-month Post-Residential plan.
Mentors are matched with cadets midway through the Residential Phase. The mentors help support the cadets during the remainder of the Residential Phase and help them prepare to reenter community life. Mentors continue their responsibilities during the 12-month Post-Residential phase.
The 12-month Post-Residential Phase begins when graduates return to their communities, continue in higher education or enter the military. The goal of this phase is for graduates to sustain and build on the gains made during the Residential Phase. In addition, they must continue to develop and implement their Life Plans.
The mentors, matched with cadets during the Residential Phase, play a critical role in ensuring their continued success. They help youth transition from the structured environment of the Residential Phase to self-management. The mentors also support and guide the cadets through implementation of their Life Plans.