Details emerge about fights during youth program at Fort Gordon

Published: Oct. 24, 2022 at 4:32 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - We’re getting new details about why the Georgia National Guard shut down a class at the Youth Challenge Academy at Fort Gordon.

“Escalating incidents with class number 44 at the Fort Gordon YCA involved fighting, resulting in one cadet being transported for a medical check and released, and the other two being treated on scene,” a Georgia National Guard spokeswoman said Monday.

The Georgia National Guard earlier said there were no serious injuries.

The program was shut down the week before last.

“We are investigating every aspect of the most recent FG YCA incident and will employ lessons learned to improve the overall program,” the spokeswoman said.

She said organizers “are committed to running the program safely or not at all.”

We’ve been receiving messages from parents of kids who were enrolled in the program.

The academy was created back in 2000 at Fort Gordon. It uses a military model to educate and shape 16- to 18-year-olds from across Georgia. You’re even able to complete your high school diploma through this program. The Georgia National Guard has had more than 15,000 cadets.

The academy is not a youth detention facility but a voluntary program, the Georgia National Guard spokesperson said.

“Cadets are not accepted from detention centers or the court system and are screened in accordance with regulations that govern the program,” she said.

Fort Gordon said its personnel have no role in inspecting the academy cadets’ bags when they arrive.

The academy “is run and operated by the National Guard and NOT Fort Gordon so the installation would not factor into, or play a role, in the events which led to the cancellation of YCA Class 44,” a Fort Gordon spokeswoman said.