Cadets earn awards at YCP Minden

SFC Jeremy Jackson, commandant of the Youth Challenge Program at Camp Minden, presents the “Cadet of the Cycle” Award to Nadia Early. Cadet Early was also a “Top Ten” graduate, was a winner of a National Guard Youth Foundation Scholarship, and was “Best Overall” for Class 11. (Photo by Marilyn Miller)

(PLATOON: a subdivision of a company of soldiers; CADRE: a nucleus or core group especially of trained personnel able to assume control and to train others; CYCLE: 22 weeks, there are two cycles each year at the YCP-Camp Minden; KP: Kitchen Patrol).

By Marilyn Miller

Cadets and staff members at the Youth Challenge Program sponsored by the Louisiana National Guard were honored during the 2023-Cycle 1 Awards Ceremony at Camp Minden on Thursday, July 13, 2023.

In Platoon awards, SFC Jeremy Jackson, commandant, presented the “Platoon of the Cycle Award” to 1st Platoon, stating that “This award is presented to the best platoon in all aspects of cadet life. This includes motivation, determination to be the best, discipline, and overall behavior, no matter which cadre is on duty.” The “Most Improved of the Cycle Award” went to 2nd Platoon.

Supervisory cadre awards went to CPL Na’Jorris Gilbert, “Rookie of the Cycle,” CPL Asyah Laurant, “Cadre of the Cycle,” and CPL Kelsey Smith, “Supervisor of the Cycle.”

The Commandant’s Spirit Award, selected by the senior leadership of the Cadre Dept., was presented to Talyn Hilsher. This award goes to “a cadet who has demonstrated the essence of spirit by their determination, tenacity, and positive outlook while facing challenges and never giving up on their goals.”

The Youth Challenge Program has a promotion system by which cadets are rewarded for their efforts in every aspect of cadet life. The highest rank that can ordinarily be obtained by a cadet is that of four stars. From the ranks of the Four Star cadets, eight outstanding cadets are selected as Five Stars.

The Five Star Cadets for the 2023-1 cycle are Savannah Davis, Nadia Early, Piper Pogue, Kamrynn Pope, Landry Agoff, Landon Basco, Talyn Hilsher, and Connor Shumate. From these cadets, one outstanding cadet was selected as “Cadet of the Cycle.”

The “Cadet of the Cycle” for the 2023-1 cycle of the Camp Minden Youth Challenge Program is Nadia Early.

Platoon recognition went to the following: 1st Platoon: Most Improved – Miaraha Bryant-Jackson; Best Attitude – Savannah Davis; Best Overall – Jayda Landry; 2nd Platoon: Most Improved – Marvin Ross; Best Attitude – Nehemiah Phillips; Best Overall – Landon Guidry; 3rd Platoon: Most Improved – Avontae Weston and Jordan Barrilleaux; Best Attitude – Landry Agoff; Best Overall – Landon Basco.

The National Guard YCP Elite Physical Fitness Award is presented to fewer than 15 percent of students in the nation. Class 2023-1 has two cadets who are eligible to receive this award, Miaraha Bryant-Jackson and Michael Clinton.

Recognized for performing duty on the color guard were Dontavon Bartie, Landon Basco, Cameron Migues, Nehemiah Phillips, and Logan Toups.

Recognized for “Personal Growth” in the Counseling Dept. were Mya Stewart, Tristen Hernandez, Kaden Keppler, Jeremiah Dixon, Brandon Johnson, Marvin Ross, Colby Mott, Rob’Tavious Darby, Daden Phinnisee, Noah Lawson, Jayda Fontenot, and Landry Agoff.

Selected to attend a future class of the Job Challenge Program (JCP) were Landry Agoff, Landon Basco, Jay’Vonta Clark, Michael Clinton, Logan Cormier, Joshua Cotham, Kristopher Crowe, Jaiah Delcambre, Braxton Dietrich, Jada Fontenot, Emma Gunter, Tristen Hernandez, Talyn Hilsher, Jontavius Lair, Wesley McGee, Cameron Migues, Ayden Moore, Korbin Olivier, Jackson Palmisano, Caden Phinnisee, Piper Pogue, Marvin Ross, Justin Steger, Landon Toups, Avontae Weston, Lorenzo Whitlock, and Jayce Young.

This year, the National Guard Youth Foundation Scholarships ($1,000) went to Justin Steger, Brayden Edgecombe, Connor Shumate, Landon Basco, Rebecca Galvan, Nadia Early, Emma Gunter, Piper Pogue, Cameron Migues, Jontavius Lair.

Case managers in the Post Residential Dept. chose the following to be recognized as “Outstanding Cadet” in their different classes: Class 2 – Kaden Keppler; Class 3 – Talyn Hilsher and Landon Guidry; Class 4 – Justin Steger; Class 5 – Connor Shumate and Lorenzo Whitlock; Class 6 – Landoon Basco; Class 7 – Cameron Migues; Class 9 – Jayda Landry; Class 10 – Kyra Stewart and Class 11 – Falyn Cupit.

Class awards went to: Class 2 – Most Improved, Dakota Berry; Best Attitude, Kaden Kepper; Best Overall, Brayden Edgecombe; Class 3 – Most Improved, Landon Guidry; Best Attitude, Tristin Hernandez; Best Overall, Talyn Hilsher; Class 4 – Most Improved, Aliday Miller; Best Attitude, Avontae Weston; Best Overall, Korbin Olivier; Class 5 – Most Improved, Gailyn Battaglia; Best Attitude, Demitrice Rideau; Best Overall, Nathaniel Godsey; Class 6 – Most Improved, Justin Vienne; Best Attitude, Landry Agoff; Best Overall, Landon Basco.

Also, Class 7 – Branson Johnson, Most Improved; Braxton Dietrich, Best Attitude; Best Overall, Cameron Migues; Class 9 – Most Improved, Jayda Landry; Best Attitude, Jada Fontenot; Best Overall, Jaiah Delcambre; Class 10 – Missy Hudson, Most Improved; Savannah Davis, Best Attitude; Piper Pogue, Best Overall; Class 11 – Mya Patterson, Most Improved; Falynn Cupit, Best Attitude; Nadia Early, Best Overall.

First place in AR participation went to Korbin Olivier with 380.5 points. Wesley McGee was runner-up with 377.8 points. Rounding out the Top 10 were Justin Vienne, Connor Shumate, Michael Massey, Emma Gunter, Rebecca Galvan, Lorenzo Whitlock, Jayce Young, and Jordan Barrilleaux.

The Academic Top 10 were Valedictorian Connor Shumate, Salutatorian Wesley McGee, Michael Massey, Piper Pogue, Jaiah Delcambe, Nadia Early, Luke Mougeout, Logan Toups, Emma Gunter, and Lorenzo Whitlock.

SFC Craig Sanders presented the Community Service Awards, telling the cadets that “Your class completed 5,001 community service hours. As a group you have given back $50,100.00 of services to our community. Sanders recognized Cadets Landon Basco and Talyn Hilsher for being “selfless and outstanding” in community service.

First Platoon was recognized for being “KP Platoon of the Cycle” for 2023-1. The “KP’s of the Cycle” are Kelsey Fuentes, Rebecca Galvan and Nicholas Barker. And Mya Patterson was recognized for being the “Most Improved KP of the Cycle.”

Russell Johnston was awarded the “Employee of the Cycle” Award for 2023-1 by YCP Director Starla Townsend and Deputy Director Logan Filecci.

Russell Johnston (center) was presented with the “Employee of the Cycle” Award at the 2023-1 Youth Challenge Program Awards Ceremony on Thursday, July 13 at Camp Minden. The presentation was made by YCP Director Starla Townsend and Deputy Director Maj. Logan Fileccia. (Photo by Marilyn Miller)