CAMP SHELBY, MS (WDAM) - A graduate of the Mississippi National Guard's Youth Challenge Program who is now a decorated Army officer has returned to Hattiesburg to help encourage current Youth Challenge cadets to work hard and change their lives.
Iraqi War veteran Maj. Nayari Cameron, 40, of Spring Hill, Mississippi, was president of Class Two of Youth Challenge in 1995. He said the program had a huge impact on his life and he wants the same for the cadets in Class 44.
Youth Challenge is a 22-week, military-style course for drop-outs seeking a second chance at getting an education.
"My main concern is to let (the cadets) know that they can write their own chapter," Cameron said. "Their life is a book. Just because you have a hard time now, let's go to the next chapter, let's make that next chapter better than the chapter you're living right now."
Cameron is currently stationed at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. He has been in the Army for 20 years and has been on active-duty for the last 14 years.
"His life was changed by coming to this program," said Lt. Col. William H. King, IV, director of the Youth Challenge Academy. "Anytime we have graduates that want to come back and talk to these men and women, we encourage that."
Class 44 is currently in the 10th week of the course. The cadets will graduate in June.