Youth Challenge Academy continues under new leadership

Published: Nov. 12, 2014 at 6:50 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 12, 2014 at 7:08 PM CST
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CAMP SHELBY, MS (WDAM) - Camp Shelby's Youth Challenge Academy is under new leadership, and the recently named director and deputy director both believe the way to achieve success in the program is to build positive relationships.

“I want to project a positive image of this program,” said YCA director Lieutenant Colonel William H. King IV. “There's a lot of good young men and women here.”

King, who is joined by the new deputy director Lt. Col. Rickey T. Hosey, has been in the Army National Guard for nearly 30 years. He said serving in the director position has been a dream of his since he studied under the academy's original director, Dr. William Larry Crowson.

“He intrigued me,” said King. “Knowing that he was the first director here, I kind of looked to pattern myself after him to some degree.”

The YCA made headlines in September

a facility on the Forrest County Agricultural High School campus. Those cadets were part of a group of 27 that “walked off” from the program, according to Forrest County Sheriff Billy McGee.

In a separate June incident, a civilian employee who was the

by agents of the State Auditor's office for allegedly stealing more than $100,000 worth of food from the YCA to use in his Hattiesburg restaurant.

Camp Shelby's communications director Major Deidre Smith said last month that

were not related to the arrest of the dining facility manager; however she did not say whether their release had to do with other recent issues within the program.

King said he took over the position as YCA Director four weeks ago, and he hopes that he and Col. Hosey will continue to be positive influences in the young men and women's lives in order to foster an environment where the cadets will succeed.

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