For cadets at the Wisconsin Challenge Academy, the last five months have been about building character and resiliency.
“We’re a program that provides an opportunity for at-risk youth in the ages of 16 years to 18 years old. An opportunity to develop the skills to change their path in life,” said Wisconsin Challenge Academy Director Kevin Greenwood.
But Tuesday the cadets got to learn about those skills with some Green Bay Packers.
For more than a decade, the Packers have sent players and team representatives to the academy to spend some time at the facility.
For the 88 cadets, Tuesday’s visit showed them that no matter the situation they will face in life, they can still thrive.
“To hear everyone else’s experience it makes us realize that what they’re saying is really meaningful. That we’re not alone and everyone else goes through the same things. That’s like a role model in a way, they made it through so can we. We have hope, it gives us hope,” said Cadet Lilit Ortega.
For the Packers, the day spent eating, visiting the barracks and, of course, the weight room was also an experience that impacted them as well.
“A lot of similarities in just our life, in our structure and what we do and we work hard and everything like that. Just to see what they go through and to relate certain situations we’ve had in life and to persevere and to really trust yourself I think was a very important part of the day,” said Packers Defensive End Dean Lowry.
During the visit, the players spoke to the cadets about their experiences and answered questions, with a lasting message of love what you do.
“I plan on going to the army to become a military police officer. I just love the structure and routine here, the military standards here is why I want to carry on. That’s my motivation right there,” said Ortega.
Graduation for the 88 cadets in the Wisconsin Challenge Academy is Dec. 15.