New commander at WI Challenge Academy - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

New commander at WI Challenge Academy

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Mike Murphy, Director WI Challenge Academy Mike Murphy, Director WI Challenge Academy

FORT McCOY, Wisconsin (WXOW) - The Wisconsin National Guard Challenge Academy has a new director.

Mike Murphy, a Lt. Colonel in the WI Army National Guard, started his new position on Monday.

He most recently worked as a unit manager with the Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center in Mauston.

Murphy, from Elroy, has plenty of experience working with at-risk youth.  He helped establish the Youth Leadership Training Center at Camp Williams, which was a state-run juvenile boot camp. 

Although the Youth Leadership Training Center was strictly for adjudicated males from Lincoln Hills School and Ethan Allen, there are similarities to the Challenge Academy program, a voluntary program which offers at-risk youth the opportunity to change their lives. However, Challenge Academy applicants must not be currently charged with or previously convicted of a felony and must not be on adult parole or probation.

Before taking over as director, Murphy assisted with the Challenge Academy for the first two weeks of each new class.

"I've always believed in the program," he said, adding that he has gotten to know the Wisconsin Challenge Academy staff and is aware of the program's reputation. "I thought I'd want to work there if the chance ever arose."

"I'm excited to get started," Murphy said.  "I hope I can be a good leader for the program."

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