BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - On Friday, Mar. 15, Baton Rouge rapper, Kevin Gates, visited the Louisiana National Guard Youth Challenge Program (YCP). Gates is a former cadet and attended the program in 2002 in the 4th Platoon Wolfpack.
At the event, Gates spoke fondly of his former cadre, Commander Sergeant Major Dennis Sapp, saying, “You were hard on me, but you believed in me. Now that I look back, I appreciate everything that this program did for me. It gave me determination; it gave me hard work ethic. It also taught me respect.”
As the guest speaker, Gates addressed cadets and spoke about how his time in the program helped him develop.
“YCP was one of the best life changing experiences for me. I really started to see myself develop. It took me away from the environment I was in and taught me teamwork and team-building skills. It taught me leadership skills and determination. With these skills there is nothing in life that you can’t overcome," Gates said.
He also gave praise to cadets for having the determination to stay in the program and urged them to continue to build on the progress they’ve made during their time.
“Un-catch yourself and do the right thing. You already took the first step by being in this program," he said.
After speaking, Gates was presented with a YCP Leadership Coin by Colonel Michael Borrel, director of educational programs for the Louisiana National Guard.
“This coin is presented to someone who has done excellent in life and has given back and made an impact to the Youth Challenge Program,” Borrel said.
The goal of YCP is to intervene in and reclaim the lives of 16 to 18-year-olds to produce program graduates with values, life skills, education, and self discipline. For more information, call 1-800-CAMP-KID or find the program on Facebook. The program is free.