So, my brother has been at Grizzly Youth Academy since July. Its a charter school for kids in their mid-teens that is run by the national guard. Basically, its military school.
Kyle was having a hard time with typical teenage everything at our local high school, and was given this option to get out. Up until the moment he left, I wasn't completely convinced he would choose it. We were all nervous, but when it came down to it, it seemed like a really sweet opportunity if he could stand it. So he gave it a shot.
When I say military school, I mean it. They are up at 0500 every day, running up mountains with 50lb packs strapped to their backs. They march in line. They speak when spoken to... but really, they just don't speak much at all. They work hard all morning, and then work hard some more on school work in the afternoon. They live on base- for 5 whole months- and are allowed one phone call home per week, and are permitted leave twice over the weekend several months in. He can receive letters, and is allowed to write back only with the time remaining after every stitch of academic work is perfected and turned in. On the weekends, they go on education field trips and help out with community service events. They are on an extremely tight schedule.
So I haven't seen or talked to my brother in weeks. The kids and I write him as much as we can, and he mostly writes my parents since his free time is practically non existent. We got one letter from him weeks ago, and he warned us that it was a rare treat. He didn't sound miserable at all in any of the letters I saw, but I miss my brother, and worry about him of course...
So finally this weekend it was September 11th. I never thought it would be a day I'd look forward to... but this year, it meant family day at Grizzly Youth academy. We all got to go and check it out, and spend the entire day watching his platoon's marching demo, meeting his comrades and superiors, and just bbqing and hanging out.
Without knowing exactly what to expect, I just have to say... I was blown away in the best possible sense of the phrase.
Kyle looks so different in all the best ways possible.
He sparkles and shines, and is definitely standing taller than I've ever seen. He's made a couple friends, nice ones!, who introduced themselves... and called me ma'am! He showed us his latest report card... with a bigfat4.0 on it. Not so much as an A-. He has stories that he is proud to share. He marched in line like a man... and out of several hundred kids actually managed to win recognition for his superior level of physical fitness.
I am so proud of my littlest baby brother. To be a part of this at sixteen takes a lot of strength physically and emotionally. I know for a fact I couldn't have done it at his age. He is beyond brave, and even tho he isn't quite half way done, I can tell for certain he will make it, and when he does he will be getting a HUGE return on this investment in his own future.
Love you, little Grizzly Bear Kylie! And I'm SO looking forward to eating your dust at the RockNRoll Phoenix half marathon this January.