Explore and expand your limits . . .

Thank you for your interest in the Challenger Sierra 2024. This program is for young adults ages 18-32 (must be a high-school graduate) and will be held in the Emigrant Wilderness in California. Below you will find an overview of the application process, requirements and deadlines, followed by the initial application form. Please read this carefully, as it is significantly different from applications for United Youth Camp or other young adult activities. While we have specific deadlines listed below, we strongly encourage anyone who is interested in Challenger Sierra 2024 to apply as soon as practically possible. This is due to the limited number of participants we can accept (12) and the necessary advanced preparation.

Application Phase 1: Items due by May 9, 2024

  • The form below constitutes your official application. Everything must be filled-out and included.
  • Please be aware of the commitment to preparation that will part of the consideration and acceptance.

Application Phase 2: Interviews and acceptance by June 2, 2024

  • Zoom/Teams call to meet with the director and learn about your interest in the program.
  • Notification of Acceptances will be sent by June 2, 2024 (or sooner, if possible).  
  • Acceptances will contingent upon commitment to fulfilling the requirements below.
  • Please download, fill out and email the Participant Waiver form, found on this page.

Application Phase 3: Items due by June 16, 2024

  • 30-minute run test how far can you run in 30 minutes, without stopping. Target distance: 2.5–4.0 miles.
  • Please simply email/text the distance to Scott McKeon.
  • The completed Health Form, including physical exam (4 pages).
  • Affirmation that you will complete the required reading.  (Book title will be shared upon acceptance).

You are welcome to contact Scott McKeon at any time with questions, via text, call or email. 

We look forward to receiving your application and hope you can join us for the Challenger Sierra 2024!

Challenger Packing List 2024.docx

Challenger Conditioning Guide 2024.docx

Health Form 2024.pdf

Director: Scott McKeon    (480) 229-2306  s[email protected]

27029 N. 44th Street, Cave Creek, AZ 85331

Please read the Challenger Sierra program description and full details online before completing this application.

Personal Information


If you have served on United Youth Camps staff, a Youth Corps project, or attended a Challenger program, list below the five (5) most recent.

Describe any training, experience or certifications you have that are related to canoeing, camping or other wilderness activities. If this will be your first time on a camping or hiking trip, please indicate.


Please list three non-family references who know you well.

Personal Statements

After reading the program description, please answer the questions below. Answers need to be specific and they need to demonstrate personal reflection on what you want to accomplish in Challenger Sierra, and what you can contribute to it.

1. Describe what you expect from the Challenger Sierra program. What aspects of Challenger Sierra are especially interesting to you?

2. Challenger Sierra is a great opportunity to learn more about yourself, who you want to become and how to make changes. This is important knowledge for individual and group leadership.  

Briefly discuss three (3) characteristics about yourself that you would like to explore / grow in at Challenger Sierra. These can be spiritual in nature, but can address other areas as well.  (Use 2-3 sentences per area.) 

3. Challenger Sierra is not simply a "guided tour" of great scenery. It is an intensive immersion program that is designed to make a difference in all participants. As a result, it requires full participation in an active group dynamic.

Briefly discuss three (3) strengths that you will bring to this program that will help individuals and the group achieve significant results from this adventure. These can be spiritual in nature, but can address other areas as well. (Use 2-3 sentences per strength).

4. Challenger Sierra actually begins before arrival in California. It begins with preparation—reading and physical conditioning.

Briefly describe, providing some detail, about your plan to accomplish the required reading and to be in excellent physical condition for this program.

5. Briefly describe your current work, career or student status, and your plans for the next 3-5 years.

There is a $150 fee to participate in this program.  Participants are expected to provide their own backpack, sleeping bag, ground pad, most food, personal items, fishing gear and license (optional) and meet their own transportation costs.  Tents, cooking gear, dinners and all equipment for cooking are provided by the Challenger Sierra program.

RegFox Event Registration Software