Thunderbird Youth Academy Opens First Girls' Barracks

Saturday, December 15th 2012, 7:52 pm
By: Tess Maune

An Oklahoma academy for at-risk teens is getting some major renovations.

The Thunderbird Youth Academy in Pryor, where their first girls' barracks is now open.

Right now, girls make up less than 10 percent of the cadets on campus. The hope this new barracks will bring in more females, but it's also the first step in renewing the campus as a whole.

The Thunderbird Youth Academy is a place where teens with a history of getting in to trouble, can get back on track.

"We save so many young men and women that have lost their way," Thunderbird Youth Academy Foundation President Ged Wright said. "They just need a second chance and we give them a second chance."

Cassie Jones is ready to make good on her second chance at life.

"I did not want to come here at all, and now, I'm so excited," she said. "I don't want to leave."

There's one thing Jones didn't mind leaving -- the barracks that's been her home for the past five-and-half months.

As with most of the buildings on campus, it's old and outdated.

Some buildings there go back to the turn of the century.

"Obviously, they make the best out of a bad situation, and we still use them," U.S. Army National Guard Maj. Gen. Myles Deering said.

But not anymore, for the girls, anyway.

Starting in the spring, the Thunderbird Youth Academy will kick off an $8-millon revitalization campaign -- $500,000 of which is funded by Obama Administration stimulus money.