This is a FREE program.
YES. Students should turn 16 before the end of the residential phase and cannot turn 19 before the start of the class. Classes start twice a year in the middle of January and July and end in the middle of June and December.
17 1/2 Months total – 22 week (5 1/2 months) Residential Phase followed by the 12 month Post-Residential follow up program with a mentor after graduation.
YES. There are some mandatory weekend passes where cadets are checked out by parent(s)/guardian(s) for the weekend.
NO. There are some mandatory weekend passes where cadets are checked out by parent(s)/guardian(s) for the weekend. However, cadets are allowed to receive mail and we encourage frequent, positive mail from family and friends.
NO. It is the parent/legal guardian’s responsibility to pick up their cadet or make arrangements for someone else to pick up their cadet during mandatory passes.
YES. After completing the Thunderbird Challenge Program cadets can return to high school after completing Thunderbird Youth Academy, although it will be at the high school's discretion whether or not to accept the graduate.
Qualified students will have the opportunity to earn high school credit, obtain their GED and earn college credits and concurrent enrollment through the Northeast Technology Center in Pryor, OK. TCP offers an online high school credit recovery program. Each graduating Cadet will earn 3 credits that will transfer back to their high school along with the potential to earn additional credits. Students can also participate in the academy’s job shadowing programs, observing and interning in different career fields to gather ideas for future employment.
YES. Thunderbird Youth Academy has a nursing staff on call 24 hrs. It is the mission of health services to keep your cadet healthy and moving throughout the program.
NO. Although we are a National Guard program no youth will be pressured or suggested to enlist in any branch of the military. Historically only about 10% of Thunderbird graduates decide to join the military, most seek continued education or enter the workforce.
YES. Qualified applicants can be on probation, but only for juvenile offenses. Applicants cannot have future court hearings that take place during the residential phase of the program. You may be able to work out an arrangement with the D.A., Judge, or Juvenile Services Worker. They are familiar with our program, but that is strictly between you and the court system. Please contact the RPM Manager for clarification.
NO. All future court dates must be passed until after the youth completes the residential phase of the program (22 weeks). No cadet will be allowed to return to the academy if he/she leaves to attend court.
NO. The program is tobacco, drug & alcohol free.
YES. Random drug testing will be performed at the Academy’s discretion. The program is tobacco, drug & alcohol free.
YES. Each Cadet will be issued uniform clothing which they will be required to wear.
NO. Cadets cannot have cell phones or other electronics while attending the Academy although there may be leniency on other electronic devices such as an IPOD but the cadet must earn that privilege.