All- Academy Balls

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by buff81, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. buff81

    buff81 Moderator

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    Would love to hear insight from those that attended their All Academy Ball.

    The good - the bad
    what you liked - what you would change
    good turn out - poor turn out
    did your cadet/mid want to go or did they go b/c parents wanted them to go
    was the date of Ball a good date - would you prefer the date at another time
    who was the speaker
    was the cost of the ticket reasonable - did the Ball Committee pay for your cadet/mid
    what entertainment did you have? DJ - Band- casino - silent auction
    Photographer?
    Venue
    did you have a good time - did your cadet/mid have a good time
    what did you think was special - POW/MIA table, lead out, dancing with your cadet/mid, evening out with spouse/cadet/mid, speaker etc.


    For those that chose not to attend - what were the reasons for not going?
    Cadet/mid didn't want to go- mom/dad didn't want to go - cost - date of Ball - distance needed to travel to attend the Ball etc

    What I am most curious about this year is considering that USNA, USMA and USAFA all went to Bowl games, do you think that that had a direct impact on the attendance?

    Thanks for any input. :thumb:
     
  2. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    I will start off the "Cadet did not want to attend" group......

    My cadet did not want to bring the dress uniform home because he does not check luggage when he flies and only carries a small duffle bag and his backpack. Our AAB alternates sites each year and this year's location was some distance from home and would have meant a long drive home late at night. Next year's AAB will involve an overnight stay. The date of the AAB was the day after Christmas and that conflicted with visiting family in from out of town. However, I think his main reason was he was ready for a break from West Point.

    Mom and Dad had no interest in going because the cadet was home and as well as our college junior. Christmas break is a tough time to schedule things that aren't family-related in our home.
     
  3. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

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  4. Lee2015

    Lee2015 USMA & USNA Mom

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    Can you please tell me what the All Academy Ball is? Thank you.
     
  5. jennyp

    jennyp Parent

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    singaporemom: I am jealouos. I would like to go some time, but mid son has NO interest. Says they have to dress up and strut around enough.

    Did you get the marshmallow guns for Christmas?

    Lee: All Academy Balls are often held during the holidays for cadets, mids, etc at the five service academies.....and may include ROTC college students as well. A formal ball for the mids, cadets, etc and their families. They are hosted by parent clubs.
     
  6. DevilDog

    DevilDog Member

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    Our son did not have a Ball to go to. Our Parents Group does not host an AAB. It would be nice if our Cadets/Mids get invited to a neighboring state's AAB. I am going to work on that this year.
     
  7. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

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    Yes, we had a nice time. left an hour early, since we were starting to get tired, but a surprisingly nice evening.

    Jennyp - we had a fantastic marshmallow war!

    I don't know how to attach a picture of the kids... so here is link to page
    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=16248371&l=01fa5f8313&id=857705503

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=16248377&l=318111ee50&id=857705503

    navy son had a team of 4 with blue camo VS army son with a team of 4 with green camo. Marshmallow gun tip: Use jetPuffed marshmallows, they don't gum up the works. If your cheap brand marshmallows do get sticky they may be lobbed as grenades.
     
  8. laxmom4boys

    laxmom4boys Member

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    We (son/gf, husband, & I) were very excited to attend our 1st AAB. However, ours was cancelled due to bad weather. We were disapointed that there was no "rain/snow date" scheduled (probably due to the fact the venue was booked for other functions). We know that we'll have 3 more Balls in which we can attend, but I feel bad for all those 1/c Cadets/Mids & their families that were looking forward to their last AAB. Although we did not attend ours, I do have a few comments
    1. My son was really looking forward to attending. DS/GF had the opportunity to attend the USCGA Winter Formal and were excited to share the experience of a Military Ball with us.
    2.Ticket price was reasonable ($60/person, $35/Cadet/Mid) - the cmte is looking into getting us some sort of refund :smile:
    3. Hoping a rain/snow date would be made available for future years.

    The dress/shoes are put away till next year, and we'll be even more excited to attend the 2011 AAB!

    Proud Mom
    USCGA 2014
     
  9. buff81

    buff81 Moderator

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    DevilDog - sent you a PM.
     
  10. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    Wisconsin held their All-Academies Ball on December 30, 2010 at the Country Springs Resort near Milwaukee. This year it was hosted by USNA. The three larger Academies rotate hosting it every year. The speaker for the night was CDR Craig Walker, USN, although he gave a fairly short speech and gave most of the time before dinner over to each of the cadets/midshipmen introducing themselves and their hometown. There were approximately 95 cadets/midshipmen present plus family, guests, and friends. It was about the same turn-out that we have had in other years.

    The cost was $60 per person, with cadets and midshipmen free. It included dinner, entertainment and a dessert bar throughout the evening. There was a photographer present, who they had set up in a side alcove, but very visible. You could have pictures taken in any combination of guests, and the pictures are available online for purchase if you want them.

    We have attended all 4 balls since our cadet has been at USAFA, and I don't think he (or us) would ever consider missing one. The POW/MIA ceremony and the opening of the mess were held before dinner started. Our cadet was asked this year to represent USAFA for the toasts before dinner, and it was a great time. After 3 years of looking at those firsties in their mess dress and the shoulderboards with all the bars and stars, it was nice to have ours be top dog. Dinner was wonderful. It was a choice of prime rib, chicken Kiev, flounder, or vegetarian. Our son's date (his girlfriend) was as lovely as ever, and we really enjoyed having her with us in Wisconsin for part of the Holidays.

    After dinner there was a DJ for dancing in the main hall, and there was a casino night set up in the next hall. Each cadet/midshipman received a packet with a letter thanking them for their service, two drink coupons, a certificate for $100 in chips, and a crisp $100 bill. The chips could be used to play the casino games, and at the end of the night, the cadets/midshipmen turned in their chips for tickets that could be entered in a bucket raffle for gift cards. Our cadet won a $50 Kohls gift card. The $100 bill was theirs to keep. The DJ played some great music that appealed to everyone (maybe not all at the same time!)

    I got to meet KPDramamama from the KP side of this forum, and we all had a very good time.

    Stealth_81
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2011
    RogersCO'19 likes this.
  11. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    Not "All Academy" but daughter attended Marine Corps Birthday Ball in Beijing on November 20th. All services represented and all had a great time. No uniforms for MIDS as it was not allowed that they bring uniforms to China. Nice dresses though.
     
  12. WAMom68

    WAMom68 Founding Member

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    WA State All Service Academies Ball held Dec. 26th, 6 pm to midnight, at the Seattle Sheraton. This year it was hosted by the West Point Parents Club. This is the second one I have attended; the first was also hosted by the West Point Parents and was 3 years ago. I liked the venue, the food was excellent, and I enjoyed the speaker. Changes would include setting up a larger dance floor since it was a bit crowded. I would also ask the photographer to have his assistant take more candid shots; she only captured a tiny fraction of the people attending.

    We had a good turnout, between 325 and 350. As far as cadet/mid turnout approximate numbers were: 30 USMA, 12 USAFA, 15 USNA, 5 USCGA and 5 USMMA.

    Cadet went because I asked him to. We had such fun at the one when he was a plebe that I wanted to experience one more with him as a Firstie. Plus I felt obligated to attend since I’m on the board for our parents club and I wasn’t about to go without my cadet.

    I would have preferred a different date but I realize the ball committee did not have any better choice during the two week leave period for cadets and mids. My husband and I were lucky, we had requested the week between Christmas and New Year’s off so having it on a Sunday night was okay. I noticed more people left early than the last time I attended.

    Col. James Wilhite, USAR (ret.) who helped found the military academy in Afghanistan. My family really enjoyed him because he was funny, personable, and didn’t talk too long. The USMA parents will appreciate this – he says they call him the “Thayer” of Afghanistan. His book about the experience is “We Answered the Call, Building the Crown Jewel of Afghanistan.”
    http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-61566-779-6

    Cadets/Mids = $65, all others = $75
    The cost was a bit high but it has been the same for the past 4+ years so I knew what to expect. Fundraising was difficult this past year. Had we received more donations we may have been able to refund part or all of the fee charged for the cadets/mids.

    DJ only. I wish they could have raffled off prizes for the cadets and mids like we did the last time we hosted. We had some great things donated from local businesses and sports teams.

    He took formal photos beginning at 5 p.m and continued throughout until 11 p.m. His assistant took some candid shots but my one complaint about the event was that she didn’t take enough, it was only about 100. When we attended 3 years ago there were 400-500 candids taken.

    Seattle Sheraton was good venue. The ballroom and pre-function area were beautiful. Had 3 small bars set up for the cocktail hour so the lines were never very long. Plus, when our committee booked the event the hotel set aside a block of rooms for a special reduced rate for those attending. We got a very nice 4-star hotel room for $99. It was great to just go the room instead of having to drive home after the ball.

    We all had a good time but I would have liked to stay a bit longer than we did (that was my husband’s fault…the party pooper :wink:).

    Favorite/special things about the evening:
    -first dance with cadet
    -guest speaker
    -prior to dinner all cadets/mids came up front in their academy groups, handed a microphone, and told their name, class year, major or intended major, branch or intended branch.
    -seeing everyone, but especially the cadets and mids, dressed up.

    Due to the distance between our state and the bowl locations, I don’t think the bowl games had any impact on our attendance.
     
  13. DevilDog

    DevilDog Member

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    The way Kohls operates, that gift card could be worth a lot! Sounds like a great time.
     
  14. BruceRTalbot

    BruceRTalbot Member

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  15. BruceRTalbot

    BruceRTalbot Member

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  16. buff81

    buff81 Moderator

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    Thanks everyone for the replies! Wow - great information!
    Looks like there are some awesome AABs around the country.

    I have one more question.
    How are your AABs funded?
    I know that the tickets don't cover the costs. Do y'all have corporate sponsors? Did funding come from the host club? Those with Silent Auctions, did that help cover some costs? We looked into doing a casino but that is expensive. How did y'all with casinos cover that cost especially since there is no $$ being bet.

    BruceRTalbot - thanks for the pics! That is a great way to show some of the new parents on here what an AAB is like. Sent you a PM.

    Still love to hear from more about their AABs!
    Thanks again! :thumb:
     
  17. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    The fundraising for the ball in Wisconsin is done by each individual Academy's Parents Association. It is truly a continuous activity. We have been on the board for WAFAPA (the Air Force Parents) for three years, and we work on funding for our turn to host the ball for the full 3 years between balls that we host. Wisconsin is lucky to have some major manufacturers who help support with large donations. Also, companies like Kohls and Best Buy are great supporters with donations of gift cards. However, a lot of the money for the ball is raised by our parents going around their hometowns and asking small businesses. The grocery stores, doctors offices, hardware stores, computer stores...you name it, and most of the time they are happy to support the effort once they know about it.

    Stealth_81
     
  18. jbowman55

    jbowman55 USNA Parent 2014

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    We attended the Texas Gulf Coast AAB, as did SingaporeMom. Fundraising for that ball included the sale of sets of wineglasses engraved with the various academy crests (4 for $60) and $20 raffle tickets for three big prizes -- 2 different weekend stays in Galveston ($800 each) and a gorgeous quilt (priceless). < I won nothing.:frown:

    One of the USNA Parents Club's biggest fundraisers is when we are fortunate to have a Navy football game in the area and have a tailgate function. Downside is: Navy won't be back in the Houston area before 2016. The work and expense of the ball is rotated between the USNA, USMA and USAFA Parents Clubs. I know USNA is responsible again in 2012, and committees are being set up now.

    We (including plebe daughter) enjoyed the ball and expect to enjoy it even more next year.

    Photography vendor was pretty reasonably priced. $35 for 2-5x7s plus an 8x10 of the USNA contingent.

    The venue was terrific for us. We don't live in the metro area so any site would likely be an overnight for us.

    The ball is always on December 26 and I think a firm, consistent date is the best way to go. That way, one knows what to plan for well in advance.

    Seems to have worked out ok with the bowl games but you can't predict that. AF and Army both played relatively close to "home" (meaning Houston area) this year and Navy's game was before Christmas. The ball was very full--probably 90 tables with 10 at each. There were some tables with one seat open but not a lot of room.

    We purchased a ticket for our mid but she received a very nice gift of about $250 in cash and gift cards. And free soft drinks at the reception before dinner.

    Special: march-in by academy; this was our first exposure to the toasts and the POW-MIA table--very moving; mid/cadet-parent dance, very nice evening out with spouse, mid and friends.

    Biggest negative was the dance floor was much too small, especially for the mid/cadet-parent dance. In planning, you should assume that every mid/cadet will be participating in this. If a larger dance floor is not an option, maybe go by class year.

    We enjoyed it and feel that we are creeping closer to being a military family.
     
  19. candidsmom

    candidsmom Member

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    Our Plebe was at the Pointsettia Bowl instead of the AAB....the holidays were definitely over booked for us....
     
  20. rockymtn-usmma

    rockymtn-usmma New Member

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    Just attended the first committee meeting for the CASAB 2011. Our Ball 2010 was on Dec 27, and again at the Broadmoor Resort in Coloradao Spring, an excellent place to spend a couple of days during the holidays. The USMA hosted this year. Attendence was down in general - perhaps because of the USAFA being in the Independence Bowl that afternoon. The USAFA has a hard time getting cadets to attend because they live in Colorado Springs and don't want to spend the holidays there. The USMMA had an increase in attendence in part due to two families of 1st classmen that brought over a dozen family members each - it is a real family affair. My midshipman could not attend because of her sea year duties but Mom, Dad and Grandma went and had a great time. Next year she will join us. I worked on the committee this year and enjoyed meeting parents from the other academies. The ball is such a wonderful evening paying tribute to our excellent sons and daughters who have chosen a different path with some serious obligations for their futures.
     

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