Great Article - Sponsors Honored

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by cajost, May 28, 2014.

  1. cajost

    cajost Member

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  2. Blondie1

    Blondie1 Member

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    Thank you for sharing. Hope my plebe-to-be gets them or someone like them for a sponsor! I have heard sponsor families can make or break plebe year!
     
  3. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    I'm happy to say this nice story is more the norm than the exception. There are many long-time sponsor families in the area. We take 4 plebes every year, and have done so since 1996 - we are now enjoying watching those early crops head for command of their destroyers, or receive promotions in the management ranks of civilian corporations, or expand their families and come into full bloom wherever their journey has taken them. Sometimes it's just plain karma and chemistry, and plebes/mids and sponsor families click for a lifelong friendship. Sometimes those officially assigned drift off, but others get "adopted" in. There are many styles of sponsoring - and many mids don't find the program of interest at all - but for those who do, it can be mutually rewarding. Our approach is not mom-and-dad parenting; they have you for that. We provide mentoring similar to what we received as junior officers from senior officers, and on many occasions, tough love, by asking questions rather than telling them what they should do. Add in home-cooked meals, plenty of ice cream, dogs to play with, sofas to snooze on and quiet rooms for homework, and it makes a nice escape from Bancroft Hall. As can be predicted, we see the plebes a lot more than the upper class, who are out on weekends doing what young people should be doing, but who still roll in with a laundry bag on Sunday afternoons and looking for leftovers.

    What is fun for us is the number of siblings we have sponsored - we have had 4 sisters from the same family, twin sisters, and assorted other combinations, and we have requested the younger sister in '18 of one who just graduated last Friday. It has brought new friends and "sponsor in-laws" into our lives from all over the country. We see our alumni sponsor family at weddings, reunions and all over the country when we travel.

    There is usually a "Sponsor Social" the Sunday afternoon before PPW, when the sponsors come into Alumni Hall for a meet-and-greet with their assigned plebes.

    Down the road, if you hear from your plebe that it just didn't work out with their assigned sponsor, they can always request reassignment, or drift along with roommates and friends, and they often are adopted. They will figure it out. For '14, we had 4 original assigned mids, plus 2 friends who just fit right in.

    Feel free to PM me about sponsor program questions, and I'll answer based on our experience.
     
  4. nsbUSNA

    nsbUSNA Member

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    Out of curiosity how does the sponsor selection work? Do the plebes just say "yeah I like that family," or are they assigned?


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  5. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Plebes must request a sponsor; various opportunities are given to submit the form. I haven't seen this year's form, so I am not sure what options they are given in terms of special requests. I do know there is a place to request a specific sponsor. Sponsor families fill out a form online and also agree to a basic background check. We can ask for up to 4 plebes, and can make other requests such as a specific sport or gender. We can also request a specific plebe.




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  6. Vista123

    Vista123 Member

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    My plebe knew his sponsor before arriving. They had never been a sponsor before and volunteered to go through the training and become his sponsor parents. They also have another sponsor who is my mid's "sponsor brother"


    I can only refer to them as a blessing. They are kind and wonderful and giving and special.

    1. They are a home away from home on the odd days he can leave. He lays on their couch with headphones on and sleeps for hours, and get to play with their dog (my son is a dog lover).
    2. They go to DS' games (his games typically START at 10:30 AT NIGHT and end after MIDNIGHT. The only people in the stands are them and a few other super sponsor parents. My mid's sponsor parents hold up big posters announcing them as his #1 fans (even when my mid isnt even playing in that game)
    3. They drive him and a truck full of his co mates to and from the airport over every single holiday (and spring break). On the way home, whoever is in the car they take to dinner.
    4. when my mid got injured at practice and had to be taken to Bethesda they checked in on him after I had to leave to go back home.
    5. On the way home from christmas his sports gear got lost by the airlines. They repeatedly drove back and forth to the airport and finally physically searched a storage room, found it and hand delivered it to my son's locker room.
    6. I stay with them when I visit.


    This is the most illuminating story though: after Herndon the ‘sponsor mom’ (and I) went to pick up my son and his ‘sponsor brother’. My son had his phone…The ‘sponsor brother’ had ALL of his gear, and I mean all. No one said a word, all of the gear was quietly packed into the sponsor mom’s little convertible. We started to drive to the sponsor mom’s house. The ‘sponsor mom’ quietly asked the ‘sponsor brother’ if he was leaving. The ‘sponsor brother’ said yes he was quitting and USNA purchased a ticket for him to fly home, but his family wont let him come home or take any more of his calls, and he had no place to go. There was talk of sleeping in an airport. He had a paid summer internship lined up and a college to go to (full ride) in the fall. Both in different parts of the country, with no family support , no civilian clothes and only the money he’d earned while there. The sponsor mom and dad powwowed with him and they came up with a workable plan (that did not involve sleeping in an airport). They encouraged him to make peace with his family. The sponsor family let him stay with them until his summer internship started. They supported him in making arrangements to get to his summer internship in another area of the country and then brain stormed ways to get to his college across the country. And they hugged him a lot.

    My point is that are here for your mid, even when things are rough, not just to wear a sponsor t-shirt.
     
  7. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Yep. Some tough situations there. We had a plebe who was academically dropped, and was staying with us, just while he was doing separation admin, we thought. His mom called us to ask if we knew what ship her son was on fir,


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  8. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Phone burp. Sorry. Plebe hadn't told parents anything. We called USNA chaplain, who came to the house and helped him make that call. Many, many difficult family situations over the years where we have provided a neutral corner.


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  9. cajost

    cajost Member

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    These stories make me wish I lived in Annapolis so I could be a sponsor.

    Our house is "the house" that all the kids come to. On any given night, there are at least 3 additional teenagers. I've had many deep conversations with my "adopted" kids at my kitchen table. We've got one of them living with us now because her family - let just say isn't great. She just graduated and has scholarships that cover over half of her costs at school. Great work ethic. She just needed a "parent." She has to tell us where, when, who, etc. and actually loves the structure of it all.

    My daughter talked about the sponsor program after her official visit and seems really excited about it.

    Anyway, I think it is great program, great opportunity for the Mids, households, and the community.
     
  10. bowhunter

    bowhunter Member

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    Sponsor Family was a God send!

    DS had ACL surgery during Plebe year. Sponsors let him recover at their home and treated him as one of their own. Living half-way across the country, I can not tell your how much this kind act was appreciated. We can never repay them for their generosity!
     

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