I-Day for Parents

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Mikeandcris, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. Mikeandcris

    Mikeandcris Parents of 2014 Grad and F-15 Pilot

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    Look, I see that some of you have discussed how tough BCT will be, and others are chagrined that their summer vacation consists of the five hours between their graduation ceremony and reporting on I-Day and I genuinely feel for you and you have my deepest respect. However, I'm thinking I-Day is going to be extremely tough on us parents. Can someone please explain what parents can do on I-Day? I've seen a number of posts recommending their son/daughter travel alone and stay with a host family the night before. I always assumed parents accompanied their new cadet to I-Day, gave them a teary good bye, watched them get on the bus, held their breath for a minute to make sure the bus didn't stop and allow their child to bail off the bus, then headed to the nearest provider of adult beverages to calm some very frayed nerves. However, in the documentaries mentioned below, I saw a number of parents and family members watching the swearing in, which must be much later in the day. What percentage of cadets arrive with their parent(s) on I-Day and what time are good-byes said? Thanks, Mike
     
  2. buffalo

    buffalo USAFA 2013

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    The swearing in is the morning after I-day. As you mentioned, the goodbyes will take place in the morning of I-day before they go up the stairs in the AOG building.
     
  3. Evader 53

    Evader 53 Member

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    Its really 100% up to you and your cadet to go with them on I-day. Ask your son/daughter what they'd rather have.

    My parents came along with me and it was no problem, emotional for sure, but I preferred them being there. After you drop your cadet off, there are many different groups and parents to talk to. Later on in the day is the swearing in, where you can watch the ceremony.

    All in all, it comes down to you and your future cadet whether or not you go along with them. From what I saw, there were more cadets with parents than not.
     
  4. SAMom

    SAMom Member

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    My son is in his second year of USNA. I day is a special day, but your not with your plebe very long. You get to the yard park you car walk around until report time. Once its time to report you give a hug and and kiss good bye and they are gone for pretty much the rest of the day. We went to a meeting that they had and went walking around when we found out that all the parents were by the mid store trying to get a glimpse of their plebe coming off the buses and getting yelled it it was really kind of fun to see if you could find your son/daughter and most people stayed there or grabbed a chair at the ceremony to save a seat.

    At the end of the day there is ceremony and all 1200 plebes filter in one after the other to take a seat. Everyone trying to take pictures and see there kids! Once the ceremony is over the plebes get a 20 min good bye with their family.One thing I didn't realize is that we had no where to sit on the grass many parents brought chairs or a blanket to set up so they could sit and wait and have a place for there tired, hungry, thirsty plebe. I also didn't have food they which need a little food at that time as well.

    I could write so much more if you have any questions please PM me! I will try to answer them...Good Luck!
     
  5. CadCandMateus

    CadCandMateus Recent Grad

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    If you go to I-day stay until the swearing in ceremony. If you don't just wait until parent's weekend... they'll be in good hands till then.
     
  6. greentrees

    greentrees Member

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    Going / not-going is your choice. Our son preferred to say goodbye to us here at home (well, the airport) and he participated in the AOG's bed & breakfast program where he was picked up at COS airport, housed for the night and then delivered to the Academy the next morning. There were 2 other in-processing cadets with him at the house he stayed at - and they were able to get to know each other a little. I don't know the % but a lot of people do the B&B - it's a good program.
    The Academy's radio station broadcast live all morning from the AOG building so we got to hear the briefing everyone got before they went in the building, and also some interviews with upperclass cadets, Commandant of Cadets, and some others. Later in the day WebGuy (part of the AOG) had pictures up on the AOG Website and so did Cadet Wing Media. Had lots of fun searching pages & pages of photos to find our son (have to admit when I did there were a few tears). If you do go to I-day you'll say goodbye to your son or daughter before they go upstairs at the AOG building -- then get to see them (but not touch them) as they descend and get on the bus. I think that would have been harder on me. After they leave on the bus I guess you could talk to other parents but there isn't any formal tour or anything for the parents.
    The outside swearing-in ceremony isn't until the next morning -- people line up along the Chapel Wall to watch. Saw pictures on WebGuy from that too.
    The bottom line for many is the expense to get to the Academy in June for I-day -- and then again over Labor Day for Parents Weekend -- definitely attend PW!! Ask your son/daughter what they want you to do -- make your decision on what they want you to do -- not what you want. They will go through a lot of different emotions leading up to there arrival at AFA -- don't put extra stress on them if saying goodbye to them at the AOG building will upset them.
     
  7. SAMom

    SAMom Member

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    Parent Weekend is the most important they need to get away from the yard...and sleep!!
     
  8. Gasdoc

    Gasdoc Member

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    We did a 4 day or so family trip before the drop off on I-day. There were a fair number of parents there, once ours boarded the bus we spent a few hours up at the Chapel wall. By chance saw ours a few hours later, head shaved and in BDUs, carrying his duffle bag. To be honest it was our version of shock and awe. But it was an opportunity to meet other parents now sharing something big in common. There was a fair amount of exchange in e-mail addresses etc.

    We were standing by a Mom who had a high power telephoto lens, and her Basic, knowing that his Mom would be using it signed her "I love you" while at standing at attention, rather than having his hand in the usual cupped position. Not many dry eyes as everyone looked at the photograph.
     
  9. PDub

    PDub Prospective

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    My parents didn't come for I-Day, but came out for PW. Buying four roundtrip tickets would not have been the best option for us, and I felt like I was more focused without my parents on I-Day. I must note though, that between the morning of I-Day and the Swearing In Ceremoney, it really felt like a week rather than a day.
     
  10. CadCandMateus

    CadCandMateus Recent Grad

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    the first day is always the hardest.
     
  11. MChansard

    MChansard Member

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    my parents did not come out for inprocessing, but by the end of the summer my mom couldn't really stand it and she came for acceptance day. and then parents weekend. acceptance day was nice because we got a few hours to be at rest and be with our family and friends.
     
  12. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I-day is a day and time of Mixed-emotions. Initially, my son wanted to let the air force pay for a plane ticket for him. Well, after I said that was pretty silly, considering we only live 2 1/2 hours from the academy, I started to realize where he was coming from. When I left for basic training in 1979, I didn't want my parents really taking me anyplace either. Not even to the airport. Instead, I had them take me to the train station, and from there I got to the airport. And I will NEVER forgive myself for that day. As a 17 year old, I knew why I was doing it; but I wasn't considerate of my mom and dad at all. So, any of you heading to the academy, consider your parents, and let them do whatever they want.

    I know I didn't want my parents taking me, because I knew that no matter how TOUGH I thought I was, I would get all emotional and probably break down. Well, that's a pretty small price to pay considering how much it hurt my mom. So; after my son initially said he wanted to fly down, and I mentioned that driving there is only a couple of hours and it didn't make sense to fly, I thought about it and told him what I just said here about my parents and when I left. I could deal with it OK. I spent 21 years in the air force, I'm a guy, and I knew exactly where my son was coming from. It wasn't that he didn't love us or anything; just that he didn't want us to see how hard it was for him too. I explained what it would do to his mom. (Just like I unfortunately did to my mom). He understood and agreed to let us drive him there.

    Mind you all; I understand that not everyone can drive their soon to be cadet to colorado springs. And many can't afford to have the family go there on I-day with them. I'm simply saying that "IF you're a Cadet Reading this"; to let your parents be part of the decision. And CONCEDE to what they want. You'll be able to be on your own soon enough.

    For us; it was the LONGEST, yet SHORTEST 2 1/2 hour drive in our entire lives. I, my wife, my daughter, and our son drove down. And it was about the quietest drive anyone could imagine. What could we say? My son didn't want to hear anything about what was to come. We've already talked about what to expect many times before. Mom and sister didn't know what to say. So it was very quiet. The only icebreaker we had, was the football team had a breakfast for all the new players PRIOR to in-processing. This allowed us a little unwind time in a somewhat neutral environment. We then went to in-processing and stood in the loooooong line. And everyone was quiet. None of the parents nor soon to be cadets knew what to say. But you could tell that they needed each other there. When we finally got inside, we had about a minute or two to say goodbye before he went upstairs. Lot of hugs. Lot of teary eyes. After he went upstairs to start processing, I told my wife and daughter to follow me outside and around back. We eventually was able to see him come outside with others; get some nice historical information from past graduates, and eventually "Walk over the bridge" to his new life. We watched him get on the bus and we finally left.

    So even though there wasn't anything special about the trip, being together as a family was important for that first academy experience. So IF you can follow your son/daughter to the academy; and combine it possibly with a vacation or other trek; then great. You should do it. if you can't, for whatever reason, that's fine. But try to make your son/daughter's send-off a family event, and take them as far as your can. Even if it's only the airport. Which means, giving yourselves plenty of time before they have to go through security and boarding where you can't follow. Maybe go to the food court and have some breakfast or whatever. Maybe walk around and chat. And if you can't take them to I-day; PLEASE, do everything in your power to make it to parent's weekend. Your son/daughter may not say it much or often, but they really need you. Maybe not to do things for them; but to know that you're there supporting their decisions, and there to lean on. Even if they never do it or say it; knowing you're there, just in case, is what they need. So make it to parent's weekend at least. Plus, you'll have a great time there too.

    It's going to be a very stressful day on I-day. So, in the period of time of departure, parents need to let their son/daughter know you'll always be there for them, but don't become a wreck in front of them. They need to feel inside that this is the right decision. On the days right before I-day; ALL LOGIC goes out the window. You are in 100% emotion mode. Both cadets and parents. And you cadets to be; let your parents be part of as much of the process as they can be and want to be. If you don't, you will regret it. I have. It wasn't quite the same as what you'll be doing; but I still should have let my parents be part of it more instead of just saying what I wanted. Best of luck to all of you. Mike...
     
  13. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    We took our guys to the airport and I am embarrassed to say that I bawled my head off in public there, when we said good-bye to them the day before I-Day. One memory which will FOREVER be etched in my mind was seeing my son's hand waving to me through the plane window.

    They flew to Dallas and then onto CO Spr from there. They reported that there were only about 6 people on the plane who were not incoming basics. That was a fun plane ride for them.

    Mine were picked up by their sponsor family (with whom they are still involved), and had a great relaxing day with them. Their Sponsor Dad, a former Colonel, took them to AFA the next morning and gave them a few tips. We are forever grateful to and for this family.

    We did not see them again until parents weekend and I cried my eyes out then too. I can still, so easily, call up that emotion when I first saw those two guys waiting for us. They GREW!
     
  14. ski_mom63

    ski_mom63 Member

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    My husband and I drove our son out to the Academy the day before I Day and spent the night at a hotel. On I Day, we planned to arrive mid morning but our son decided to just go at 8 and get started. My husband and I both teared up as we said goodbye. Once our son got on the bus, we went to the Chapel wall and watched for the next 3 hours. We saw our son 3 times with our binoculars. Later, I talked to several parents who stayed until 7 pm.

    The next morning, we arrived at the Chapel wall early for the swearing in. Our son asked us to NOT make a banner. Unfortunately, they changed the squad line up and we were not right in front of our son's squad. After Beast, he said he looked for us on the wall and couldn't find us (my heart broke). I am glad I went to I Day even though it was very emotional for me.

    I went out for Acceptance Day even though I only got 2 hours with my son and my husband and I both went for Parent's Weekend. If you can swing it financially and with time off from work, I would recommend going.
     
  15. cadetmom100

    cadetmom100 Member

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    I- day for parents

    Interesting discussion - Obviously it is a personal choice, but my take is to go if you can, and if your cadet is willing to have you along.

    We happen to live "locally" - within a hour of the Academy so I never thought of not going to I- day - us driving my son to the Academy was the only way he had to get there!

    We were lucky enough to accompany our son to a breakfast put on by the coaches of his IC team before heading to Inprocessing, and that was a good way to begin, as we were able to see him interact with a few of the teammates he already knew, and also with the coaches, who assured us they would be looking out for him during BCT.

    We then went and stood in the long line outside the AOG building and chatted a little bit with him more. I think (and he has since confirmed) that he was glad to have company for that part... Once we got inside the AOG building he was ready to go - no milling around or visting booths etc. I managed not to be upset or cry etc, and we exchanged a great hug that I will never forget.

    However, for me personally, the swearing in was much harder! We had been told, "you will never find your cadet among the 1300 kids all dressed alike... " but I spotted him in about 10 seconds after arriving at the Chapel Wall. He looked hot, exhausted, and very overwhelmed - afterall in the 20 hours since we had last seen him he had learned to march, stand in formation, etc etc. He no longer seemed like the young kid that I had dropped off the only the day before! This is when I lost it, and the tears flowed - but at least it was not in front of him. And to be honest, some of the tears came from the pride I felt at watching him, and the 1300 other kids, take this major step etc.

    Good luck to all.

    Just my experience, for what it is worth.
     
  16. futurepilot22

    futurepilot22 Member

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    .
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2010
  17. AFAMOM08

    AFAMOM08 Member

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    This question comes up every year -- To go or not to go. My advice is to listen to your cadet and follow their wishes. If they want you to go make every attempt to be there for them. However, if they want to go it alone (our son did, much to my chagrin), give them the space. I day will be one of the toughest days of their lives and they need to approach it how it fits them best. This is part of the letting go that we as parents of cadets have to do much earlier than other parents.

    We dropped our son off at the airport and were surprised that there were lots of other families dropping their cadets off also. My son met several people on that plane ride that he still keeps in touch with. Don't worry about them if you don't go for Iday, they will be fine and will not be alone. Our son received a waiver very late in the game and was too late to sign up for the bed and breakfast. We booked a room for him at a hotel that had an AFA shuttle stop and he went by himself. He met lots of others enroute and at the hotel so he didn't feel alone. He has mentioned many times since that by going alone he felt like he was able to get his mind ready for what lay ahead and wouldn't have done it any other way.

    Parent's Weekend on the other hand, is a must!
     
  18. meadowlark

    meadowlark Member

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    As a parent I will share with you, how IDAY went down for us. First we offered to go out early and “hang” together as a final family hurrah… that was quickly nixed as my son made it quite clear that he would be spending every moment until June 23rd with his friends. Fine. We flew out on our own tickets, a day early. He flew on a USAFA ticket and we picked him up at the airport. He is an IC so he had dinner with his teammates, spent the night with us and he in-processed with his team. It was a very quick goodbye in all honesty. I did not cry at all for my child, he had new teammates; the only time I cried was when a set of parents brought a young girl to the line we were standing in with my son and his new friends. They said to her “this is it, we love you, you will be fine” and walked away, very business like. I saw the fear in this girl’s eyes as she stood with a bunch of guys like the loneliest girl in the world. As her parents got further away I saw the tears going down her cheeks. She stood there with her glasses on, and no makeup. I was overwhelmed by her courage. We talked to her during the line, watched her walk over the bridge and waved goodbye to her on the bus. I still think back on how courageous she was as a female about to start such a challenging time in her life with mostly males.

    We did not cry over my son, in addition to the fact the he had been such a typical PIA 18 year old for the last 6 months; we were secretly happy someone else would scream at him for the next 6 weeks . My husband kept saying, ”I know we signed up to see the pictures online, is there an additional fee we can pay for a webcam” LOL. We did not attend the next day’s ceremony as we had to get on a plane and return home on IDAY. I am happy we did not stay, as we soon received letters explaining his doubt that he should be there, I think if he would have seen us that morning, he may have out-processed.

    It took us a few weeks to miss the laundry creating, pantry emptying, empty gas tank leaving child, but we did eventually miss him. We made it a point to never leave work without writing a letter and dropping it in the mail every day. We really enjoyed getting his letters, be prepared, for lots of emotion in the letters. On any given day we could get one that said – “I am so proud of myself, I can do this”, to the same batch of mail bringing the “I am out of here letter”, or “I am so sick”, or “I am injured”. My son never quit, but at times he definitely wanted too. By the time Doolie day out had rolled around we knew we had to go for Acceptance Day. IF IT IS AT ALL AFFORDABLE for even one parent to attend, please go to this 3 hour event. Your Cadet will be so happy and so will you. I know on paper it makes no sense to fly out to Denver, rent a car, pay for a hotel room….but honestly you will be so happy you did it. Book your ticket now while it is cheaper, get a rental car now while you can. We waited until the last minute to book this trip, paid way too much for an airline ticket, and paid $90 for a one day car rental. Of course everyone is looking to parents weekend, but please do not overlook acceptance day. Good Luck to all 2014 parents, have fun scouring webguy’s pictures and stalking your mail carrier. It is a long summer for everyone!
     
  19. pinkharley99

    pinkharley99 Member

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    Acceptance Day

    Does anyone know the date?
     
  20. CadCandMateus

    CadCandMateus Recent Grad

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    Hopefully it's doolie day out this time ;)

    2014, please do not bring swine flu.

    ~Thanks
     

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