KP Morale – a thing of the past?

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by JustFixIt, May 18, 2011.

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  1. JustFixIt

    JustFixIt New Member

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    KP parents and midshipmen are in disbelief over the news that Carol and Gene Guest are being pushed out of their involvement at the Academy. Those who are willing to go to bat in support of the Guests feel they are being told they cannot express their grave concerns to the Superintendent without the possibility of negative repercussions. They have been told not to write to the Superintendent.

    What possible reason could grossly overshadow the indisputable good that this couple has been generating over the last several years? If they are told to leave, is there a system in place at KP that will fill in the gaps? There are over 30 programs and events that the Guests have brought to KP that would come to an end.

    Who or what will, several times a week, work one on one with the midshipmen, to uplift morale, work through academic problems, parent’s divorces, death of parents, date rape, depression, loneliness, sexual pressure, girls getting raped at sea, alcohol pressures, loneliness, not having good social skills, and suicide? More importantly, who else has earned that level of trust with the midshipmen?

    Is it the Superintendent’s goal to graduate hardened, regimental officers? Or is it to graduate well prepared men and women who have had a chance to successfully work through their personal challenges and are capable of handling all aspects of their future, both personal and professional?

    It's time to write the Superintendent - or MARAD – but does it have to be anonymous to protect ourselves?

    Those of us in support wish to be given the chance to be heard and our concerns considered.
     
  2. shutterbugC

    shutterbugC Member

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    JustFixIt
    I am glad that there is someone else that feels like I do. Here is a list of what they do. I hope others feel the same way and that there is something that we can do.

    CONTEMPORARY BIBLE MEETING (CBM) (does not conflict in schedule with the Holy Eucharist Service) Students can attend both if they desire. (52-87 students attend regularly)

    “Chat and Chew” 9:30am

    Meeting 9:50am interactive, worship team, student participation,

    built on what the students wanted

    CFC (Christian Fellowship Club (Average attendance 45-50)

    7:45pm Mondays Land Hall

    BAND OF SISTERS (attendance 42-62)

    Thursdays, noon, Chapel lounge

    COOKIE CAFÉ (attendance 350-540) Hundreds of parents across US involved

    Thursdays 1-5pm Land Hall

    Takes ½ day Wednesday , whole day Thursday, and ½ day Friday

    SEMINARS meals provided ( 35-52)

    Going to Sea Seminars

    Pornography

    Current issues

    OUTREACH (15-20 students)

    Walter Hoving Home for the girls (half way home for girls with problems)

    Handicapped Children’s Homes

    CONFERENCES (20-30 each event)

    OCF with Annapolis

    IGNITE with Long Island Colleges

    THE BIG EVENT -NY Metropolitan Colleges

    URBANA—every 3 years with Colleges across US (3)

    PLEBE CANDIDATE RETREAT (90)

    TRAINING SESSIONS(20)

    Bible Study Leaders

    Leadership Training

    KGB Library (Keep, Give Away, Borrow) Current religious books to take (Many books taken )

    VIDEOS, POPCORN, SODA–left in Chapel lounge weekly

    GAME NIGHTS with many board games left to play in Chapel Lounge

    ACTIVITIES

    APPLE PICKING PARTY (60-100)

    EASTER 5 HOUR HIKE in Harriman (15-20)

    MOVIE/PIZZA NIGHTS (35)

    WOMEN’S RETREAT (10)

    …..MEN’S RETREAT (18)

    SKI TM (12)

    BEACH PARTY, KITE FLYING, BBQ (52-65)

    COOKING CLUB

    Cooking and Baking supplies collected for students to use

    Baking and Cooking classes given by request

    BREAKFAST CLUB- once a week

    PRAYER GROUPS, student led (30-40)

    4 small groups across campus

    SMALL GROUP BIBLE STUDIES, student led ( 65-70)

    7-8 small groups

    OPERATION CLEAN UP (7 students each week)

    Land Hall Kitchen kept clean every day by student volunteers

    Provides a kitchen that is constantly open to students to use.



    As you can see, they do much more than just Sunday Contemporary Service for a small percentage of the kids.
     
  3. JMC0759

    JMC0759 S-USMMA '12 D-USAFA '15

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    Who or what will, several times a week, work one on one with the midshipmen, to uplift morale, work through academic problems, parent’s divorces, death of parents, date rape, depression, loneliness, sexual pressure, girls getting raped at sea, alcohol pressures, loneliness, not having good social skills, and suicide? More importantly, who else has earned that level of trust with the midshipmen?

    Do you have knowledge that any of these things are happening on campus?
     
  4. Sea Faring Moose Mom

    Sea Faring Moose Mom Member

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    Letter is in the Mail Last Week

    I wish that I would have had this extended list to go into my letter last week when I mailed it!!!!! But I did cut and paste from this forum and other information that I had and came up with a good list.

    The following are MY opinions as a parent (27 years), an educator (40 years) and concerned citizen . Please do not take them personally...... these are MY observations:

    I echo the concern about the 'socialization' of students as they lead our country.
    Since such behaviors are NOT being taught by parents or any other organizations, I see generations of my students coming up through the public schools ARROGANT and they possess a great sense of ENTITLEMENT - that they do NOT have to work or earn their rights in this world!!! They have NOT been let to fail and then learn from their failures. They canNOT problem solve their way out of a paper bag. HOWEVER, they can take TESTS...'Will this be on a test? Do I have to remember this? Why?" I am trying my best to help those students to learn these important lessons BEFORE the big World out there eats them alive.

    I have been teaching in the class room for 40 years and wonder what our Military will do when personel are given an order and they stand up, in the line of fire, and ask "Why? I don't have to do anything you say....I totally think you are wrong" You think that I exaggerate???? Come to my 6, 7, and 8th grade class room.....

    I strongly urge that there be no repercussions as I do have the right to express my opinions in a respectful way, which I did.
     
  5. bugsy

    bugsy Member

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    The Why generation

    SFMM

    As a squadron commander 2 years ago, I had to deal with a couple O-4 flight commanders that constantly asked why. The conversation always ended the same. "The Air Force is paying you to do (this) thats why now do it"

    I called them my Y generation leaders. Frustrating isnt the half of it. On top of frustrating their leaders, they frustrate their spouse and family and remain frustrated themselves. Unsure of their decision in life and in execution of the mission.

    I'll leave it to others smarter than me to figure out how to train leaders to gain the maturity to both follow and lead.
     
  6. Crossroads

    Crossroads New Member

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    to JMC0759

    Sadly, the answer is yes. Most of those things happened, or continue tp happen. We know, firsthand.
     
  7. noworries

    noworries Banned

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  8. shutterbugC

    shutterbugC Member

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    Although I am concerned with the ending of the Guest on campus, my concerns fall more with the kids at KP. They will be loosing so much. If KP thinks that things will stay the same and this will not effect the kids, I believe it will. Just my opinion.
     
  9. luv2fly

    luv2fly Member

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    In my honest opinion I think it should be up to the Alumni and the Mids to get the message to the Superintendent not the parents.

    Also when you get a new Superintendent you can expect change.

    I remember a couple of months ago we were all so happy that Admiral Green was the new Superintendent. He is a KP grad. Well, he is now running the ship his way weather we like it or not.

    As far as the Mids go they will be fine with what ever happens with the Cookie Cafe.

    Just my 2 cents

    luv2fly
     
  10. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    Perhaps the very vocal criticism of the academy & Supe over the change of chaplains wasn't such a good idea now that we look back at it.
     
  11. proudmomcolorado

    proudmomcolorado Member

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    keep the Guests

    How about a good old-fashioned vote from the mids and the parents so that administration can see if this is valued in our eyes? After all, a box of homemade cookies twice a year and a small check isn't much, but if it can help with morale, it is gladly sent. Especially from the families that do not live close to KP - it helps us feel connected more to the school and to our mids. :shake:
     
  12. cookiecafemom

    cookiecafemom Member

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    What is morale?

    Dictionary definition pretty much sums it up

    MORALE: "MORAL OR MENTAL CONDITION WITH RESPECT TO COURAGE, DISCIPLINE, CONFIDENCE, ENTHUSIASM, WILLINGNESS TO ENDURE HARDHIP ETC. WITHIN A GROUP OR IN RELATIONSHIP TO A GROUP."

    I think that Cookie Cafe can be summed up in one word LOVE (which builds morale). The other federal academies are probing to see what makes Cookie Cafe work. It's LOVE !!!

    Parents are taking time to bake and send cookies, volunteers are spending Thursdays helping at Land Hall, we get up at 4:45am and spend all day Thursdays. Not one of us has an assigned job, requirement or are getting paid. WE ARE ALL JUST SHOWING LOVE. And that LOVE is building MORALE at Kings Point so the students have the courage, discipline, confidence, enthusiasm, and willingness to endure hardship. We are all contributing to better students, better regiment, better grades, and Kings Point becoming a better place. Thanks team, all of our LOVE is helping the MORALE of the students.

    My husband and I LOVE the mids and the students know it. I read that huge list someone printed of what we do on campus, and I thought to myself, that is a ridiculously busy list. Then I realized that when you truly LOVE, things seem simple and easy. We do not need to be complimented, we are doing what we really care about. We are ministering in many ways, to the mids at USMMA, a very special place with REALLY SPECIAL STUDENTS.
     
  13. shutterbugC

    shutterbugC Member

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    I personally feel that if the mids got involved in whether the Guest stay or not, would certainly NOT keep them UNDER the RADAR. Since the Guest minister to around 80 kids and the Cookie Cafe ministers to some 400-500 kids and admins, voicing their opinion would not be good for their time at KP. I know this is not suppose to happen, but I imagine it does.
     
  14. KPSQRD

    KPSQRD Member

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    Part of the KP culture is the ability for mids to learn how to make things happen. Of course no one wants to see Cookie Cafe go away but if the mids want CC to continue, they need to take up this cause. At this point in the school year, there should be no fear of reprisal or staying under the radar. They have been recognized and are all part of the regiment. While many parents think it is their task to press for CC, parents should not be involved beyond supporting the CC with funding and cookies. It's probably very clear to the administration that parents would like CC to continue but the mids have to speak up collectively if they want this to continue. Parents - it's time to step back and let your kids handle what happens at KP.
     
  15. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    So I'm with KPSQRD on this one, but everyone needs to realize that there are people with a vote here however they are not we parents or even the majority of we alumni and most definitely not the majority of the midshipmen in the regiment. This is not "Lord of the Flies". The morale of the regiment is the responsibility of the Administration and the First Class Midshipmen Officers.

    Thankfully now we do have an alumnus who has a big say in how those sorts of things get addressed. I rest soundly at night knowing his qualifications include a long and successful career after graduation leading young men and women in some of the most horrible living conditions and stressful environments imaginable. I assure you though I haven't been there, I'm very confident that whatever morale and training issues have to be handled at the USMMA today, I'm quite sure none of them compare to what is routinely experienced by our service members daily in the Horn of Africa. Yet we now have a man at the helm who has lived as a member of the regiment of midshipmen at Kings Point for four years, then watched and actively supported his Alma Mater for the next 32 1/2 years while he had a successful career as an Active Duty Naval Officer until he attained the rank of two star Admiral. A career that included leading the first group of our Military deployed to the Horn of Africa. A career he could have continued and that he might have "capped" by attaining his third or even his fourth star. Instead, he choose to return to his Alma Mater and turn his efforts to making it the best Service Academy this nation has, a path/choice that I'm sure he had a lot, A LOT, of his fellow Alumni asking him to take/make.

    Indeed there hasn't been a person at the helm of the USMMA with these sort of credentials or with such a clear understanding of all the various stakeholders as well as the situation that is the current state of affairs at the Academy, since Tom King took the helm from RADM Bungle (Arthur B. Engle) for those that don't know that nickname.

    In any case my amplifying point to KPSQRD's post is parents support your/our kids but this whole set of actions and thoughts is IMO just over-involvement in the daily life that is the USMMA. These are not children, I know they are each of our children, but as a general group they are not generally "children" - they are young adults. Young adults being trained to become the next generation of leaders in an industry that is critical to our nation's continued good order and being. That's why the US Government is giving them a free education, and investing in them. I know in my personal case my own son is now getting ready to go into his first class year, he's 21, he's been around the world literally, he may be "my child" but he's an adult child in every sense of the word. He has his own voice and well founded opinions, as do from what I've seen, all of his classmates I've met. Further, they are as mature and responsible, if not more-so, than we were "back in the day" and we got by without nearly as much involvement or "communication" with our parents in the day to day runnings of the regiment. In fact I know for a fact, my parents spent no more than 6 hours in total at the Academy prior to my Graduation Weekend. I'm begining to really think that might have been better for them and better for me than how things are these days. Just a thought.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2011
  16. luv2fly

    luv2fly Member

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    Jasperdog,

    As usual you hit that one out of the ballpark!

    Well done Sir!

    Thank you putting it in perspective.

    luv2fly
     
  17. KPSQRD

    KPSQRD Member

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    Thank you Jasperdog. I was starting to think I was the only one that felt there was far too much parental involvement in the day to day workings of the academy. As you said, back in the day, parents were not involved. Parents didn't see or hear from their kids other than Acceptance Day, an occasional football game, a letter or a phone call made weekly from the bank of pay phones outside what used to be know as the Canteen, now the Seafarer. Yes there are many now that would argue that we have the benefit of technology to enhance communication but that enhanced communication may not be a benefit to the Academy, the mission and the mids. Many upper class mids that worked with the plebe class would tell you parental involvement caused far too many issues that impeded the growth and development of the class of 2014. This has resulted in what many consider to be a complete lack of respect for the KP system. When you're kid is 5,000 miles away, they are not going to be able to call to tell you they don't like their ship or their chief mate/engineer and you're not going to be able to fix it. Jasperdog is right. They are young adults and our adult children but none the less we have put them in a place where they have to rise to the occasion and lead. So whatever the issue is at KP; Cookie, Cafe, Ministries, Sports, whatever; they-the mids - have to step up and get it done. Parents need to take a place in the shadows and let Admiral Greene and his staff do their jobs. He is beyond qualified and a huge asset. Parents need to watch their kids grow, stumble, and grow some more ....
     
  18. kpbaseballmom

    kpbaseballmom Member

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    I don't think anyone is questioning the credentials of the current leadership to head up this institution. The Admiral has a very impressive resume, and as rightly pointed out, is in charge of all aspects of the academy, including the morale of the regiment. Goodness knows, morale was not great when he arrived and that's just one of the million problems he is trying to deal with. We should all pray for him daily as his responsibilities are massive.

    I think what some parents are saying though, it that why diminish one of the few morale building enterprises on the campus?

    People have made the case that this is a free education and that perhaps people don't appreciate that, almost as though morale is way down on the list. But this is a new world from when many alumni attended KP. First of all, if anyone has seen the other academies, there is a huge difference in the way these other facilities have been maintained. Don't think that for a moment the physical surroundings don't impact morale, they do. So our kids go to Coast Guard, Annapolis or West Point and see a whole different level of maintenance. And they ask, why not us? It's demoralizing for them.

    Another argument is that Kings Point has the sea year advantage, which presents an amazing opportunity to see the world. But other colleges also offer amazing travel abroad opportunities to places all over the planet. Living for six months in China while learning the language and taking side trips to Thailand and Cambodia is typical now for many college students. These students too are all over the world having incredible experiences. My own daughter did research while in college one summer for a professor while living in Italy, traveled to Capri, Rome and Positano, all while being paid.

    In addition, our children are bright and many were offered large scholarships, especially in engineering. Many choose the ROTC route and get a free ride.

    My point is that Kings Point is competing not only with the other academies, but also with other universities, many of which have incredible resources and endowments and can provide an amazing college experience in very nice surroundings, while also connecting their students with very successful alumni. Given the reality of all this, throwing a few cookies once a week and some TLC to some very stressed students doesn't seem like too much to ask.

    If one reads the "Kings Pointer" magazine, the financial support by alumni has not been stellar, even as compared to the other academies. Why is that? Could morale have something to do with it? The Alumni Foundation has said that it is imperative that the alumni ALL get involved financially with KP if the place is to be properly renovated. Morale and how you feel about your alma mater plays a huge role in how alumni support their colleges. Kings Point needs to take a serious look at this if they hope to tap into a critical resource.
     
  19. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    In other words - the Administration is kicking the Guest's out, CookieCafe is ending, and just shut up and take it because the Administration knows best?

    I hope that is not the case, but that is what I get from reading your post.

    Yes, independence is one thing, but an active campaign to keep a beneficial morale perk at KP should not be discouraged.
     
  20. KPSQRD

    KPSQRD Member

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    Not at all the case Luigi. There are several groups that provide feedback to the administration about issues on campus. And apparently the administration has been listening. Anytime there is a change in administration, change within an organization is inevitable.

    If the mids want the CC and other benefits they have reaped from the involvement of the Guests; which as an aside I support: they need to lead the campaign to have them stay, not the parents. They are the stakeholders and if they are passionate about this, they need to speak up. One would have to be an idiot to refuse to acknowledge the wonderful benefits and morale boost the mids get each week at CC. And the parental support is clear with the consistent flow of donations weekly. Having spoken to several mids that are aware CC is in jeopardy, their response has been the regiment has to push to keep this and parents should stay out it.
     
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