Letters

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by TRdeeter, Jun 10, 2015.

  1. TRdeeter

    TRdeeter Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2015
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    14
    Does anyone have suggestions on what to include in letters, other than the I love you's and words of encouragement? I want to send my son mail as much as possible during BCT, but I don't want to be redundant and boring. Not much exciting happens at home to write about..I want for him to have something to open every day or every other day at least, if possible.
     
    thatmom and RogersCO'19 like this.
  2. USAFADAD2017

    USAFADAD2017 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2015
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    20
    I included Bible verses along with what you have already mentioned.. Army and Navy jokes are ALWAYS welcome. :)
     
    baileydb and TRdeeter like this.
  3. TRdeeter

    TRdeeter Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2015
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    14
    Does anyone know if we are allowed to send photos in the letters?
     
  4. USAFADAD2017

    USAFADAD2017 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2015
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    20
    Sorry, but photos are not allowed during BCT..
     
    RogersCO'19 likes this.
  5. TRdeeter

    TRdeeter Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2015
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    14
    :( Boo. Are we allowed to include cut out comic strips?
     
  6. USAFADAD2017

    USAFADAD2017 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2015
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    20
    I can only suggest you keep it to plain writing paper with written words until after BCT.
     
    USAFA83GradWife and RogersCO'19 like this.
  7. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2010
    Messages:
    1,667
    Likes Received:
    811
    This goes for letters to anyone in an initial training program: Mail Call is a huge motivator. Take the time to write.

    Make it plain white stationary, white envelope. No stickers, perfume, etc. No contraband. Address exactly as instructed.

    Regarding content: jokes - especially those between the services; encouraging anecdotes, stories, etc; current news or articles from home paper, graduation speeches (there are some pretty motivating or funny ones out there!), etc. Get creative. But in the end, they just want to be reminded of home and your encouragement with every letter.
     
    RogersCO'19 likes this.
  8. nolifepilot

    nolifepilot USAFA Cadet

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2013
    Messages:
    147
    Likes Received:
    49
    If you send pictures, your basic will most likely get to see the picture for a short time at least. For our flight, and all of my friends' flights, we were allowed to look at the pictures for as long as we were in the mailroom. When we left the mailroom, the cadre would just ask that you give them the picture. They would store it, and we got everything back after basic ended. If you send anything funny, it'll probably brighten both your basic's day, and the cadre's as well! I would highly suggest comic strips, pictures from home, drawings from younger siblings, cologne/perfume from a girlfriend/boyfriend, anything to remind your basic that a normal world is still out there and is waiting for them when they finish basic! The purpose of writing letters and getting them is to perk you up and make you smile. Personally speaking, I was always MUCH happier when I got more than just the standard white letter text. Maybe the only thing I wouldn't send is webguy pictures that feature your basic smiling when they aren't supposed to. That was the only thing the cadre never liked seeing. Everything else, they enjoyed seeing because it kept us in good spirits! Just don't be the parent that sent their kid a cake... He gave it to the cadre for "safekeeping" and the cadre ate it because "they didn't want it to go to waste and it wouldn't taste so good in 4 weeks."
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2015
    RogersCO'19 likes this.
  9. MombaBomba

    MombaBomba Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2014
    Messages:
    425
    Likes Received:
    218
    I tried to send something every day through write2them. I always tried to include something fun. I would only include current events if it was something amusing or interesting (great white sharks off of cape cod etc..). I did write about every day things, and included stories of what our pets were up to. I tried to add humor throughout the letter. I did not write about missing him or anything like that. I did include a few "you got this" type comments, but I did not send "inspirational quotes or stories." If I did that, I would have expected to find some eye roll pictures on webguy. My goal was to give him something to smile about. It really depends on your cadet's personality, what he needs to hear/read during tough times and the dynamic of your relationship.
     
    thatmom and RogersCO'19 like this.
  10. nolifepilot

    nolifepilot USAFA Cadet

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2013
    Messages:
    147
    Likes Received:
    49
    I agree 100%, MombaBomba! My mom used write2them and it was really nice getting letters and knowing that my mom had written them that very morning instead of the normal 7 days the post took to reach USAFA from Florida.
     
    MombaBomba and RogersCO'19 like this.
  11. TRdeeter

    TRdeeter Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2015
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    14
    Not sure of the lingo yet, but what does"cadre" stand for? I get it is the person in charge of them, but wondered what it stood for...but anyway, are their instructors or anyone else allowed to read our letters to our kids?
     
    RogersCO'19 likes this.
  12. serendipity

    serendipity Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2015
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    36
    It doesn't stand for anything. Cadre just means "a nucleus or core group especially of trained personnel able to assume control and to train others" (Merriam-Webster).
     
    RogersCO'19 likes this.
  13. MedB

    MedB Parent

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2012
    Messages:
    593
    Likes Received:
    116
    Couple of tips from parents that sent both a son and daughter to BCT...

    1. Don't worry about being "boring". Basics will hang on every word and will be interested in the littlest/most mundane things from home. Trust this. Your day at work, the relatives, the appliance that broke, argument with the neighbor etc etc. In fact they will read and re-read your letters over and over just to be reminded of wonderful boring home!
    2. Jokes that they can retell are HUGE! Some cadre even reward basics that tell the best jokes during meals in Mitch's. Favorites of course are military-themed or inter service jokes, but just about anything is good fodder. IMPORTANT NOTE: Remember USAFA is all about respect so off-color jokes about gender (eg blonde jokes) or racial/ethnic quips are way way way off limits and have no place in today's military.
    3. Tell more than ask. Remember your Basics are crazy super busy and the little spare time they have is often spent catching up on sleep or just decompressing. So don't be offended or surprised if they don't write as often as you do, or don't answer all your questions. Don't make mail yet another thing they have to do, make it something they look forward to.
    4. Number/date your letters. Mail call isn't every day and letters have a way of clumping up and arriving in bunches. The chronology will be lost if you don't make it clear when each was written.
    5. If you can, try and get other folks to write once in a while. A couple of friends or relatives all pitching in to write just 2 letters each will add variety and help keep your basics mailbox full. (see #5)
    6. Use Write2Them. Just do it. Really. Honestly the best money you will spend and addition to a being a great organization, it makes it sooooo much easier for your friends and family (and you) to keep the mailbox full. You simply WILL write more if it's as easy as email.
    7. Finally... Stay in touch with various Parent's Groups and or Facebook to help support struggling cadets. Invariably there are some in every squad that get very little mail or are going through extra ordinary trials. Often times parents will pitch in to flood these Basics's mailboxes with encouragement. It's awesome to see and be a part of.
    Personal Note: We choose to "terrorize" our children a bit with the occasional letter that we knew would draw attention (pink hearts, perfume, embarrassing baby blackmail pics, etc). This is a personal decision you should think through, but our children grew up with this sort of eye-rolling begrudging laughter so they expected it. The cadre enjoyed the laughs .... and beating them. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2015
    Stealth_81 and Boozebin like this.
  14. SunshineMom

    SunshineMom Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2015
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    40
    Ouch -- seven days from Florida? I'd better get some in the mail NOW!
     
  15. Midwest

    Midwest Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2014
    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    60
    When my son was in Naval Boot Camp at Great Lakes, he begged for something to read at night because they allowed no books, except for Bibles (which I thought was a good option).

    So I started copying SHORT stories from the internet, pasted them into a document, cleaned up the fonts with smaller or larger size, changed font styles, tightened up the margins, and made it look like a letter by adding white space for easier reading. Every letter started with Dear Son, a little intro why I enjoyed the story inserted into the body of the letter and it ended with my autograph. The cadre never picked on him and always thought it was just a long letter from home. His cleaning duty assignment was in the pleasantly warm laundry room while it was below zero out, so he read the stories several times to the hum of the washer and dryer. For about 8 weeks, we read together many short stories.

    His preference for genre was Science/fantasy fiction, but he was open to anything, so I introduced him to Mark Twain and his dry humor. And just to start you off, here's one of my favorite Mark Twain stories about Lieutenant General Lord Arthur Scoresby, V.C., K.C.B., etc., etc., etc ... It's all about Luck, right?

    http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/luck.html
     
    SunshineMom and Stealth_81 like this.
  16. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2007
    Messages:
    2,580
    Likes Received:
    800
    OK, here you go:

    You will send to your BASIC a form letter (2 copies, one for your basic, one s/he'll send back to you):

    Hi Junior,

    Mom, Dad, Dog, girl/boy friend, sis, bro, and turtle are fine! Miss you.
    Please answer the questions and send one back to me (in the self addressed stamped envelope, which I provide here.)

    1. The food here is:
    a. Exquisite! Just Love it!
    b. Tolerable, but Mom, it's for sure not yours.
    c. Wait! That was supposed to be food?
    d. __________________ (no expletives, please)

    2. My roommate(s) is/are: __________________________________________ from _________________________________.
    S/he is a. already my best friend forever
    b. set to marry my sibling
    c. possibly not human
    d. Not a Steelers fan (see also, C above)

    3. The person I miss most from home is:
    a. My delightful parents
    b. My bros at the pool hall
    c. the dog
    d. my Spiritual Advisor
    e. _____________________________________

    You get the idea.
     
  17. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    Messages:
    1,664
    Likes Received:
    513
    A very good reminder there, SunshineMom. We began writing to our son a week before he even left for BCT, and he had mail right from the first mail call.

    My wife and I took turns writing each day, but often we both wrote daily. I would emphasize that you cannot write to them too often. There is nothing "boring" that you can write, no matter what they will read it and enjoy it because it comes from you. I always included an AF cartoon in my letters. Not clipped and sent along in the same envelope, but actually copied and pasted halfway down the page of the letter, right in the middle of the words. Our son never had a letter taken away for that, and the cadre started looking forward to the cartoon each day as well and had our son share it with his element. I have mentioned before, also, that our son has every letter from BCT saved in a shoebox and that box has moved with him to 3 new bases. They are still treasured.

    Stealth_81
     
  18. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2010
    Messages:
    1,667
    Likes Received:
    811
    +1 :thumb:
     
    Wishful and USAFA83GradWife like this.
  19. Usafamom2016

    Usafamom2016 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    Messages:
    315
    Likes Received:
    74
    My son liked the baseball scores from home.
     
  20. funnyesq

    funnyesq Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2014
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    33
    I had fun with some of the cadets I used to sponsor. I guess that isn't done anymore. To a female cadet in a "Red" class I sent Big Red Gum.....it created quite the story! I think some humor is appreciated, it makes for stories they can remember. Just be clever and creative on the positive side IF you decide to do it. Nothing that would really get them into trouble. Bible quotes are okay, but I prefer motivational/positive/uplifting quotes that are all over the place/internet. I'd copy and paste a photo quote into the letter like someone above said and then the letter wouldn't get confiscated. If I'm not mistaken, the Basic is NOT required to open any letter in front of Cadre...but I could be wrong. I recall a few years ago a father who wrote his son's Cadre about how the son loved to eat....(something the son didn't like) or something and they had a field day with that. Of course the father knew that the son could take the joke.
     

Share This Page