Mail Call

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Wing77, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. Wing77

    Wing77 Member

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    Just a reminder to all you new Class of 2017 parents, family and friends ... Start writing AND sending letters now so your soon-to-be basic cadet has mail waiting for him/her at the first mail call. If you wait until after you drop them, they'll get it after a few days - they'll live, of course, but it's nice to have some letters there when they get to the mailboxes.

    I also HIGHLY recommend write2them (http://write2them.org/). It is really cheap and when you subscribe - you get a new email address for your basic cadet. Anyone can send an email to that new email address, and anything emailed there is printed out and delivered the very next day to the physical mailboxes - very convenient for those of us more used to email than snail mail. Also, a simple and quick way to let everyone send fun messages over at virtually any time. (And no I am not connected with write2them in any way - I just think they do an incredible job!)

    Good luck Class of 2017.
     
  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent

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    Agree with Wing's entire post, but particularly that the Write2Them service is convenient, inexpensive, and very timely. We used it with DS for BCT last year and he said it was "Great!" which is something as he doesn't normally enjoy any type of mail.

    Class of 2017 parents don't let your Basic be the one standing against the wall after mail call with nothing to do except trying to read the mail of the Basic next to them. Also if you are using snail mail, don't send colored envelopes, let the girl friend spray perfume on it, use cute stickers, or in any other way make the letters stand out. Your Basic doesn't need any extra attention and they may not even be given the opportunity to read that cute little "special" letter.

    One thing that we did not do but I wish we had. Ask your Basic if their roommate and squad mates are getting any mail. Some Basics receive no mail during the entire time. You can send these poor souls mail as well. They will appreciate the mail even though they have never met you. However it needs to be addressed specifically to them. So you will need their name and PO Box. It will demonstrate to them that even though their biological family doesn't support them, they are now part of the bigger AF family and they are supported.
     
  3. the tone

    the tone Member

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    Total agreement with Blackbird. Mail them SOMETHING everyday and don't include anything but printed material. Don't even try to print a picture on the letter; they get noticed! And, we mailed a couple of extra cadets during BCT when WebGuy posted that they weren't getting any mail at all. Unbelievable. We were on that in a heart beat. I think our cadet mentioned that he only had an empty mailbox one time during the whole thing.
     
  4. buffalo

    buffalo USAFA 2013

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    The basic that is assigned to my old PO Box will have a nice card and some goodies waiting for him or her!
     
  5. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Some suggestions

    Here is a great tip given to me by an old Academy mom and it was great for my sons, and for those people who now have their box numbers!

    Since their time is limited, send them "Questionnaire Letters" which they can fill in and then send back, sent separately of course from the note you send your basic. We made ours fun:

    The food at BCT is:
    a. tolerable, but not MOM'S!
    b. Gourmet! Never had it so good!
    c. This is food?
    d. Gave up eating in favor of sleeping
    e. ______________________________

    My BCT roommate is __________________ from _____________.
    S/he is:
    a. great! We're good buddies already!
    b. pretty nice
    c. not of the same species
    d. gone
    e. ________________________

    You get the idea. We had tons of fun with these letters and the guys appreciated the quickie answers and of course, wrote little comments in the margins and on the back. The best part for parents is that we got NEWS without them having to think too hard! Send with a SASE and you're in hose. (That's the key, of course)

    Other suggestions: scan in and print copies of pictures of their friends, family, the dog/cat/parakeet, house, yard, funny pictures, and write your letters around/beside/on the reverse. Some BCT leaders will let your basic keep these since they are technically letters from home, some will confiscate them as "pictures." Try it once and see how things go! Sometimes the 1st BCT leader will allow it while the 2nd BCT will not, and vice versa.

    While they say send only white business envelopes, I do know of some mothers who sent their letters in pink/paisley/dayglo orange envelopes. Your basic might get more "attention" but after the third one, the fall-out generally ceases since the novelty wears off.
     
  6. the tone

    the tone Member

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    To each their own, but my cadet didn't want ANY more attention than they would normally get, and those "non-normal' envelopes will get some attention. He was very pleased that we did NOT hang any type of banner on the wall for swearing in too.
     
  7. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Tone, I think I meant that last part sort of tongue-in-cheek, though I have been known to embarrass my children in several unappreciated situations. :)
     
  8. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent

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    Parents embarrassing their children? No. How about kids embarrassing us?

    But seriously, attention at mail call is not good. Last year there was a male Basic who regularly received special letters from their GF. After the Basic opened each one, they were thrown away by the Cadre. He never got to read one. . .
     
  9. Wing77

    Wing77 Member

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    I'll throw out one more tip -
    Basics don't get much news or updates from the outside world at large. I included a quick daily update each day in my write2them email that updated our daughter about each family member and the outside world (i.e. Olympic news going on last year). These were many times just one funny sentence about each family member or other things. She said she liked the updates.
     
  10. Usafamom2016

    Usafamom2016 Member

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    You can also send letters to 'any cadet'. The mailperson or the cadre can give it to someone they see hasn't gotten any mail. Unfortunately, there are those parents who do not support their son or daughter's choice to attend USAFA and this makes BCT even harder for them.
    My nephew was a Marine in Afghanistan and he ran the mail room. We sent lots of 'any marine' packages to him and he doled them out to those who needed them.
     
  11. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Each cadet is different. Each squadron is different. So take what I did with a grain of salt.

    1. Me, my wife, my daughter, and my son's girl friend agreed on certain days of the week for each of us to write. We were free to write more often, but this agreement meant that at least one letter would be received EVERY DAY by our son.

    2. The first letter sent, was by me, and it included a stack of self stamped post cards. We knew he wouldn't have a lot of time to write. So, instead of him getting "Around" to writing a letter, getting the envelope, stamps, etc.... He simply wrote a paragraph or such on a post card that was already stamped. He put in a name/address and simply mailed it. He had stamps/envelops and stationary if he wanted it. We found that with the post cards, we received at least 2 each per week. So, about every 2 weeks, I sent him more post cards.

    3. While pictures and printed material can be discouraged; depending on the cadre; we would do all our letters in MS Word and inserted pictures of our son/flight/squadron that we found on Webguy. Being it was "BCT Related" and it fostered team work when he shared it with others in his flight, (Seeing pictures of themselves), his cadre didn't seem to have a problem with it. Again, this is a case by case thing. You could try it and have your rug-rat let you know if it's acceptable.
     
  12. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent

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    Mike,

    Great idea on sending the WebGuy pictures. I wish we had tried that. As soon as DS received his laptop and access to the Internet he asked for our WebGuy password so he could see the pictures of his flight/squadron.
     
  13. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Oh, that was nasty that they threw away your letters! Is that even legal? Harsh, at the least.

    For letters confiscated, my sons' were returned to them at the end of BCT and they enjoyed "old news."

    We also put in some newspaper articles which the cadre let them keep. Someone in my one boy's squad got a birthday cake in the mail!!! There was enough for all so they got to keep it! :) At it with their hands (can you imagine how dirty they were at 2nd BCT?)!
     
  14. TJP

    TJP Member

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    Basic Cadet or Cadet??

    In the email my DS recv'd with his P.O. Box it says Cadet first and Last Name. During BCT, should they be addressed as Cadet or Basic Cadet? If Basic Cadet will it be a big red flag if a letter has already been sent with Cadet??
     
  15. Raptor16

    Raptor16 Member

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    I've heard that the title "Cadet" earns extra attention from the cadre during BCT as we've not yet earned that title. I've told everyone to stick with "Basic Cadet" until I'm able to tell them differently haha. But I don't know how much effect one letter would have, as long as it doesn't become a regular occurrence :smile:
     
  16. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    BASIC!!!!!
     
  17. the tone

    the tone Member

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    @ Blackbird...embarrass your child, no way! LOL!
     
  18. the tone

    the tone Member

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    Great comments from all. We included one "photo" in a MS Word document, non-BCT related, and it was confiscated BUT held. Throwing away a letter is really harsh; they could have at least held it until Acceptance Day. We also sent stamped, and in some cases, addressed post cards, but who knows what happened to them. We did get some letters as time went on, but they were usually about 4-5 days "behind" what was actually going on, but we loved them anyways. It would be nice if ALL of the cadre followed the same mail rules, however.
     
  19. vls

    vls Member

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    Write2them

    I HIGHLY recommend the write2them website. These emails get through and are delivered more frequently than regular mail. After sending one or two letters, I used only the Write2them site. It was amazing - and even for my "independent" 2016 cadet, it was super appreciated because he had communication from home almost daily.
     
  20. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I don't know how this program can "get through and delivered more frequently" than an individual writing a letter. The advantage of the program is that you can do it on the road, on your android, etc... and you don't have to actually mail a letter or anything. But the write2them service has to actually mail a letter. (It still has to go through the USPS to get to your basic trainee).

    In other words; the write2them program is intended to make it easier on YOU the letter writer. It makes it more convenient to write a letter. But it doesn't really do anything as far as delivering the letter. That's going to take about the same amount of time. Nothing wrong with the program. Just saying that I don't believe it offers any advantage with your basic receiving mail from home. It just makes it easier for you to send a letter.
     

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