Morale boosters for the midshipmen

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by cookiecafemom, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. cookiecafemom

    cookiecafemom Member

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    What would help the midshipmen to have the best atmosphere and most positive atmosphere at Kings Point? Moms and Dads of CURRENT MIDSHIPMEN (after asking your son/daughter), and MIDSHIPMEN THEMSELVES would be the best source for feedback. What are your ideas and suggestions?

    This thread is for ideas that will help now. Can we brainstorm and come up with the best ideas to make KP the school that is the most loved school in USA??
     
  2. cmakin

    cmakin Member

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    I don't know if KP should BE the "most loved" school in the USA. . . . .
     
  3. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    What do I love the most about KP ... The quality engineering education and great professional opportunities it has afforded me. Neither of which one appreciates while they are there.

    Probably the best thing you can do for M/N is increase their interaction with alumni. Alumni will provide the dose of reality that what they are going through is the rule rather than the exception, and the honest picture of what life after graduation is like.
     
  4. Kram1

    Kram1 Member

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    I'm thinking that "Moms and Dads" need to stay out of it other than to support their Mids, attend parent day authorized events and athletic events at the Academy whenever they can, and donate to Kings Point (yes, $$$...not just your Mid).

    KP has had over zealous parents and others trying this "let's do something to improve morale" thing and such can certainly get in the way of the Superintendent and others doing what they feel is best for the Mids to prepare them for the "life after Kings Point" period of "real world" adventures.

    Am 100% certain this is all done with the very best of intentions, so no slams here...just think that our Mids are now trying to grow up and they need to handle things the best they can without undue outside influences from home.

    Parents can have a great bit of influence on this "morale" thing by just being supportive parents and helping their Mids to be successful Midshipmen.

    Yes, that may rub some parents the wrong way, but folks, I have 100% confidence in the fact that the Midshipmen of Kings Point CAN and will handle life at Kings Point. Seems each Mid that has come before them and graduated handled it well enough. Every member of every class I have talked to seems to have experienced some "morale" issues...mostly as a plebe. Imagine that?

    Hang in there parents...you will be amazed how fast and well your Mid will grow up and mature...if you just allow him/her to do that. They will be fine...send cookies, send whatever comfort goodies you can as often as you can, and tell them that "this too shall pass"...they will be just fine. They are all exceptional young men and women or they would not be Kings Point Midshipmen.

    If you simply cannot help yourself and must "do something" to save the morale at King Point, please for the love of all that's good and right, talk to the Superintendent's Office FIRST...they may just have an idea where there is a need a group of parents could fill.


    Or, if your Mid plays a sport, contact the coach of that team and see what you might could do for the team on an away or home game day...but, go first to the coach....don't assume. Please and thank you.
     
  5. cmakin

    cmakin Member

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    Because I was from the West Coast, my parents never came out to KP. To be honest, I really didn't want them to. This was the very first thing that I was doing on my own, and I had to deal with the good AND the bad; and that taught me some invaluable lessons. I came close to quitting KP twice. Once early on, just after Indoc, and then again toward the end of my second part of sea year (I really thought about just sailing at that point). I made the decision to finish. Glad I did. It wasn't easy, and I did not like it. I wasn't supposed to.
     
  6. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    Splice the Mainbrace.
     
  7. cmakin

    cmakin Member

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    Exactly. . . .
     
  8. Lynpar

    Lynpar Member

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    That sent me to google. HA!
    I learn so much here :thumb:
     
  9. cmakin

    cmakin Member

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    The sun is over the yardarm. . . .
     
  10. beyond

    beyond KπΣ15'

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    Improve morale? How about parents to stop posting doom and gloom all over the internet. They should about how terrible Kings Point is, that it is falling apart, how marad is out to screw everyone, and how the commandant has it out for their child and their child only.

    It isn't true. None of it.

    [I'm not saying the OPs post is an example of doom and gloom, I think it was an honest attempt to help. I was speaking in generalities, but based on the parents discussions you would think the second coming of Christ is hours away.]
     
  11. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    Wow...

    A well intentioned person starts a thread that goes like this:

    and gets little to no participation/interest from the target audience - current Midshipman and/or their parents - and instead gets this sort of reply in spades:


    Again I say Wow! So let me say this I've refrained from jumping in to this thread to give the TARGET AUDIENCE a chance to put up some suggesting in response to the original poster's request, since I am neither a current midshipman nor is my DS one anymore. That said since from what I can tell with the exception of Kram1 no one else actively participating in this discussion is either a current midshipman, or from what I can tell the parent of a current midship, I figured as a parent of a recent graduate I'd jump in.

    First to my fellow alumni (both USMMA and/or other Service Academies) - as for simply telling folks that you too had to walk five miles uphill both ways to and from class and basically that the issues are the current regiment is too whiney, etc - on that I'd like to throw down the BS flag right now. While morale may or may not have been as much or more an issue for anyone's class prior to this year, is that really the point? And why do you really think that was an integral part of the USMMA experience that made you a better person, leader, etc. today? From my perspective, I don't feel a low morale atmosphere in any way helped either I or my son.

    I'll also say that compared to what my Class went through between July 1978 and June 1982 and what my son's class went through between July 2008 and June 2012 - there is NO DOUBT in my mind we, the Class of 1982 had things much better and easier from a morale perspective. We had only two Superintendents, generally consistent leadership and rules during our 4 years at KP. We had Annual Calendars composed of four (4) 10 week quarters vs. three (3) 14 week "trimesters" which are basically 16 week semesters crammed into 14 weeks - whether we're willing to admit it - our academics were certainly easier, unless perhaps if you were/are a true "Dualie". We went on ships for two equal length sea years that usually actually stopped in ports where we could get off the ship and enjoy exploring the port for at least a couple of days and often longer; current midshipmen don't get this opportunity unless they are assigned to an MSC vessel and there are other issues/challenges with that since often when they are there ore six cadets vice two... For the Class of 1982 that I was in, drinking off campus was legal as the legal drinking age in NY was 18 at the time; that meant we could blow off steam in NYC easier than the students today and with less repercussions if we did choose to imbibe. I recall going out to see my son for a couple days while he was in port in Long Beach during his first sea year - why? Well he was the only USMMA cadet on his ship, all the other officers were Cal Graduates and went home and out with family (don't blame them AT ALL) during this one three day port call on a Matson GCX run. When they did that he was basically stranded - ever try to get around LA without a car? Ever try to rent a car in this day and age in SOCAL if you are under 25 years old and don't have a corporate account? My point is simply, even the holy grail of USMMA - the sea year - while still the hallmark and absolute best, for most graduates, experience of the four years at KP - not as fun today as it was "back in our day". Why? Because the world changes.

    Remember that - the world changes .... so maybe we Kings Pointers should too. Maybe the badge of martyrdom we all seem to wear, as well as the pride we seem to take in USMMA "being a great place to be FROM" vice "AT" is a painful suit of armor whose time has come to be shed.

    All I am saying is that the original poster simply asked two questions:

    1) What would help the midshipmen to have the best atmosphere and most positive atmosphere at Kings Point?

    and 2) Can we brainstorm and come up with the best ideas to make KP the school that is the most loved school in USA???

    I'll now add a third to the discussion since some clearly feel the answer to number 2) is no, and perhaps doing so in some way lessens or cheapens the experience....

    3) What would be the harm/soooo bad about USMMA being a school that in addition to being a Great Place to be from; the current student body felt it was a great place to be at?

    And in response to question number 1) let me suggest, that if it becomes possible when things are reviewed, I truly feel a) a return to an academic year based on four equal quarters vice three trimesters would make many items that now become bigger issues than they were "back in my day" and that would be a start. b) Additionally, I think a better funded/more proactive tutoring program, especially for Plebe year would reduce stress improve the overall graduation rate as well as probably reduce the number of setbacks so in addition to helping morale would also likely prove to be an effective ROI for the Government. c) I think the professionalism, qualifications and involvement of the Commandant's staff, particularly the "Company officers" in the oversight and administration of the Regimental Program should be reviewed and the first class be given more say and a freer hand in the day to day running of the regiment - that would likely help the morale of both the first and second classes in a significant manner. And, finally d) I'll agree with an earlier poster that more constructive frequent interaction, in a properly structured manner between Alumni, especially alumni "in the industry" and members of the current regiment would also be helpful in that it helps to remind all in a substantive way of both the "Options and Opportunities" they will see at the end of this journey of dealing with the stress and hassles (compared to so called "normal college life") of life at KP and exposes them to great role models and possibly mentors.

    Just one persons opinion on the matter and hopefully you all won't skewer me for being so direct and blunt, but hey I'm used to it these days.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  12. JMS

    JMS Member

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    Well, I'm not a parent of a mid (yet) and not a mid, but I can say I visited during the open house, and spoke to a couple of mids. None... not one... spoke of the morale or poor facilities or management problems one reads about on this forum from time to time. Indeed, we spoke to a 2nd class who was not part of the open house 'official family' and he offered that KP was the best choice he could have made. He genuinely spoke proudly of the place. The dock were as good as any I walked on when I was in the service long ago, and were being repaired anyway. (I was in when the ships were made of wood and the men were made of steel;-) ) So, for what it is worth, could it be that fixing the morale is a solution looking for a problem?
    Regards "splice the main-brace" ... well, the liver is evil. It must be punished!
     
  13. Kram1

    Kram1 Member

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    Don'y worry jasperdog...we'll not skewer you like you do others...just sayin....but, if you can't stand the heat...you might want to get ouit of the kitchen...just one person's opinion....as you like to say after a rant or two!
     
  14. kpbaseballmom

    kpbaseballmom Member

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    The Commandant has acknowledge that there is a problem with morale relative to the constant changes at the top over the last 5 years and he is seeking input as to how morale can be improved. He is attempting to right the Regiment and provide strong leadership and stability - something that has not been in place for a while. He says that the class of '13 has been especially responsive to strengthening the Regiment and has stepped up to their leadership responsibilities, but it will take time for all these improvements to settle in.

    The mids have been through a lot, not the least being many of them having been poisoned by carbon monoxide - a low point in the facilities' conditions.

    The Commandant has tightened up liberty and says that he is "embarrassed" that there is so little for the mids to do on campus, especially since they are confined to the premises. Parents are brainstorming ideas and passing them along for his consideration, which he is happy to receive. Every parent wants the Commandant to succeed.

    In the meantime, we parents will continue to try to encourage our mids to keep their eyes on the prize - graduating with that license and a great education.
     
  15. Kram1

    Kram1 Member

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    Excellent! Seems to be the correct approach...at least to me...sorry jasperdog...my opinion.....passing quality ideas along to the administration is the way to go here. Mids solving mids problems...seems also to be very constructive.
     
  16. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    And what if anything in my post would indicate I in any way disagree with that or what Capt. Kennedy is asking?

    The purpose of the original post was to, at least the way i read it, get some interchange of ideas that someone might bring to that party/table. I put forth four of them as far as I can see, though, I doubt any of them are the types of things that are being sought, since none are along the lines of "more things to do on campus" assuming now based on kpbaseballmom's comment.

    If that is the case and what is being sought, then I'd add a fifth suggestion which would be for the Academy Commandant's Staff and PE department to try and start-up a more robust and viable intramurals program and competition between the companies. If the 5K run at the beginning of each Academic Year is any indication of interest and enthusiasm, I'd suggest there is a better than 50% chance such a program would be well received and embraced by the regiment.
     
  17. humility

    humility New Member

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    Well intentioned parents need to realize this is not grammar school anymore. The mids don't need 'den mothers' any longer or those OUTSIDE of administration planning activities for them- I know mine doesn't!! For goodness sake, this is a Federal Service Academy. Do we all recall the unpleasantness posted by cookiecafemom & others on this website when they tried interfering and talking poorly about the admin at KP all under the 'guise' of helping Mid morale? Let sleeping dogs lie.
     
  18. cookiecafemom

    cookiecafemom Member

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    Exactly the reason I started this thread. Thanks Baseballmom
     
  19. Kram1

    Kram1 Member

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    Indeed we do recall all that.....parents need to support their Mids and stay out of the way...a long way out of the way!

    I have witnessed first hand what so-called "well intentioned parents" can do, and it's not pretty nor is it helpful in many many cases. It's usually "well intentioned parents" who are either helicopter parents or have some personal axe to grind. There is a right way and wrong way for parents to be involved. Most Parent Clubs do a great job and offer many opportunities for parents to be involved the "right way" along with presenting many good "morale" boosters for Mids. Try getting involved in your local Parents' Association...if you don't have one...think about staring one.
     
  20. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    That was my first thought when this thread was posted - why isn't the KP Parent's Association the main focus of this? This "morale boost" or "let's make KP a better place for the Mids" seems like something right up their alley, something for parents to get behind and support through their local (or national) chapter.

    Or maybe the thread was initiated to intentionally bypass the KP PA?

    PS - I have no idea how "involved" or active the KP Parent's Association is at this time, or if this thread was initiated in conjunction with the KP PA's request for input.

    Just my 2¢.
     

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