On the Need for Badges

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by KingsPtDad, Jul 29, 2010.

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  1. KingsPtDad

    KingsPtDad Member

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    I'm sorry to be obtuse, but I still don't fully understand the necessity of purchasing badges for parents' weekend.

    If it is a question of making a donation to cover costs, I'm OK with that. I'm not out to be stingy. However, if I'm to assess the value of the badges to me and my family, I need more info.

    I guess my specific question is this. If my wife and I were to simply show up to KP on Friday, 9/3 with no badges, would this limit our access to our DS in any way?

    Any enlightenment on this score would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. MBK518

    MBK518 Member

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    My husband had the same concerns - he contacted the Academy directly via email (not the parents association) and received reply w/i 24hrs...Basically, you may attend the Acceptance Day parade and ceremony - watch the swearing in at no cost. Then you retrieve your Plebe after the football game. The badge fees cover the additional "events', ie: tours; hospitality refreshments; picnic lunch for Friday; dinner with your P/C on Friday evening at the Chow Hall (Delano); "Beat Retreat" Admission Friday night; Hospitality refreshments again Sat. morning; and Buffet lunch Saturday. It remains unclear if one might pay for admission to "Beat Retreat" on an individual basis - apart from the other events offered. All of this is spelled out pretty clearly in the Parent's Association Event Schedule: http://site.usmmanationalparentsassociation.info/Schedule.html where they annotate ("cost included with registration fee"). We were astounded at the additional cost also - and there are only 2 of us to consider! Coupled with airline fares and hotel fees, this becomes an extraordinary family expense! If "Beat Retreat" admission is available at the door, then we may well forgo all the food extras and just 'hang out'. You'll (we'll) still be able to see the lunchtime muster at Barney Sq./the parade and swearing in/and the football game is additional anyway...Good luck making your call - we appreciate the parent's association and all the effort that has obviously gone into this event, but the bottom line is some of us are ecstatic about the free tuition for a reason...lol...and we're not the ones griping about the dorms either.
     
  3. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

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    Okay, together, all Plebe parents on 'three':

    One, two, three:

    "Badges?... We don't need no... stinkin' badges!"

    Sorry. Couldn't help it. The Devil made be do it. Back to your regularly scheduled program
     
  4. MBK518

    MBK518 Member

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    I suggest going to the "horses mouth" with specific questions about what's available to attend at no cost or at "door" prices:
    Office of Public Affairs
    U.S. Merchant Marine Academy
    Kings Point, NY 11024-1699
    Phone: 516-773-5387
    Fax: 516-773-5509
    schermerhornm@usmma.edu

    To find link to Public Affairs page on USMMA site (not easy,lol): from homepage - Admin & Services - to Administration & Business - to Public Affairs -
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2010
  5. MorganC

    MorganC Prospective

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    Mongo,

    Thanks for the laugh. Blazing Saddles is awesome.
     
  6. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    Please be aware that USMMA is NOT responsible for acceptance/parents weekend. This is now solely the responsibility of the parent's association with probably some minimal help from Academy staff. The horses mouth in this case will be the Parent's association.

    A note from Mary Jane Fuschetto notes that the "Myriad of options" available in years past (individual event tickets, etc) would not be availabe this year due to the logistics of it. I urge everyone to read the notes from Ms. Fuschetto that I posted in one of these threads, it will give you great insight into why the cost.

    If the parent's association cannot support the cost of the weekend then they will likely not be any future parent's weekends and then how would all the midshipmen meet all the sisters? :biggrin:
     
  7. KP2014Mid

    KP2014Mid New Member

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    The part about the sisters is very funny...but I am almost sure that there will always be the parades, the touring of the classrooms and the sporting events at USMMA, that all parents are afforded the opportunity to attend. So as for stating that there "will likely not be any future parent's weekends", as a parent I find that somewhat hard to believe... :wink:
     
  8. wolfe834

    wolfe834 Member

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    :eek: Too bad for 2015 PC's (In my best Forrest Gump Voice) And that's all I got to say about that!
     
  9. baxted

    baxted Member

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    Having attended Parent's weekend last year as a newbie I can tell you the cost is nothing compared to the gain. I don't have the experience of Jasperdog and many others but I can tell you that the paid events like the receptions, lunches, etc were a huge part of the weekend as you meet and talk with others going through (or have gone through) what you are experiencing now. It would be a heck of a loss to not have those opportunities. The Beat Retreat, the ball game, the parade are fantastic but you aren't spending time with with anyone as you are too busy with your eyes glued to binoculars trying to find your DS/DD! Being an ancient engineering prof myself, the class time with my DS was great fun (besides, I could do the problems) but the time with the other parents and students at the receptions and all is a must.

    There were four of us attending last year and when you throw in the lodging, and the obligatory Mets game for son #2, it is a vacation in the sense of cost. But well worth it.
     
  10. kpfran14

    kpfran14 Member

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    As a plebe parent, I do not know if I have enough information to say I will not buy a badge. I read what everyone is writing and have talked to another parent about it. My husband and I do agree the price is high especially when you add that on top of the other costs involved with the weekend. In reading what the parent organization has written and believing a lot of time and planning has gone into the weekend to make it better then last year. I would like to support them when I can. I am thinking back to when it was time for my son's class to go to Washington DC the district canceled the trip for that year because the previous year did not follow school procedure. I know no rules are being broken but I would hate for anyone to say 2014 did not participate so we can no longer have parents weekend. Like I said I do not know enough about USMMA to say that will not happen. For example the new plebe rules for this year.
     
  11. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    On The Need For Badges ...

    KingsPtDad:

    I'm confused you don't indicate the price or total cost of the badges will be a hardship for you to bear and this point has been covered several times before but I'll go though this in a direct manner from my perspective, of course if you want it from the "horse's mouth" I'd contact Mary Jane and/or Rocco Fuschetto the National Co-Chairs or Suzanne Grabowski.

    That said:

    Point/Question 1: "If my wife and I were to simply show up to KP on Friday. 9/3 with no badges (and not share the burden of the cost of the event and in effect freeload on the good will of those who do so freely and willingly - additional details added by jasperdog), would this limit our access to our DS in any way?" Short answer: Yes but only slightly in that you would not have access to your DS during the period when lunch is served in Delano Hall and you'd have to scare up you own "vittles" at the Seafarer Cafe' aka "The Canteen". I don't off the top of my pointy head think there's anything else you'd be precluded from seeing/doing with your son but I could be wrong. Further these days Lunch is "the big meal" at the USMMA and seeing the event transpire is interesting as is eating with the Regiment, though the ranking as the worst college food in America is still deserved IMHO. I've covered this elsewhere.

    Point/Question 2: You state: "If it is a question of making a "donation" to help cover costs, I'm okay with that. I'm not out to be stingy. However, if I'm to assess the value of the badges to me and my family, I need more information." I know you're not stingy, just intelligently frugal, right? You clearly don't want your participation in this event, to erode in any way, the good sense, and clear understanding of the value "of a buck" you've spent the past 18 years instilling in your son. He's going to need all the grounding in financial realism he can get upon graduation when he is part of the 95% of USMMA graduates that are well within the Top 5% of wage earning taxpayers in the nation. It's not really a donation, it is however, you doing your part to pick up your and your family's share of the cost of attending the event. For example, should during the day you or your family want to meet up someplace out of the blaring sun, rain or whatever, if you suggest doing so in one of the tents in the common grassy area by Barney Square - well that tent is not always there, it's rented for the weekend by the Parent's Association, etc. Look if you have a hardship or for whatever reason it's an afford ability issue I'm sorry for being harsh. If you don't then just go on-line and buy the badge - your kid is getting an education that will be worth over $200,000 for what will likely be a total of ~12,000 of midshipmen activities fees over the next four years. That's a good deal, if you want to share the full range of the day and do the right thing assuming you can afford it as you imply, the right thing is doing your part in ensuring the midshipmen and families that come after your have a similar opportunity. - That's paying for the badges and not acting like we're all at the Bazaar in Istanbul so we need to "haggle" to make sure we understand we got proper value for the price.

    If you're still "confused" after reading all the responses and the information on the National Parents Association, I'd then contact the folks who are "the Horse's Mouth".
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2010
  12. kdbax

    kdbax Member

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    And last year during the monsoon the tents were a godsend....:shake:
     
  13. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    slight correction

    As was noted to me I misspoke earlier. I believe the Foundation is also providing support for the Parent's Weekend.

    My apologies for forgetting to mention this very important group.
     
  14. KingsPtDad

    KingsPtDad Member

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    Thanks Jasper

    :cool:

    I really meant what I said. I was looking for honest info. Your perspective seems to be that the $300 is, at its heart, a donation as opposed to payment for goods and services rendered, and I'm cool with that. For the record, though, you're the first person to say what I had come to suspect.

    Imo, it should be advertised as such. I'll bet you $300 they'd take in more money that way.

    :wink:
     
  15. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    I would definitely disagree with the assumption that it is a donation. They have to cover costs somehow. They are getting food served from the O' Club, they are having several tents, they are putting together goodie bags (I believe), etc, etc. This money doesn't just come from magic sources. Rentals alone probably account for several thousand dollars. Remember, we're also talking Long Island prices here as well.

    Anyway, if it makes you feel better to say it's a donation go ahead; however, you won't be getting a tax write-off for it because you are getting goods/services in return.
     
  16. shutterbugC

    shutterbugC Member

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    Ok, let me put my 2 cents in, not that it really matters. How about the hotel you are staying in, that cost and the airplane tickets and car rentals - did you get a deal on them? Oh, and before I forget, how about the activities you will be doing and paying for on Sunday and Monday and least I forget, the food - NY prices. Everything is so expensive for sure, the Academy is NOT where you need to cut cost.
    Ok, I have said my piece. Do I get change back with that?
     
  17. kdbax

    kdbax Member

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    As someone who has had to make arrangements for various events in the downstate NY area (NOT related to KP), believe me when I say that the parents' associations aren't making much (if any) money off Parents' Weekend. NYC and LI are expensive areas.
     
  18. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    I just want to make sure that I, and others, make it clear that I hope I'm not coming off strong here or sounding "demanding".

    I believe that this is an important discussion given very recent changes to Parent's Weekend. I completely understand if some people simply don't have the finances to afford an additional few hundred dollars given the expense of travel already.

    I know personally, being the fiscal frugal I am, I would be balking at the additional cost as well and would be asking the same questions. But in the end I think the best answer is to participate if your particular situation allows.

    Apologies in advance if I came off a bit gruff.
     
  19. Sea Faring Moose Mom

    Sea Faring Moose Mom Member

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    Costs

    Please read the following with a gentle, encouraging voice......I have for the last 4 years stuck my fiancial neck out to be able to see my DD on Parent Weekends. It has been very expensive for me as a single parent, teacher salary, and student loan holder for the other daughter. I am still paying on my Master Card from the first, second, thrid and now the fourth PW has been charged since Aprii.

    The focus of the weekend is to see my DD. You can not get any idea of what the USSMA is about without being there. You can not imagine the INTENSITY of campus atmosphere, the academic and life stresses. This school is not your typical college campus. Remember these TOP students are finishing their Bachelor's Degree in 3 year's? The only relaxation that I see is when they are involved in their sport or activity. Returning from Parents Weekend gave me a great perspective when i received phone calls that made me wonder why DD every decided to go there.

    So yesterday began my DD First Class Year. The phone call sounded discouraging....yes, Sea Year Projects are in, back to being a student, back to the confines of a barracks, and the ever looming Licensing Exams......Again, I will be going to see my DD. Master Card will make quite a bit off of interest off of my Parents Weekends and i am NOT even going to think about the 10 days of Graduation cost. (I am saving those tax returns for parts of this expense).

    I do encourage you to go and spend time on campus. There is much knowledge and understanding in just being there.
     
  20. NYBEAR

    NYBEAR Member

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    Parents Weekend Costs

    I have to say something at this point after reading all the comments. I too was trying to figure out the "value" of the "badge". Especially since I live about an hour away and expect my son to want to get off campus as fast as he can on Saturday?.....I completely understand that costs are associated with hosting a weekend event like this. I would not hesitate to make a donation to the cause if asked or advised that it was needed to offset true expenses.

    What I do not understand is the poor explanation as to what the badge will get as opposed to just showing up for the events? And the condescending tone of some respondents as to the "free education" and the future value of " potential earnings" of KP graduates?

    While I believe the " Parents Association" is very well intentioned, I also believe that they did not think through or explain the price structure of this weekend very well at all.

    I have been involved in many volunteer organizations in my day. When money was needed, we asked for it....Never did we ever try to sell a bill of goods to anyone.
     
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