Parents at I-Day or Parents' Weekend?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by tri_mom, Feb 27, 2014.

  1. tri_mom

    tri_mom Member

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    Which is more important to attend as a parent/family - I-Day or Parents' Weekend? Flights alone will cost over $3000/trip for parents and baby sister. We had planned on sending DS to I-Day alone until we started watching the online videos of the day/plebe summer and it seems like everyone has entire families there.
     
  2. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    Parent's weekend by far. I-Day you will spend at most like 20 minutes with your kid after you drop them off, late in the afternoon at the swearing in ceremony but that's it. They'll be tired, hot, and pretty rattled.
    Plenty of people don't have family there, despite what the videos show. Other people around will be more than willing to let your son borrow a phone or something. Not really a parent/family necessary event.

    At Parent's Weekend you'll get to see your son for much longer, actually get to go out in town with him, and be able to go up on deck to see his room/meet his classmates (and maybe detailers). There's a lot more going on for you to do with him. There are people every year who don't get family at Parent's Weekend and classmates will help them out, but if you have the option to go? Go.
     
  3. 808DAD

    808DAD Member

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    I know the feeling. If my DS gets in its averaging $900 per plane ticket (wife, son, daughter and me), $35 a day for car rental, and about $100 a night for the hotel. I asked in another thread if anyone knows of any travel companies that gives discounts for cadet families to travel. One member stated that the academy would only reimburse for the cadet to travel from home. I don't know if this is only for their plebe year nor did I ask for more information about this.
     
  4. gonavy14

    gonavy14 Member

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    The Navy will only reimburse your son for his flight to the Academy for I-Day. They won't pay for any other flights for him to come home or to go back to the Academy after leave.
     
  5. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American

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    Tough decision...

    I can speak with experience here. We have been through two I-Days and two Plebe Parent Weekends.

    The bad news is that it is expensive to attend. Plane tickets if you're far away (we drove to I-Days and flew to Parent's Weekend) or gas if you drive.

    If you fly, you'll need a rental car. More $$$ Hotels are expensive, as Annapolis businesses like to charge a premium during big events at the academy.

    The good news however is, that there are really only four times during the four years when you will feel like you "have" to be there.

    * I-Day July of plebe year
    * Plebe Parent's Weekend After Plebe summer
    * Herndon At the conclusion of Plebe year
    * Commissioning at the end of the roller coaster

    I agree that Plebe Parent's Weekend is very important. For us though, dropping off on I Day (after a long road trip) was great. It is seeing your "child" off to the next step. You'll feel better if you do it.

    Herndon is optional (as all really are) and it celebrates the transition from plebe to 3rd class. It is a rite of passing that the kids are really proud of. It is also some more quality time together.

    Commissioning... If you're alive, be there. What a great day.

    Your kid is getting a free education. If you have saved up for it and have the money, go. Go to I-Day. Go to all four of these. You don't have to take all the siblings, but you'll be glad you went.

    As for Youngster and second class years, visiting the yard is OK... but not necessary. We did go a couple of times, but the kids get to come home in summer, for Thanksgiving, For Christmas, and maybe in the Spring too. We got to see them. Plebe year is tough though. We cherish those memories of seeing them at USNA.

    Good luck and ENJOY!!!!!!!! Anyone with questions feel free to PM me.
     
  6. tri_mom

    tri_mom Member

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    Thanks for the info! I mentioned to my husband that maybe he'd want to fly out to I-Day to do the personal swearing in (he's a retired Naval Officer) but I didn't get much of a response. If we both go then we gotta bring the 6 year old with us.

    From the videos I was led to believe that they don't really get any summertime off. I guess that's not true? Thanksgiving is a no-go for DS as it's 1 day to fly home and almost 2 days to fly to MD - time is more of a factor than the $1k plane ticket.
     
  7. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    Every summer your mid will probably get one of the summer "blocks" (3-4 weeks) off, unless he chooses to take an extra training block or summer school (or is forced to take summer school/is on restriction for being bad or something).

    Don't sweat him not being able to come home for Thanksgiving. There's a lot of people who live in MD/VA/DC area who are more than willing to host a classmate for Thanksgiving. A lot of west-coasters don't make it home for Thanksgiving.

    I'll toss out there that in lieu of Herndon, 2/C Parent's weekend is more valuable (but neither, uh, really is). You'll get to see your child in more of a leadership role and get a sense of how they've developed professionally since plebe year. For me, when my parents came it was inordinately stressful (long story), but a lot of people really seemed to enjoy their family there.
     
  8. Vista123

    Vista123 Member

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    Thanks Hurricane!!! I was feeling guilty about not being able to make Herndon (second son's graduation takes priority).
     
  9. haz

    haz Member

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    We did both, however he is our only child. I-day there is a lot of information available to parents and a brief by the UNSA leadership. You will only get to spend about 20 minutes with your plebe after they take the oath.

    PPW-this was the most imprtant for our plebe, after dealing with pleabe summer and not having access to his friends or family he really needed the time with us away from the Academy. You will get them on Friday after noon meal formation till 10:00 pm, then on Satrudary after the formal parade until mindnight, and Sunday from 8:00 till 6:00pm.

    We are from California so we understand how hard it is for them to come home (ours did not come home for Thanksgiving). If I had to pick then PPW would be my choice, but I if asked I would pay the money to do both again.
     
  10. Blondie1

    Blondie1 Member

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    haz--we are from Ca as well. Have told DS he would not be able to come home for Thanksgiving--what do the midshipmen do that stay there for Thanksgiving?
     
  11. mjm

    mjm Member

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    @blondie1

    I am on the east coast in CT ... I will welcome any midshipman to our home that can not go home due to logistics. My DS is class of 2018 and I am sure I am not alone in welcoming midshipman to their homes on holidays !! :thumb:
     
  12. OysterMom

    OysterMom Member

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    I would echo this re: Herndon vs. 2/C weekend. In fact, there's a chance that your Plebe will not participate in the Herndon climb if he/she gets a block zero summer training assignment (because of sports or other commitments).

    As far as Thanksgiving weekend, in addition to local MIDN families there are also Plebe Sponsor families who offer a "home away from home" (translation: a place for sleeping, doing laundry and eating) not only over holidays, but also during weekend liberty, when it happens.
     
  13. haz

    haz Member

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    Blondie 1: Our DS was lucky enough to be invited to his roomates house for Thanksgiving who lived in Alabama. Some mids stay with their sponser families. You will find they are very resourcfull and will always find a solution.
     
  14. mrs. m

    mrs. m Member

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    Appointment thread

    Tri Mom,

    If your DS/DD got an appointment, please post it on the appointment thread. It helps all of us waiting! Thanks and congrats! It is a great problem to have!
     
  15. Blondie1

    Blondie1 Member

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    So glad to hear he has options. Feeling a little mom guilt telling him no Thanksgiving at home--flights at Christmas will be expensive enough! A friend jokingly told us that the amount of money we will spend on hotels and flights the next four years would be enough to pay his tution at top university!!!:shake:
     
  16. RNrecruiter

    RNrecruiter Member

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    Really try to do both I-Day and PPW!

    Our DS is a plebe this year at USNA. We are from the West Coast and can relate to the difficulties and expense of traveling to USNA. I day and PPW are really two different experiences. For me, PPW was more about the exhilaration and relief of seeing our boy knowing he and his classmates had survived Plebe Summer.

    The I day experience was more about acknowledging our oldest was now an adult, making an adult decision and a commitment that would change him for the rest of his life. Our school district graduates late in June so DS left for USNA just 5 days after graduation. I went from making his school lunches every day to saying Good-bye to him and all the daily mommy duties and knowing he wouldn’t be back for 6 months at Christmas (DS did not come home for Thanksgiving).

    I-Day was more meaningful for me (for DS I-Day was a blur)! We left the younger siblings at home and just my husband and I accompanied son to I Day. We arrived in Annapolis 1 ½ days before I day. My son attended NASS, but it was the first trip to the Yard for my husband and me. We spent the day before I-Day exploring Annapolis and USNA. We hit the Mid store and some of the main sites on campus (Chapel, Bancroft Hall, etc.). Son met many incoming plebes that day, even some of his future company and squad mates – which was a HUGE bonus!

    DS had a 0630 report time on I-Day. Coming from West Coast, getting up at 0500 to eat breakfast and drive to the Academy felt like 2 am and we knew it was going to be a long day. DS couldn’t wait to get to the Academy. We parked at the Stadium and took the bus shuttle to the Academy. I was devastated because when we got there, he lined up and dashed inside so suddenly that I never even got one photo of all three of us together. I couldn’t even cry because it all happened in a flash. DS just wanted the day to start and all I got was a hug before he headed into Alumni Hall for processing. Needless to say I was devastated and got angry at my poor husband (for some reason, I blamed him for not slowing our son down long enough for a photo). My long-suffering husband took my misplaced wrath in stride and immediately signed us up for the first Yard tour that started at 0800. We had to wait for an hour, so I got to see many other mids saying good-bye to their families. The atmosphere was full of excitement, anticipation (and yes, some tears). We did run into another San Diego plebe we had met at the San Diego Parent Club Plebe Picnic a few weeks earlier. His family couldn’t make it to I-Day and his Dad had texted us to look for him. The crowds were quite large, but amazingly we were able to find his plebe and take pictures (so I ended up having I-Day pictures with a plebe that was not my own!).

    We stayed on the Yard the whole day! There were so many things to do! After the tour, we hit the Mid store again, went into the Museum, attended the Family Information Expo and the Welcome Aboard Family Picnic (you will get information about all the events in your I Day packet).

    I waited for the buses on the stairs outside of the Mid store and got to see the newly processed plebes running up to Bancroft Hall and getting yelled by the detailers. I was fortunate enough to see my mid get off the bus (it’s really hard to tell them apart – they all look exactly the same. Luckily he wore glasses, so it was just a tiny bit easier identifying him). I saw him get yelled at by the Summer Detailers and broke down into tears. My husband was at Dahlgren Hall and I called him on the cell sobbing because I could see DS getting grilled and screamed at by a whole pack of detailers. Later that day, I found out my son actually thought the screaming session was funny. He had attended a Varsity meeting for his sport the night before and met a group of summer detailers. On I-Day they recognized him when he got off the bus and were giving him “what for”, but DS said the things they were screaming were actually kind of humorous and he was enjoying that particular screaming session (all my bawling was unnecessary!).

    Everyone says your child changes when you see them after the I-Day ceremony in the afternoon, and they are 100% correct. The 20-30 minutes with your plebe before they go back into formation and march into Bancroft hall is priceless. As others will say, bring something for your plebe to sit on and bring food/snacks and drinks. Stay away from colored Gatorade because you don’t want them to spill anything on their white uniforms. Let them talk, but try to not ask too many questions. They are tired, hungry and stressed!

    Just before our plebe ran back to formation, he gave us a folded-up two page letter. One of the advantages of an early report time is having a little more down time in their room compared to plebes reporting later in the day. Finding he had a few moments after unpacking all his gear and straightening his room, DS wrote us a heartfelt letter. That letter was a complete gift (and surprise)! When your plebe marches into Bancroft Hall and the big doors slam shut with a somber “Boom”; it really feels like you are saying good-bye to your child forever. When you see them again at PPW – they will be changed young men and women.

    After son went into Bancroft, husband and I walked over to the Fountain and sat down to read the letter. It was one of the most moving experiences of my life. We stayed on the Yard until it got dark, just quietly talking and re-living the day. After the crazy crowds during the day, the Yard at dusk was quiet, serene and we enjoyed the park-like setting and beautiful buildings. We caught the very last bus back to the stadium.

    Six weeks later for PPW, we brought the whole family from California; two younger siblings, also my sister, BIL and 3 nephews. PPW was crazy, chaotic and wonderful, but I wouldn’t trade I-Day for anything! If there is any way you can do both I Day and PPW, then I would recommend it. We were on a budget and found since we were renting a car anyway and driving to USNA, flying to Reagan was cheaper than BWI (by over $100.00 a ticket). To keep the costs down, we opted for just my husband and me to go to I Day and not the whole family. If there is a way you can go to both – please try to make it happen!

    p.s. My only regret of I-Day was not having a picture of all three of us before he reported that morning. But to my amazement, a roving photographer did snap a picture of all three of us that morning and posted it to one of the many Academy FB sites. So in the end, everything worked out perfectly! Sorry for the long post.....got carried away with the memories!
     
  17. Ratdawg81

    Ratdawg81 Member

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    WOW......great post!!!!
     
  18. mrs. m

    mrs. m Member

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    What a beautiful post! I am teary.
     
  19. tri_mom

    tri_mom Member

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    RNrecruiter - amazing post! Thank you. After listening to what everyone had to say we are working on taking our "last" family vacation the 2 weeks before I-Day so the cost and time will be absorbed into that. We will even get our oldest there for those weeks so it'll be special. That is if we can decide on the trip - so far we can only agree on one of the two weeks. Thanks to everyone for the great info! DS will definitely sign up for a sponsor family. I heard that they could be lasting bonds too. DS should do a sport or two so that should help him. Mrs. M - I haven't added to the Class of 2018 because his BFE hasn't arrived. The Senator called Tuesday, but the mail is taking longer!
     
  20. Prepswimmom

    Prepswimmom Member

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    That was beautiful. I was crying - for your experience, your thoughtful son who wrote you a beautiful letter and part for myself who so desperately hopes my sons Iday dreams come true.


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