Questions about I-Day and Parents' Weekend

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by HeyClaire, Mar 3, 2010.

  1. HeyClaire

    HeyClaire Member

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    I am becoming pretty overwhelmed thinking about the plans that I need to make for I-Day and Parents Weekend - so I have some questions for the parents who have already been through this experience. Thanks in advance for your help!

    First of all, what exactly is the schedule for the summer? I know that I-Day is July 1st and that Parents Weekend is in the middle of August. Will my son be returning home during the few weeks between the end of Plebe summer and the beginning of the school year or do the Plebes stay at the Academy during those two weeks? I guess my question is - Will my son be returning home after Plebe summer ends or is he there to stay once he arrives for I-Day in July? What exactly is the schedule for their time at home before the school year begins?

    Secondly, what were your travel plans? Did you drive or fly to Annapolis? How long did you stay? More importantly, where did you stay? We will be traveling from Illinois.

    The most important question is - did you attend both I-Day and Parents Weekend? If your son came home between the end of Plebe summer and the start of the school year, did you return to the Academy with him at the end of August? How many trips did you make and what was the duration of each one? Did both parents attend each weekend?

    I have 7 children and my dilemma is whether or not they will make any trip to Annapolis during the summer and if not, what my plans for each one will be. The month of August is crazy around here with prepping 2 kids (not including my son who will be attending the Academy) for college, 2 kids in high school who will be involved in sports and 2 younger school children - and they all start school in August. I sincerely want to be there for my son during I-Day and Parents Weekend and I am trying to make it work... I was just wondering what other parents have done when they went through this experience.

    Thanks again for your help - Please send me a private message if it is easier for you.
     
  2. jennyp

    jennyp Parent

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    Claire: Everyone does it a little different. But I will relay our experience. Like you, I made the plans based on what I learned in these forums!

    First, your son will not come home between plebe summer and school. There is no "between." Last year, they had a week of plebe summer left after PPW, then the rest of the brigade returns from their summer cruises and they have "reform." They get re-organized, uppers get to know the plebes, and classes start, generally earlier than public universities.

    Secondly, go if you can to both. Beg, borrow and steal, if necessary! If you can only do one, do PPW. You will be dying to see your son after plebe summer and he will need to see you as well. I-Day is fantastic. But, in all reality, once he walks in to Alumni Hall very early in the am, you will not see him again (save for some spying oppoirtunities we will detail on here as I-Day approaches....) until he takes the oath then you have maybe 30 minutes with him. Those without a parent in attendance were grouped together and allowed to call home. But the ceremony and festive atmosphere for the famiilies is pretty cool.

    You need to be there PPW. Your plebe will get to leave the yard all day every day for three days. They will want to go to your hotel room, watch tv, get on the computer, facebook, etc and SLEEP! Husband and I could not both get away, so I went solo. It was a fabulous, precious time for son and I.

    I have three kids, one of whom married a couple of weeks before I-Day. The newlyweds cut their honeymoon short to save some of it up to come to I-Day.

    Our travel plans were about as convoluted as they come. Daughter (age 15) and I drove. 1800 miles. Reasoning we wanted to see the country and have our vehicle when all 6 of us got there. Newlyweds met us in Norfolk, VA, they flew in. We spent 3 days at Virginia Beach. Which was originally designed to be a family vacation before I-Day. But, USNA bound son had a schedule change and had to be at a conference for an organization he was national youth president of......it was originally scheduled for a week earlier. Anyway, he felt he needed to be at that conference. So, he and his Dad flew out on Saturday. We picked them up after our little beach vacation. Spent Saturday evening and Sunday in DC, museums, monuments, etc. The kids kind of went one way each day, hubby and I another. Then we'd meet up for lunch or to see a momument or something.

    We migrated over to Annapolis on Monday morning. We rented a house since we would have needed two hotel rooms for 6 of us. It was about two blocks from main gate and we loved it. The kids hung out, watched tv, we went to USNA day before I-day and got son's bank acct set up, shopped at mid store. Walked around downtown, laid around house some more.

    Son had an early check in for I-Day, which was Wednesday, like 6:30 am. I fixed his favorite breakfast, and we all walked to Alumni Hall with him. I cried when he walked in. Hubby and I stayed on yard all day. Other kids in and out. Picnic for families on parade grounds. We got the word on where to see plebes as they went about their day one activities, so actually caught sight of ours once hauling gear from bus up stairs into Bancroft. We grabbed some good seats for the swearing in and took turms holding those. Got to spend a few minutes with son after ceremony. I cried again when he went back into Bancroft.

    Hubby and I walked the next morning onto the yard and saw the plebes on their first morning run. Caught a glimpse of ours again. We kind of stepped behind a dumpster so he would not think we were stalking him. I probably cried again!

    Hubby flew home that afternoon. Other kids and I began the long drive back to Texas.

    PPW: I flew up Thursday. Plebes released Friday morning. We ate, spent all afternoon and evening at hotel: he watched tv, computer, slept. Repeated this pattern for three days. Did hit Target for an ironing board and a few supplies. Town was covered in plebe famiies. Met his friends, company mates. Saw his room (there's only twice in their USNA time you get up to their rooms, this is one of them!)

    My flight out was Monday afternoon. So, I did the morning walk on the yard again (beautiful place to walk, always see a number of folks doing so) and saw plebe running. Got a huge smile from him. Which made driving away from Annapolis and to airport easier although, I believe I cried again!

    We patched it together as best we could. You might consider the whole family vacation idea approaching I-Day. But, Claire, with 7 kids, my summer probably wasn't any busier than yours! We have horses and cattle, so find it hard to all get away together. We were thankful to have the whole gang there for three days together. I could tell it meant alot to plebe son.

    If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to ask! Others will have different tales.......
     
  3. themutis

    themutis Member

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    While I have never been through this before either (my son will be at I-Day on July 1st) - I can share with you what I've learned and what our plans are.

    We are from NJ, so we will be driving. We'll arrive on June 30th with our son and 3 other children - two older, one younger than our Son. The lacrosse coach has invited all the incoming plebes on the lacrosse team to his house for a picnic. This should be nice and give us all a sense of belonging, I think :)

    We are staying at the Loews (booked it through hotwire - 84.00/night). As I said in other threads, we've booked 4 times on hotwire and have found that the 4-star hotels have either been the Loews or the Westin. If you're a walker - both are withing walking distance to downtown and the Academy.

    For PPW - my husband and I will be arriving Thursday night and leaving Monday morning. We are looking into renting a house/condo for this long weekend. Our other kids/grandparents will come down for Saturday so we can have a family reunion.

    My understanding is that Plebe's don't get to come home until Thanksgiving.
     
  4. USNA84

    USNA84 Member

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    I-Day & PPW

    Having been through this myself as a Mid and twice now as a parent, here's some advice, FWIW.

    My mom dropped me off at Boston Logan airport on July 7th, 1980 - boy was that a long time ago - and I went to Annapolis myself for I-Day. Found a "drag house" (basically a rooming house in town for visitors) to stay the night with three other new Mids, one of whom was in my company. We walked to the Academy the next day for I-Day and reported in. It's all a big blur with a few memorable moments...

    My p's came with my siblings for PPW and stayed with a relative in the area.

    As parents, and because it was all new to my wife, we went to I-Day for both boys in 2006 and 2007. We dropped them off at Alumni Hall at 7:30 AM (or thereabouts) and then didn't see them again until directly after the swearing in at 6:30 PM for about 45 minutes. It made my wife feel better to see them in uniform and after the "haircut", but I could have lived without it.

    So, if you're trying to figure out which to choose - if you're not doing both - my unsolicited advice would be do PPW and not I-Day.

    Do both if you can, because there is a lot going on during the day for parents - Academy tours, Mid Store shopping, lunch in Annapolis, but realize your time with your son will be pretty short on I-Day. It might make you feel better about him being there and give you a better understanding of what he will be doing.
     
  5. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    I agree with the above. If you have to choose PPW is the choice. We also rented a house within walking distance for Thursday through Monday. With eight total it was the best economic choice. Three High School roommates and friends, two siblings and parents. It was much easier with a kitchen as we stocked up with groceries and plebe was able to relax with friends and not have to spend the weekend in a hotel room or put on uniform for breakfast, lunch and dinner. House had parking so we didn't have to move the car once we arrived and stocked up. We did some cookouts on the grill which was great. I was glad I didn't have to pay the water bill for the first shower:shake:.
     
  6. themutis

    themutis Member

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    AF6872 - who did you use to book your house?
     
  7. MJOmom

    MJOmom Member

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    We flew in from the west coast a few days before I-Day to help with the 3-hour time difference adjustment and to have time to visit with family in the area ... these last few days were very precious to plebe son and his twin siblings ... and it was crucial that we were there ... by the end of I-Day my son was a mess. He thought he was prepared ... but really nothing can prepare you ... some deal with it better than others ... he truly needed us by the end of the day .. it was very, very hard. Others were less traumatized.

    PPW just his dad and I went ... and it was good. We didn't know what to expect ... he probably would have liked the distraction of seeing siblings too ... we went to a movie, hung out etc ... but it was hard to go back because he had gotten to relax ... and let his guard down ... having to go back in was bracing ... he knew what was coming ... maybe some deal with it better ... and that's good ... but being there and just hugging them is so essential ... I think it's so much tougher than going off to a regular college ... which you can visit nearly any time ... and prepping for high school ... which is pretty much routine and around the corner ... if it is at all possilbe be there for both events for your plebe ... it's better to go and be relieved at how well it went, then to NOT go and learn of devestation and heartache ...

    This can be rough ... but it does get better and the growth is amazing ... good luck!!!
     
  8. HeyClaire

    HeyClaire Member

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    Thank you all for your advice and helpful information but more importantly, thank you for your kind and encouraging words.
     
  9. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    Themutis:

    We contacted
    http://www.leisuremanagementllc.com/houses.htm

    The houses are twins within easy walking distance to gate 1. If they are still on the rental they are in Eastport and very nice. There are other rental possibilities on the Alumni web site.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2010
  10. HeyClaire

    HeyClaire Member

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    AF6872
    and
    Jennyp -

    I sent you a PM.
     
  11. popeyesmom

    popeyesmom Member

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    We are within 2 hours of USNA so we drove.

    Renting a house for PPW was not in our budget but we had a beautiful room at the Doubletree which was full of Plebes-to-Be. We arrived on June 30th along with grandparents. We all went out to eat at Cantlers Seafood for an early dinner (4-ish). It is very relaxed and several professors who were dining came up to us (easy to spot the Plebes....they don't smile much, are wearing new, white athletic shoes and have an aura of nervousness!) to encourage our son and offer words of wisdom. There were many USNA families there too.

    The Doubletree had a shuttle to USNA for I-Day based on your report time and even had a brown bag breakfast available (as if any of the young men and women could eat). We opted to drive to Memorial stadium to park and then took the USNA shuttle bus to the Academy. We said our goodbyes at Alumni Hall and then headed off to shop at the Mid-store, picnic on the lawn, watch newly-shorn Plebes going here and there and toured the grounds.

    PPW - we stayed again at the hotel....nice because it was away from the downtown crowds (they will get enough of the downtown Annapolis on Saturday leave during the Academic year) and our son was able to relax in the hotel pool, go to the mall to the movies, sleep, facebook, eat, press newly-issued uniforms, sleep.....girlfriend and sister visited on Saturday.

    My advice - do not break the bank. PPW is important but if you are unable to do it, Sponsor families step in or a company-mate's family can step in too! Do what is comfortable for your family. There are even campgrounds in the area at a very reasonable price.
     
  12. HeyClaire

    HeyClaire Member

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    I have another question -

    I just called the Academy and they told me that registration for PPW is Thursday, August 12th. Silly question but what does that mean?

    Do the plebes get to spend any time on Sunday with the family and if they do, do you remember if it was just the morning or all day? I don't know if we should return home Sunday or Monday.

    Thanks again.
     
  13. popeyesmom

    popeyesmom Member

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    Thursday evening there were excellent academic department and support service exhibits for parent viewing, plebe summer photos and videos to view and registration (picking up a parent badge). On Sunday, we picked our son up early and went to church in Annapolis. We went to lunch, a movie and then had him back at USNA in time for him to report for dinner. We stayed and watched the dinner formation.....they were back in their plebe uniforms. We drove back home that evening.....somewhat teary-eyed.
     
  14. usna2012mom

    usna2012mom Member

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    We also came from the west coast, so we arrived a few days early to adjust to time zone and humidity. We spent some family time on the Eastern Shore of MD. We have two sons. Our mid and his younger brother. It was important that they got to spend some time together before older brother reported in. By the time I Day morning came, our soon-to-be plebe was anxious to get on with it. We arrived early to Alumni Hall in order not to be late. Our son told us, "I'm just going to go now..I'm tired of waiting." So we hugged him and said goodbye. He was happy to see us at the end of the day. He was exhausted, but was glad to finally be at USNA. We had a snack for him, he got to call Girlfriend, then he was off again. We didn't stay to watch them march back into Bancroft. I don't know what we were thinking. If we were thinking clearly, we would have stayed.
    It was important for us to make sure our younger son still felt important too. So much attention had been spent on getting into USNA and celebration of the official appointment. After I Day, we spent a few days (4th of July) with younger son in Washington DC. We had a lot of fun together. It was an adjustment for all of us to become a threesome. We were so used to being a foursome.
     
  15. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    Another good thing about staying within walking distance is that you can watch the Plebes bailing out of cars as they try to make Gate 1 during the tremendous traffic jams. Traffic at PPW is a nightmare and if you can leisurely strool to Gate-1 it is worth the money.:biggrin:
     
  16. 1964BGO

    1964BGO Member

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    I strongly recommend you check in with local NA Parents' Club; it will have a wealth of information for newby parents regarding things such as: what to expect, what to wear, how to arrange housing, how to send stuff to mids, what to send, when to send, etc. The local club is hosting a candidates' banquet this month for the appointees and viable candidates and their families (as selected by the AC) where there will be an opportunity for the youngsters to meet each other and current midshipmen home on leave, and hear a program related to USNA and careers in the naval services. In June there will be a family picnic for the new plebes and families to meet again and review the events of plebe summer. In August there will be a meeting for PPV weekend. and in December there will be transportation, etc, set up for the Army Navy game. Mentors are assigned to newby families to help decipher the mystic cards and calls from plebes. I strongly recommend membership unless you are masochistic and want to suffer all by yourself.
     
  17. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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  18. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    Having been through it myself, I don't think I'd be able to do the tours, shopping, etc. while my kid was going through I-Day. I'd be too distracted wondering where she was, what she was thinking, etc. :redface:
     
  19. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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  20. kmaidaho

    kmaidaho Member

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    Who pays to get them there?

    Not to hijack this thread, but I was wondering if plebes are responsible for their own travel expenses to I-Day. Does USNA have a provision/allowance for travel?

    Kat
     

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