R-Day Worth Attending?

Discussion in 'Coast Guard Academy - USCGA' started by F15DOC, Mar 29, 2016.

  1. F15DOC

    F15DOC Member

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    So, I have seen on the other forums for USNA/USAFA that RDay/IDay is really not worth parents attending as there is limited time and not much parent focus (obvious).
    However, on the USCGA2020 Parents Facebook page there is a thread about RDay plans for parents preparing to make sure they have lodging, etc. Is it a worthwhile event to attend for the USCGA? I am no sure that us newbie parents will have much insight into that, so how about we start a new conversation about it on here.
    We are in the Seattle area, so a trip to New London, CT is an all day affair, both ways, so this is a trip we are happy to make but certainly want to make sure it is worth the time commitment.
    1) Have any of you attended a USCGA R Day?
    2) What was the experience like?
    3) Was it worthwhile, would you do it again?
     
  2. AuxNoob

    AuxNoob CGA Admissions Partner

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    Our travel commitment for us was not as difficult as it would be for you, as for us it is about a >half day car trip. Many parents can't make it for one reason or another, with financial topping the list. However, if you can make it, I would recommend it. There are things planned all day for parents, although the day is not about them. You will meet other parents, and one way or another (social media topping the list) be in contact with them for at least another four years. CGA is a much tighter community than the other military academies, so understand that the USNA/USAFA/USMA parents have a very different experience when they make that recommendation. There are events Saturday and Sunday prior to R-Day for parents and swabs2B as well. The swearing in is memorable. In spite of the fact that the Swabs all look alike, there is every chance you can pick your's out, just because there aren't 1400 cadets out there. Well, at least the females, as they don't lose all their hair.

    So to your questions:
    1) Yes, attended R-Day for the Class of 2017 (nearly Firsties).
    2) Memorable. Parents and swabs were drenched in a downpour that opened up the moment the swearing in finished. In the class picture the uniform shirts are 3 shades darker because they're soaked. Again, I recommend it if you can do it. See below.
    3) Absolutely.

    If you can only do one trip to CGA this year, pass on R-Day and come to Parent's Weekend. That is the standard advice, and correct. But R-Day is worth it if you can make it over the distance. If you can't, there are plenty of parent's who will take your swab under their wing. Single swabs are collected for feeding and drinking for the 10 minutes you get to say goodbye.

    We actually went twice, as our son was in CGAS the year before. And the parents we've kept in touch with were mostly in the CGAS group. We are now planning on where we will rent for graduation next year. The cadets are trying to get us all in the same neighborhood for that week.
     
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  3. TennisDad

    TennisDad CGA Admissions Partner

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    1) yes
    2) an eventful and emotional day
    3) absolutely

    I know parents who did not attend R-Day who regret not having gone. R-Day is a very significant event, for both the Swabs and their family members. When your children's company gets called and they walk away up to the reporting in desk, they are moving away from you and on to a new phase of their life. I think it's something every parent, if they have the means and opportunity, should experience.
     
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  4. F15DOC

    F15DOC Member

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    I don't know, if you watch this video it just looks goofy with all these family members standing around while the new cadets are being herded into their squads... I am not so sure I want to be part of that....
     
  5. FALgarand

    FALgarand Member

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    Having a video record of these scared kids to compare/contrast with the video of their graduating class might be very satisfying as a parent.
     
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  6. skismuggs

    skismuggs Member

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    I'll answer this with a question. How many R-days will you ever attend? For most of us there will be only one. This may be an unpopular opinion but this is also a ride for us parents, so why not get the full experience? If money is not an issue I would go just to say I did.

    I went to I-day and had a great time and met some amazing people who were going through the same thing and emotions. And we've also met people over the years who say they regret they didn't go. Just my $0.2.
     
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  7. TennisDad

    TennisDad CGA Admissions Partner

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    I doubt that you'd find many who have been there who would describe it as "goofy."
     
  8. F15DOC

    F15DOC Member

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    LOL, really I am not trying to downplay this or the importance of it. It's just me, and we may still go, but it just seems so out of place for these kids to be going through what they are going through with a herd of photographing parents around, am I alone on this? LOL, probably! It feels like... ummm "interference" for lack of a better term. Now granted, this may the be military in me coming out... Love the discussion and would really hate to be the one that misses out. Perhaps my best solution is to 1) ask my son what he prefers and 2) if we go, to just stay away from the herding/yelling part and let him experience that alone without our prying eyes. That way we would have the opportunity to meet many of you fine folks, get to watch him reporting in while wearing civvies and most importantly, get to watch the swearing in.
     
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  9. AlexT

    AlexT Banned

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    I

    This is 15 minutes of a very long day. If you don't want to be there for this I understand. At the same time, what does your DS/DD want: Not just being there on R-day, but the day and night before. Do they want family there for their last few hours as a civilian. You can't do anything for them on R-Day. The day before, however, is a different matter. More than likely , they will be anxious, quiet, contemplative, and times even short-tempered.

    For myself, in retrospect, I wouldn't have skipped R-day for the world, if for no other reason to see the look on their faces and in their eyes during the brief 10-minutes they get with family after the swearing-in ceremony.
     
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  10. AlexT

    AlexT Banned

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    I don't know what happened during R-day 2014. For ours, they kept the swabs well out of sight up until the swearing in ceremony to the point that they posted Cadre at various points on the campus to politely direct parents to another location. I was surprised to see so many parents congregated at the Chase Hall entrance. For ours, most parents (actually, I though all parents) were on the bleachers and along the curb along Bear Drive facing the Washington Parade Ground patiently waiting for their swabs to march on. Most parents wanted to be in position to actually see the swearing in ceremony.
     
  11. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Doc, I think everyone has to do what is best for their families. I was just talking with a family today about USNA I Day and they were asking the same things. I think the military side of you understands what the first day or so is like and being watched seems odd and young kids the same age head off to boot camp daily without the big send off too. SAs are part boot camp and dropping off the kid at college all rolled into one confusing, nerve wrecking day! As a military officer, you get the significance of the oath that he will take. If like USNA, he will probably re-take at the end of Swab Summer (can someone confirm this?). We ask new Plebes to do this after the 6 weeks, because now it means something a little different than Day 1 when they were so lost. My parents did not accompany me to I Day at USNA, I preferred it that way. It meant I had put the bye part of things behind me and could just deal with the which way is room, this place looks all the same, darn I turned the wrong way, what acronym was that again all done in a very high decibel! And yes, many kids are fine and just as many do get edgy, agitated and short in the day or two leading up. I think that catches some parents a little off guard, buts its just an appointees way of dealing with the stress, excitement, nerves, etc. Talk to your son, let him think about, talk as a family, figure out what is best for him and you.
     
  12. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Having watched these discussions over the years, for various SAs, I believe it comes down to what feels best for your family. Families have different styles, and that is reflected in the approaches to involvement in these days. Some are "all for one, one for all," and some are at the more hands-off end of the spectrum. No right or wrong here, just different.

    Gather info, look at videos, have a family meeting, make the decision that suits your family. We have known a lot of USNA plebes over the years who came for I-Day with just one family member for moral support, not a gaggle (saved that for PPW), and for photo documentation. One strong hug and "love you," and get on with it.

    Some appointees say their goodbyes at home and tackle R/I Day on their own.

    Figure out your approach and don't worry about what others do or don't do.

    These days used to never have family involvement at all. Appointees showed up, reported in, training began. Times have changed, but there is a wide range of involvement that can be tailored by each family.

    Edit: I swear, Hoops and I seem to show up at the same time, and she always has the most cogent comments!
     
  13. F15DOC

    F15DOC Member

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    As usual Hoops and CaptMJ, those are great responses....
     
  14. MaggieMae66

    MaggieMae66 Member

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    My son said that we better be there on R-Day (if he gets in - hopefully waiting).
     
  15. F15DOC

    F15DOC Member

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    And that, makes a ton more sense to me... but either way, that may be what our family decides to do.
     
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  16. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Before I accepted my appointment I made my parents promise they would come to parents weekend (money was tight at that time), come see me play at least 1 game a year and come to Commissioning week. Luckily they made many more games and events throughout my time! My mom is a crying mess at events like I Day. I didn't want to deal with that, so I asked them to let me do that on my own. Not sure they could of swung the costs that year anyways.
     
  17. Next Generation

    Next Generation Member

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    What does your DS want you to do? IF my DD gets an appointment, she says she wants to go it alone. Our goodbye would be when we drop her off at the airport. I would love to be there and will jump at the chance if she changes her mind, but coming from CA, it would cost our family a big chunk of change. We feel like we'll get more quality time with her at Parents' Weekend. The big question is - will that be 2016 or 2017?? : )
     
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  18. alaska66

    alaska66 CGA Admissions Partner

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    We attended R-day twice (both DDs). Living in Alaska, the trip to New London is not a short one. We actually arrived on the Thursday prior to R-Day and spent the few days leading up to R-Day seeing the sights. This allowed us time just a family, which after R-day becomes more and more rare. We also took our DDs to the campus and allowed them to walk around and actually LOOK around as R-Day does not allow for that. The days leading up to R-Day were filled with laughter, rest, and food, things that are in short supply during swab summer.

    CGA actually has a lot of activities for parents to attend on R-Day. CGA is very attentive and strives to alleviate any fears or doubts that the parents may have about leaving their children in the Academy's hands. The day is also a wonderful opportunity to meet the other parents that you will be on this journey with. Your soon to be swab will know everyone in his class at CGA, which isn't necessarily true at the larger SAs. It's nice to have some faces to go with names, especially of those families that live closer to CGA who will be offering to "adopt" your child since you live so far from CGA.

    Also know that if your soon to be swab is a recruited athlete, many of the teams have get-togethers on the weekend prior to R-Day.

    The time that you have after the swearing in ceremony is something I would not have missed. Seeing your child run across the parade field with a smile and tell you that "I've got this. Don't worry" is a feeling you will remember.
     
  19. lemons

    lemons New Member

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    We've had three R days. Two we went to, one we didn't. I don't regret going and I don't regret the one we didn't go to. Like every has said, it's really a family decision. In our experience, the cadet is really focused on the task ahead and really isn't "engaged" with the family. Once the dust has settled on the appointment (congrats!) I'd say have a discussion about it!
     
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  20. TennisDad

    TennisDad CGA Admissions Partner

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    It is a long day from when you drop them off early in the morning until they march onto the parade field at 3 pm. The academy staff has a series of talks for parents in the auditorium of Leamy Hall in the morning after all the companies have reported. There is some good information presented, although I think the real reason for the event is to keep parents from lurking around the outside of Chase Hall hoping to catch a glimpse of their Swab. I believe last year one of the parents association chapters had arranged bus tours of New London - that would be a nice diversion. The year we went, I wished that I had taken a good book and a blanket so I could have had a snooze in the shade of one of the large trees all over campus.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2016

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