Random Questions

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by TRdeeter, Jul 12, 2015.

  1. TRdeeter

    TRdeeter Member

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    I have a few questions for those of you that have had a child go through BCT.
    Question #1: Is it common for their letters home to not be happy? Is it normal for them to vent about the training? I guess I didn't expect a "hey mom...this is awesome, I love getting yelled and and getting no sleep" kind of letter, but what IS normal?
    Question #2: Are they allowed to go off base to church or spend Sunday mornings with family off base?
    Question #3: During the Acceptance Day Parade, will we be allowed to bring them items, such as care package stuff, or their contacts (eyes), and other things they weren't allowed to bring to BCT?
    Thank you for any responses
     
  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    It's been a busy last 6 months. I miss not being as involved in the forum as I usually am.

    I will answer you and say "YES" is the answer to #1 and #3. As for #2, they are allowed to go to church on sundays, but I am pretty positive that they aren't going off base while in BCT. And that means not spending time with family either. Then again, the rules do change a little each new year, so I'll leave that to a current cadet/cadre to answer.

    One thing you need to remember. Emotions FLY during your time at the academy. From day one on. It is not unusual for letters home to be depressing sounding at times. Sometimes they will sound exciting. This IS NOT SUMMER CAMP. This is basic training and the military. No matter how much an individual says they've WANTED the military and the academy their whole life; and that it's always been their dream; they have NO IDEA what they've gotten themselves into until they actually get there. That's the way it is. The key, is to keep the place in perspective. Every year, normally before BCT starts, I post the following that I've named "The Emotions At The Academy". While sounding humorous, it's quite true. Feel free to share it with your Doolie. And make sure they keep 3 things in perspective: 1) More than 50,000 others have gone before them and have done this. NOTHING happening to them is unique. Many others have done it before. 2) It DOES GET BETTER. Every day actually gets a little better than the day before. And 3) Keep their eye on the prize/goal/light. Remember why they wanted this. That hasn't changed. The ultimate goal is still there. BCT and the academy is SUPPOSE to be difficult. It's an opportunity to grow and mature. If it was "Summer Camp" it wouldn't mean anything. Anyway, here's the emotions of a cadet. Share it with your doolie if you think it will help. Best of luck. Mike.

    *******************************************
    EMOTIONS AT THE ACADEMY:
    1) Get accepted to the academy: EMOTION: HELL YEA!!!!!
    2) I-Day: EMOTION: Why do I feel like I'm going to puke?
    3) 1st half of BCT: EMOTION: Well, at least I'm not the only one who looks weird. Please look at someone else besides me. PLEASE!!!!
    4) 2nd half of BCT (Jack's): EMOTION: This ain't so bad. This part is pretty fun. GOD, I'm so tired. What the hell did I get myself into???? Please let me sleep!!!!
    5) Last week of BCT: EMOTION: I'm almost there. This is the hardest part. After this, the rest of the academy will be a breeze. (Delusional thoughts. Probably the lack of oxygen and sleep)
    6. A-Day: EMOTION: YES! I'm really a cadet now. All the others will respect me now. (More lack of oxygen and definite lack of sleep)
    7. Classes Start: EMOTION: What? Who? Where? When? ARGGGGG!!! MY HEAD HURTS.
    8. Mid-term: EMOTION: Holy crap! What if I forget? What if I fail? What will my parents think? Can I get kicked out for this? ARGGGGG!!!! Head Still Hurts
    9. Thanksgiving break: EMOTION: Yes!!! Out of this place! Do I really want to come back? State U looks really good right now. My friends at home seem pretty happy. What about me????
    10. Back to school getting ready for finals: EMOTION: This sucks!!! I don't need this crap!!! I can transfer my credits and go to another school. God why am I doing this???
    11. Finals Finished Christmas Break: EMOTION: PEACE and GOOD WILL TOWARDS MEN!!!! Yea, it sucks there, but that's 1 semester down and 7 more to go. Put this place out of my mind.
    12. Return to academy: EMOTION: Take a deep breath. New Room Mates; Cool. Different classes. Cool. Still cold and dark a lot. That sucks. Well, I guess I can give it one more semester. See what happens.
    13. R-DAY: EMOTION: I really AM a Cadet now. They actually DO RESPECT me. "At least a little bit". OK; it could be worse.

    REPEAT STEPS 7-12; seven more times. Throw in a spring break before the end of #2,4,6,and 8. Throw a Summer break prior to 3,5, and 7. Stamina grows stronger each semester. See the light at the end of the tunnel. Every couple of days remember how much this place sucks. Every OTHER couple of days remember that this place ain't so bad. Every once in a while realize that this place is pretty cool. ALWAYS REMEMBER WHY YOU WANTED TO COME HERE AND WHAT YOUR GOAL IS.
     
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  3. TRdeeter

    TRdeeter Member

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    Thank you for the response. I will pass that along to my DS. As for the Sunday going off base thing....I was meaning AFTER BCT. Would my parents be allowed to come get him, and would he be required to go to church off base every time they did get him on Sundays, or could they just take him to breakfast also or something, just to talk with him and get his mind away from things for a while?
     
  4. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    G-Parents going to pick up little Johnny so he can go to church on Sunday?? Assuming your Johnny is Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim (latter two not on Sundays), Mormon, Wiccan.... all these are available to him on campus.
    Of course, a 4* can usually go to his sponsor family's place on Sunday, though there are many factors there which will play a role.

    My question is: your 4* may indeed want to see grandma and grandpa for church and breakfast out. Once a month. In short order, Johnny will find friends with whom he'll attend services or Mass, and maybe G-ma and G-pa will offer to to take everyone out.

    I think it is very unrealistic, and a little on the busy-body side, to expect your adult son or daughter at a Service Academy, to even WANT to be picked up by his grandparents for church and the buffet at Golden Corral every Sunday.
     
  5. TRdeeter

    TRdeeter Member

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    Actually....It's not "unrealistic or busy-body" of me, considering the fact that I just received a letter from my "little Johnny" ASKING me if I could find out if his grandfather can pick him up on Sundays for Church OR to spend a little time together, no matter if the services are available at USAFA or not, are they not allowed to go to a different church off campus? And his grandparents would be more than happy to take other cadets as well if they wanted. Seeing as this was a question from my DS, I thought I could ask on this forum without getting a rude undertone in your response. And your question was?
     
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  6. TRdeeter

    TRdeeter Member

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    Thank you for the informative reply. I will be sure to pass on the info! :)
     
  7. aggie83

    aggie83 Member

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    Yes you can take him some contact lenses. My son actually took a new, unopened pair to BCT that were returned to him with his bag a few days before Acceptance Day. However, he could not wear them for the Acceptance Day, but only because he had an eye infection from Jack's Valley. He did, however, have on his own glasses and not the BCT glasses.
     
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  8. TRdeeter

    TRdeeter Member

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    Thank you
     
  9. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    I'm sorry you felt my comments were rude. I was just trying to let you know that while your son may indeed desire a day out with his grandparents now, don't expect the same come about October or November. BCT is indeed challenging and many cadets feel a very strong pull to their families, familiar home life, and affectionate relationships they've known, and that is to be applauded. It is just that once he has some solid friendships, he may not want to see them with the same frequency.

    when my sons were at BCT and 4* year, I think they were only taken off the base for religious services if such were not available to them on the campus.

    Again, I did not mean to insult - though I am sure I was too forceful in my reply.
     
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  10. BlahuKahuna

    BlahuKahuna Member

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    Attending a non-USAFA religious service is very rarely an issue during 4* year. Some squadrons may require that 4-degrees send up some paperwork as basically a blanket approval for attending church while taking a sponsor pass, but from my experience, it's generally not an issue to attend the church of your choice on Sundays.

    If your son wants to spend time with his family on Sundays, whether at church or not, that would be great.
     
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  11. TRdeeter

    TRdeeter Member

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    Would he be allowed to just go to his grandparents house on Sundays to hang out.....even if they did NOT want to go to church? Or are they only allowed off base for a certain amount of time, say, 2 hours....just to attend church only?
     
  12. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    I'm not sure how the rules are now, but in the past you could go with your sponsor family for the day on the weekend (without using a pass--4 digs get a limited number of "normal" passes).
     
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  13. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Are grandma & grandpa your son's sponsor family?
     
  14. Renegado

    Renegado Member

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    Wow. You've always been helpful to new parents, Fencersmother. This post was anything but that. Totally undeserved in my humble opinion.
     
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  15. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Renegado... just keep reading. I apologized to our OP for being over the top.
     
  16. TRdeeter

    TRdeeter Member

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    Thank you for responding....that clarified things and it's all good now
    :)
    No, grandparents are not his sponsor family. My DS decided that he would like to experience an assigned sponsor family, just like the other cadets..and hopes for a good match. . His grandparents are considered the "bonus family" lol But trust me...if it's allowed, my DS will bring a few of his buddies to their house for BBQ's and Horseshoes..my parent's are awesome, and EVERYONE loves my dad ! He says he can't wait to have my DS over, and as many friends as he wants! Even if it's just to eat and sleep.... Heck....I can even see my parents getting to know the "official" sponsor family and making it one big happy family....haha My dad is a veteran, so he can get on base no problem. I was told that if cadets have a pass, they can sign out as going to an "unofficial sponsor's" house? Just wasn't sure how Sundays would work, and if it was strictly for church only and then right back to base.
     
  17. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    For what it's worth, it's not mandatory to have a "Sponsor Family". I only say this because the question is asked a lot. Especially by individuals who's real family doesn't live that far from the academy. And while some individuals do make life long friendships with a sponsor family, many also only use them as a way to ween off of their need for their family. Sometimes this just lasts a couple of month. Usually by the time 2nd semester rolls around, and significantly after recognition, most cadets realize they have gained enough confidence; along with some close friendships developed with their squadron/class mates, that a sponsor family isn't all that important to them.

    And don't worry, the sponsor families understand this too. They know that many of the cadets they are assigned will not be that needy or available after the first 6-9 months. We only live 2 hours from the academy. So when my son had a long weekend, we simply went and picked him up for the weekend. Sometimes, we brought home a couple of stragglers. Again, I'm only mentioning this not so much for this specific topic, but for those reading and wondering if you have to have a sponsor family. It's not mandatory. And if you're an IC Athlete, most athletes spend time with their coaches as surrogate families. E.g. When my son had doolie-day-out in BCT; while most cadets went to a sponsor family for the day; or someone else's sponsor family if they didn't have one; the football recruits went to the coach's house for the day. (Not sure if doolie day out is off campus or not. It stopped for a while. Point being, sponsor families aren't required and for many, not even necessary.
     
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  18. MombaBomba

    MombaBomba Member

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    During the academic year, not all weekends are free. Some will be designated for military training (silver weekends). The free weekends (blue weekends) are when cadets are allowed off base as long as their squadron allows it (sometimes there are squadron specific training or "restrictions" for breaking a rule or failing knowledge tests etc.). So as long as that Sunday is a "free day," he will be allowed leave off base.

    Also, they have all sorts of services on base at the Chapel. These masses are open to the public So if the cadet is attending mass at the Chapel because he isn't allowed off base, a family member could be attending the same mass. Planned coincidences do happen ;):biggrin:
     
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  19. 2018mom

    2018mom Parent

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    My C3C also wanted to have a "regular" sponsor family even though his grandparents live in the area. However, there is a limited number of sponsors and even though he did get assigned one, he never met them because he took the opportunity he had on their free weekends to visit the grandparents. Luckily my parents have plenty of room and took along whatever buddies wanted to go along. My parents eventually signed up for the sponsor program so they could get easier access to the campus since they are not military and my son gave up his other sponsor so another cadet could be assigned.

    The grandparents have been a great benefit to me and it is wonderful knowing that if I can not attend an event, the grandparents are there to fill in. They went to Acceptance Day last year and even went out to cheer the cadets on their way to Jack's Valley. They bought season tickets for football and even though they weren't able to take him out every weekend, he was able to visit with them during most games. It has been nice for me that I could talk to someone who has actually seen him since my DS is not very communicative on the phone. And thankfully, they have been a reliable ride to and from the Denver airport!

    My DS probably only went to my parent's house for the weekend, maybe a half dozen times last year. They did come down and take him to dinner occasionally. He would go to church with them if he stayed over Saturday night and I think they came and went to the Cadet chapel with him once, but there just aren't that many free weekends. My DS and his buddies went skiing as often as they could during the winter so if it was a free weekend, they would head to the slopes on Saturday and had to catch up with studies on Sunday.

    He just returned to COS for third summer session and told one of our neighbors he was going "home". It has been an incredible year for him and he seems to really love it. This first year has flown by and I am sure the next 3 years will go even faster.

    TMalles - your DS will work out whatever schedule he needs to be successful and he will do great. This forum is great for advice, but there is not a "one size fits all" rule on how to be successful so tell him to work out whatever time he wants to spend with the grandparents and let the grandparents know that he has the right to say he can't see them without them getting their feelings hurt. I had to let my dad know that he had to communicate with my DS about his schedule and not go thru me. Once they had that figured out, it has been great for both of them. Good luck to your son.
     
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  20. TRdeeter

    TRdeeter Member

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    Oh, I like that. "planned coincidences" lol Do you happen to know if the cadets know well in advance if it is a blut or silver weekend, or do they not find that out until the Friday before the weekend?
     

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