Thoughts for Appointees and their Family from a 2019 parent

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by KTMDad, Jan 31, 2016.

  1. KTMDad

    KTMDad Member

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    Appointees and their families......We were in your shoes a year ago. As many have said, congratulations. We thought it might be informative to share some of our knowledge for those whose journey is just beginning.

    Please keep in mind that USAFA has been doing this for many years and works each year to improve the process.

    Once Appointed and your DS/DD accepts the Appointment, you are part of the USAFA family. They want you to succeed.

    USAFA will tell you what you need to know, when you need to know it, and in plenty of time. Their mission is not to disqualify an Appointee with some trick.

    If you post something to the Portal as requested, they WILL get to it. Please keep in mind that this is an extremely busy time for them and they have a process.

    Packing list – USAFA will give it to you in plenty of time and you should follow it. It is very simple – again nothing that needs weeks of lead time to get. You do not need Costco size bottles of shampoo or body wash as your Basic Cadet will have plenty of opportunities to purchase things at the C-store (like a drug store). So pack light and only bring what it on the list. If they do not have “socks” on the list, you do not need to bring socks. The only item our DS varied on was bringing black (not some bright color) compression shorts. I believe DD’s might have some other underclothing or hair suggestions which I have seen but didn’t pay attention to as we focused on our DS.

    Do not try to sneak anything into BCT (snacks/spare phone/etc) that isn’t on the packing list. It will be found and there are consequences for bringing such items.

    Basic Cadets can bring their cell phone/charger which they will turn in and get back on Doolie Day Out (just for that day).

    Appointees need to keep working out like they did for the CFA. Do not be the Basic Cadet that can’t hold a wall sit for 15 seconds or can’t do 20 pushups or can’t run a mile. Last year there were a few who basically didn’t work out after the CFA and it was miserable for them (mentally and physically).

    You do not need to arrive in Colorado Springs a week before I-Day to get acclimated to the altitude. If you want to vacation in COS, then by all means you should. Our DS wanted to spend every last minute possible at home (which is near sea level) with friends/family so we arrived a day before. Again, USAFA has been in the same location for many years so they have a process to get Basic Cadets acclimated.

    If you are dropping you Basic off on I-Day and can make it happen, stay for the swearing-in ceremony the next morning. It is an amazing sight to see all of the Basic’s in uniform and learning to march. You get to see the transformation from civilian/student to Basic Cadet. Bring binoculars and you will not have any interaction with your Basic Cadet.

    Sign up for Write2them.org. This is a way for you to write an email to your DS/DD and this group prints them and delivers them to USAFA each day (except Sunday’s). It was an easy way for us to send letters each day without having to worry about snail mail delivery. Plus you can add multiple other users to your account. Write to them often and encourage others to write to them also, but do not send pics or food as it will be taken away. The pic’s get returned at the end of BCT but the food doesn’t.

    Sign up for WebGuy. You will spend hours each evening searching for pic’s of your DS/DD and see what they are doing each day. It can be tough as you might see some pic’s that make you wonder how they are doing and other days you might see that twinkle in their eye knowing everything is okay. It is a rollercoaster.

    If you are able to, go to Acceptance Day. It will be the best hug you will ever receive, the best 2 hours ever spent with them and you will see the transformation of your DS/DD into a Cadet. The date isn’t published, but it is typically the Tuesday after completion of BCT so it might be Aug. 9th.

    Make plans to attend Parent’s Weekend which is on Labor Day weekend. Plan to arrive on Thursday as there are events all day Friday. Your Cadet will be able to spend Friday night with you but will have to be back at USAFA in the morning to attend the football game. After the football game, they will be yours until Monday evening (I believe they need to be back before 7:00pm).

    Join your local parents group/club and the USAFA Class of 2020 Face Book group (it is a closed group so you need to request to be added - there is a thread about joining FB groups). These are the folks who have gone through or are going through the same thing as you and will understand the roller coaster. For example, after you drop off you DS/DD on I-Day, your well meaning friends will say that they understand how you feel as they have dropped their kid/s off at college. The difference is their kid wasn’t getting yelled at as soon as the bus rounded the corner and you are completely cut off from talking to them until Doolie Day Out. These groups will allow you to talk about things, ask questions and just have a resource that understands this journey. For as much as it is the Appointees journey, it is also the entire family’s journey.

    Finally, enjoy the time home with them. It will go very fast.............
     
    Gballer, OREWI, k$Mom and 22 others like this.
  2. OR-MOM

    OR-MOM Member

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    thank you for the information. very helpful and new info. greatly appreciated. please add other thoughts if you think of them!
     
    GoldenSun likes this.
  3. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Don't feel too bad if you have difficulty finding your basic cadet in Webguy pictures.
    When I came home for Thanksgiving, I had to ask my grandparents why they had a framed picture of a guy from my chemistry class on the table!
     
    k$Mom, Mom_CHgn, Boymom73 and 12 others like this.
  4. GoldenSun

    GoldenSun New Member

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    Thanks KTMDAD for the great post!
     
  5. nothing'llstopus

    nothing'llstopus New Member

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    Fantastic post! You answered a few questions I had, one being about going up early to acclimate to the altitude. Lots of great information. Thank you for taking the time to put this together.
     
  6. Wishful

    Wishful Parent

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    You may want to make sure they can iron their shirt. I gave a crash course to my DD in the hotel room the night before I-Day. Right before we went out to dinner-("Oh by the way, could you show me..." ) Also plan to attend the Colorado Parents Club Bar-B-Q which is held near where you drop off your Basic. They do a great job & you can write a short message to your Basic there.
     
    k$Mom, Row2020 and Dallas1 like this.
  7. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Also Laundry 101 and stain tips and tricks. Writing a check. Addressing an envelope. Having a budget. Paying a bill. Understanding how their data plan works and how to read the provider bill. How a credit card works and paying the bill. Balancing their online checking/ATM account. Anything you have been doing for them that they now need to handle themselves.

    I am not joking about any of the above. Snail mail is an historical artifact to this generation, and some don't know where to put a return address or the stamp. We allow sponsor mids to do some laundry at our house, though they have full service at school. Just in time, I intervened when one plebe put her twin blue bedspread, white sheet set, heavy gray issue sweat suit, white towels and 3 uniform shirts and underwear into the washer, jammed in - about 4 separate loads. She had been so busy with school and activities, her family had never required her to do laundry. The concept of a host-hostess gift when invited for a holiday.
     
    Wishful, EOD/SEALmom and goforspaatz like this.
  8. CivilAirPatrolCadet

    CivilAirPatrolCadet AFROTC Non-Tech Scholarship Recipient

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    Oh wow! And I thought it was bad when I washed something on Cold instead of Warm. (I will need to learn how to take care of my phone bill, and probably get a phone :) )
     
  9. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Civil - if you can get into an officer pre-Comm program, you can handle Life Stuff. ;)
     
  10. EOD/SEALmom

    EOD/SEALmom Member

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    When in doubt, always wash in cold water;)
     
  11. Hokienutz

    Hokienutz Member

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    My DS is also Class of 2019 and what a whirlwind it has been. First and foremost, enjoy every second you have with your DS/DD because June will be here before you know it.

    We did not go out to CO for I day as our DS wanted to go out and do it alone. He said that it would be easier and was time for him to be on his own. It was hard but it was the best decision for us. We were not going to go out for A day either but we couldn't stand it and went......best 2 hours of my life!

    As KTMDad said above do not deviate from the list! You don't want any unneeded attention brought to your Basic.

    At our DS's graduation party, I had a basket of stamped and addressed envelopes for friends and family member to take to write letters during BCT. I wrote to my DS everyday.....sometimes 2 or 3 letters a day. I would write about all kinds of things....even updated him on the tomato plants he planted right before he left. The contact from home is very important during BCT.

    Doolie Day Out......expect tears....even from your tough guy that hasn't cried since they were young. All I can say is to be encouraging and let them know you are supporting them and they can do it.

    Good luck to the Class of 2020!!!!!!
     
    SierraNV, Row2020, Wishful and 2 others like this.
  12. 2018DAD

    2018DAD Member

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    Really stress adherence to the List to Bring. Your basic doesn't need to be BOX BOY v2.0...find it, you will feel sorry for him...do not do this to your Basic. They will also have to carry everything they bring for the majority of the day!
    Keep it simple and again bring ONLY what they list.. black or white compression shorts would be the only exceptions.
    I-day is also not the time to wear the GREATEST PILOT shirt or ANY other clothing item or choice that causes undue attention to be focused on you! Blend, low profile, boring is the LOOK you are striving to obtain. [The NW Prep folks know what they are doing (I think!) !!] As I constantly warn Basics & Doolies..Do not be the raised nail...you will be hammered flush..quickly!

    Also, do not neglect Plan B...you need to have that option in your pocket until A-day!
     
    Row2020 likes this.
  13. KTMDad

    KTMDad Member

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    Another thing we did in early June before BCT was open a bank account with USAA. As a Appointee, he was able to get his debit card and a credit card ($500 limit) all before he left. When they in-process, they will automatically get an account with Armed Forces Bank. After BCT, many of the Cadets switch from Armed Forces Bank. While I understand it is very easy to open an account with USAA over the phone after BCT, it was just one less thing he had to do. After BCT, he switched his direct deposit to USAA. In addition, USAA has a renters policy that many of the Cadets get which covers their possessions (ie. computer, snowboard, etc,) and is really affordable. Finally, having this account makes it really easy when someone with a vehicle is making a food run and they need to reimburse the Cadet making the food run if they both have USAA accounts.
     
  14. robnbay

    robnbay Member

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    What the OP stated. Trust the process. It will not be easy to do that, but USAFA has been training cadets to be officers for 60 years. Your doolie will surprise you with what they will accomplish. I had real concerns about the physical aspects of BCT for my DS. He could of have been in much better shape when he arrived. 39 days later he was in great shape and happy to be finished with BCT. He quote was "best thing I ever did that I never want to do again". I will say it again Trust the process
     
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  15. smj89

    smj89 Member

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    I was so stressed over basic until I read this...."39 days". when you say it like that, it really doesn't seem like that much time at all
     
  16. robnbay

    robnbay Member

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    BCT will stress you. ......so enjoy your time between now and then. If you keep this attitude you will be fine. One day at a time... one meal at a time. Do not quit. 46,000 people have started this journey and finished.
     
  17. jwest182

    jwest182 USAFA Cadet C/O 2019

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    It may not seem like that long yet, but about 1 minute in basic that attitude becomes "I think there is only about two hours until lunch..."
     
  18. smj89

    smj89 Member

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    haha you're right im just trying to get in a good mindset :)
     
  19. USAFADAD2017

    USAFADAD2017 Member

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    Congratulations to you and your appointee. There are a couple of great FB pages that parents of appointees are welcome to join. The first, "USAFA Parent Resource".. Lots of great information and parents who have been in the same spot you will be in a few months. I have been there twice.. once for the Prep School at USAFA.. and the second when my daughter left for USAFA. Both times, my daughter flew to COS by herself. She wanted that time to prepare herself mentally without Mom and Dad getting all teary eyed. Oh, boy did that hurt.. but, we respected her decision. She's currently a C2C and in four months a Firstie.

    You should be able to search for "USAFA Parent Resource" FB page and request to join. The other FB page, "My Life is Cadet Parent: USAFA Parents United" is a secret group and you will not be able to find this FB page by searching. I am currently one of the Admins for this page and you can send me a message here, and I will let you know how we can add you to our group. For both FB groups, please be prepared to answer some basic questions about you and your appointee. We would like to ensure, to the best of our ability, that we keep both groups as secure as possible. Again, congratulations and welcome to "our family".
     
    kmlDad2020 likes this.
  20. FalconsRock

    FalconsRock Parent

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    You can also request to join the USAFA Class of 2020 Parents FB page as well.
     

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