USMA sponsors

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by buff81, Jan 12, 2011.

  1. buff81

    buff81 Moderator

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    I've been reading other threads here about sponsors at the other Service Academies. It sounds like there have been so many wonderful sponsor-cadet/mid relationships.

    As a parent or cadet, past/present, what has your experience been with the sponsor program at West Point?

    My cadet doesn't have one anymore (sponsor deployed) and there was never any interaction b/t the sponsor and DS even before deployment. I'm envious of these other great sponsor relationships and was wondering if it is not as big a deal at West Point or if DS's situation is unusual.
     
  2. KateMac

    KateMac Member

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    My Cadet is a Firstie and I must say that there is no way I could ever even begin to thank her sponsor family. They have been there for her in good times and not-so-good, nursed her through colds, helped her wade through "red tape" from time to time, taken her on outings, invited her to dinner, let her do her laundry, "adopted" her friends, and other things too numerous to mention. That being said, I know other Cadets whose experience is not the same.

    The first thing I think needs to be remembered is sponsorship is a two-way street. Just as a cadet may feel uncomfortable, at first, asking a sponsor for help or dinner, a sponsor may feel uncomfortable asking a cadet over for dinner; they may think the cadet would feel obligated and the sponsor is not there to interfere, but rather to help when needed. So who makes the first move? Beats me. My Cadet's sponsor family said "Call us if you need anything" and my Cadet needed something, so she called. She took them at their word. Not all of the Cadets this family sponsors are as close to them as my Cadet is.

    I know of some Cadets and sponsors who don't hit it off but, over the course of time, cadets will frequently find an "unofficial" sponsor among Officers they admire. Some sponsors do move; I would hope that if that happened a Cadet would have the means to find another Officer on post to "adopt" them if they felt the need. If they don't feel the need, fine. Some Cadets whose families live close by don't feel the need for a sponsor family.

    Several times each year my Cadet's sponsor family has large get-togethers for all the kids they sponsor. Super Bowl party comes to mind. So that way they can see the ones they don't see very often (if they come) and get to know the newer ones better (if they come). If the Cadet's don't show up that's OK, too.

    So, there is no tried-and-true. Both sides must make an effort, just as in any relationship.
     
  3. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    Yeah, my cadet really hasn't heard from his sponsor. I think his sponsor is single and not too interested in interacting with a plebe on a regular basis. I suggested that he tag along with another plebe to their sponsor but he didn't really warm up to that idea.
     
  4. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    My cadet's sponsor's wife is from south GA. She asked him to only get southern plebes, so no one would make fun of her accent! My cadet was invited many times to watch SEC football on the big screen and drink sweet tea. They are great people, and we appreciate their generosity with our son.
     
  5. kjang0613

    kjang0613 USMA 2015 Appointee

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    How do you 'get' sponsors? Do you have to ask for a sponsor/sponsor family or is that just a given once you go to WP?
     
  6. Momof2cadets

    Momof2cadets Founding Member

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    My cadets were lucky enough to have a close family friend as their sponsor, so it is almost as good as being home for them. That said, these folks have also taken in many other cadets to sponsor -- some official, some just by chance. It truly is what the cadet chooses to make of it -- there are enough folks willing to be there, but they are not going to force themselves on the cadets. Sometimes the cadet has to reach out and ask or no one knows. Tagging along with friends is great way to find a niche!
     
  7. America's Finest

    America's Finest USMA Cadet

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    You can request a specific one or fill out a form online that will match you up with one based on things like home state, sports, etc once the academic year begins. You will get a random one during Beast for the Ice Cream Social and New Cadets sometimes become attached to these and request them once the school year begins.
     
  8. vampsoul

    vampsoul Candidate

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    All plebes get sponsors, whether you request a specific person or not. Mine is the WP Jewish chaplain and his family, absolutely wonderful people.
     
  9. Lee2015

    Lee2015 USMA & USNA Mom

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    Are most sponsors at WP living on the base or in Highland Falls and other surrounding areas?

    At USNA, from what I've heard, it seems that sponsors there are in Annapolis and surrounding areas. When my daughter attended CVW in November, the academy brought in a panel of parents as well as some sponsors to answer questions. It seemed that the sponsors at USNA are so willing to go above and beyond for the cadets that they sponsor.

    Is there ever an opportunity at WP for parents to meet sponsor families at some sort of formal gathering--an R-day event?

    Thanks!
     
  10. PotentialParent

    PotentialParent Member

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    As a resident of Annapolis, and with a son who is a plebe at West Point, here is my two cents. The main point is that the sponsor programs at USNA and West Point seem to have different focuses, and therefore different criteria for host families. I am friends with several USNA host families, and not many of them are "military", or have ever been military. When their mids come over they tend to sleep, eat, and hang out. It is a very casual relationship. In most cases I know the mids come over often, and it is kind of an open invitation to come over whenever they have the opportunity.

    West Point seems to have a slightly more formal program, based on my sons experience, so far. The West Point program is to provide the cadets a view of military life. I believe most sponsors are military families. My son requested the sponsor he had for the ice cream social during Beast, and got that family as his sponsors. He enjoys spending time their very much. He has been invited a few times for dinner, and to hang out and watch football. He feels that it is an invite only kind of relationship, and he has definetly not been given "full access" to the house.

    This is not meant to judge either program, as they both seem to work well, but my experience is that they are different.
     
  11. Lee2015

    Lee2015 USMA & USNA Mom

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    Thank you. This was very helpful.
     

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