Why Should I Join the AOG?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by FlyingFuzz, Apr 20, 2013.

  1. FlyingFuzz

    FlyingFuzz Member

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    Why should I join the AOG? It seems like it's nothing more than a booster club of sorts. Why in the world would I want to pay $700-$850 just to be able to search through a graduate directory, get emails, and have my tee time reserved at a golf course I'll probably never even use? Am I missing something here? Thanks.

    FF
     
  2. falconfamily

    falconfamily Member

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    Short answer - yes. The AOG funds a lot of programs for cadets. i.e. social events for families during I-Day. Too many to list. You should look on their website, it will give you a better idea of what they do.

    http://www.usafa.org/Give/
     
  3. FlyingFuzz

    FlyingFuzz Member

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    I've been browsing through their website. They do do a lot of good funding programs, but seems utterly silly to have to pay $700 just to make future donations, and I find it highly unlikely that there is no other way to donate without being a member, or that the AOG would turn down money from a non-member. Any other services they may offer that I have seen are not worth such an expense. I'm still not convinced.
     
  4. falconfamily

    falconfamily Member

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    I think you have to make your own decision on this. But you these are not "future donations", from the time you walk on campus, you will experience everything the AOG does to benefit the cadets and the academy. From funding cadet enrichment programs to providing free water while people are walking to Doolittle during I-Day.

    I also think you need to understand the importance of networking and association in both your military and civilian career. This applies to all schools and membership organizations, i.e. Masons, Alumni Associations, etc.

    Disclaimer: I am not on the staff of the AOG. :smile:
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
  5. WienerDog

    WienerDog West Point Class of 2018

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    I, for one, am extremely grateful to the AoG. My son received a sponsored AoG civil prep scholarship. I will encourage our son to join the AoG as soon as asked. I, without question, respect your decision. However, I am to give back when given the opportunity. Good luck in your choice.
     
  6. FlyingFuzz

    FlyingFuzz Member

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    Thank you for the input falconfamily and WienerDog. For now though, I think I will decline. If I choose to join later, then I will just have to suck up and pay the extra money.
     
  7. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I know a lot of cadets who went on summer immersions to foreign countries. Many cadets who went around the country for numerous activities. None of this could have happened without the AOG. So few people realize how much of what our kids have opportunities to do at the academy, "ARE NOT", tax payer funded.

    When I think about what not just my son, but other cadets have received; then I think about the cheapest education, even with scholarships, it would have cost me to help my son through college; the AOG was a no-brainer. So, considering a one time $700 averages out to $11 a year for the next 60 years; assuming your child lives to at least 78, seems like a pretty small amount.

    Many parents make the AOG lifetime membership for their cadet part of their graduation present. Some realize how their son/daughter will benefit while at the academy and get it up front when it's the cheapest. Some wait til the 2 year mark and commitment, to ensure their child stays at the academy. Some pay the $700-$900 (Depending on when you buy your son/daughter's membership), all at one, some do the 24 month payment plant. Besides their son/daughter's membership, so parents do their own membership. Those can be one time, annual, lifetime, etc... (Totally different than your actual cadet's membership).

    The point is, cadets actually receive a lot of AOG benefits in the 4 years they are there. So do parents. Whether or not you get a membership as a parent just for the 4 years, or you buy your child/cadet a lifetime membership, it's totally up to you. But it's a lot more than an alumni and booster club. And that $700 is a one time - LIFE MEMBERSHIP for the cadets.
     
  8. Ambition

    Ambition USAFA Class of 2017

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    How often do cadets pay for their AoG membership themselves through the pay deduction program? Has this ever caused problems (like say, not having enough money to go to town for a night)?

    Also, what does the parents WebGuy thing actually do?
     
  9. Insider

    Insider Member

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    I am a USAFA grad and a lifetime AOG member. In my case my daughter applied for (and received) a $1000 college scholarship from the AOG. The scholarship is only available to children of members, so my lifetime membership fee was more than recovered by the one scholarship.

    Other than that, I have received numerous benefits over the years (reduced costs for reunions, regular editions of "Checkpoints", and even free giveaways to include a case of Guinness). I am proud of my association with USAFA and glad to support the AOG.

    BTW, the cost of a lifetime membership does not decrease as you age, so the earlier you buy that membership the better the value.

    What you really need to ask yourself is "are you proud to be a graduate"? If so, joining the AOG is a natural thing to do.

    Insider
     
  10. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Start with webguy. The biggest thing they do is provide a lot of pictures of the cadets during BCT. Just seeing my son a dozen or so times during BCT was worth it for us. Also, during the rest of their time there, there's a lot of pictures and video. Ring dance, regular dances, ceremonies, etc... I think it was well worth it.

    As for cadets actually paying for their own AOG membership; I know some do, but I don't know them personally. I'm sure that a cadet that doesn't have any financial assistance from their parents, and wants to join, do pay for it themselves. If the cadet waits til they are starting their 3rd year, (To make sure they WANT to stay, or aren't being kicked out), the monthly cost for 24 months is only $39. By that time, they are pretty much at full pay, so $39 isn't really going to affect them. And even though it's more money if you get it at the 2 year mark than in the beginning, It's still probably worth the wait. Again; are you still going to be there in 2 years.

    Granted, the majority of the benefits; and there are many; revolve around the academy and cadets. There are quite a few benefits after graduating, but the majority is about the cadets. But like any alumni association, it's not about "Me, Me, Me". It's about giving back to those that gave to me.

    Now; if you don't think the alumni association (AOG), benefits you at all while at the academy, then don't give. I'm not here to judge anyone. But the academy isn't a civilian university where you can remain totally an individual; go to class; not do anything with anyone else; graduate in 4-5 years; and be glad it's over with. The academy is a total personality. What individuals do in clubs that you aren't directly involved with, still affects you. What the cadets do with athletics, still affects you. All of these funds:
    Air Force Academy Fund
    Superintendent's Fund
    Long Blue Line
    USAFA Endowment Fund
    Academic Funds
    Athletic Funds
    Character & Leadership Funds
    Capital Improvement Funds
    Class Gift Funds
    Cadet Activity Funds

    Still affects you. Because it affects your brothers and sisters at the academy. And that's probably why it's so difficult to understand when you're an appointee who isn't there yet. For you, it's still All About You. You can't see or recognize how all the cadets that the AOG supports, still affects you.

    And that's not to say that it won't affect you directly. If you want to go, and are accepted, to go on a 3 week immersion to Israel, Japan, Chile, etc... in the summer; it's the AOG who is helping to fund this. When graduates get married and have children, and they apply for scholarships for their college education, the AOG provides these. Maybe you're involved in the academy shooting team. Maybe a club athletic team. Maybe your academic department has an distinguished guest speaker..... Again; the AOG is is involved with paying for all this.

    So again; it all depends on what you want out of the air force academy. What you think you should contribute. What you think the "Whole Team" concept and how you are PART of that team. Some parents decide to simply give generously to the AOG themselves, during the 4 years, and not enroll their son/daughter at all. They figure that's up to them. Each individual, cadet, and family has to decide for themselves.
     
  11. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    WEBGUY! For moms and dads at home, scanning those photos every day for a glimpse of their child, far from home, perhaps for the first time... it's worth EVERY PENNY! I still have my webguy pics up on my refrigerator and around the house. Reminders of those babies I sent to USAFA, who emerged men!

    Even though my sons are graduates (both of whom joined AoG right away after graduation), I still enjoy reading the articles in checkpoints about what's going on at USAFA. While I may never return to COS, it will remain such a huge part of what made my sons the men they are today, I want to enjoy that piece of their lives.

    20% off at the gift store!
     
  12. Dad

    Dad Member

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    I also had a struggle with getting an AoG membership for my cadet. Our household opperates on a single income earned by a public high school teacher (me) and $700 is a lot of money to us. I agonized over it and even asked a similar question on these forums as FlyingFuzz did. I just could not see any immediate value to my son.

    After further personal reflection, pondering posts on this forum, and a call to the AoG office directly, I pulled the trigger and got the lifetime membership. The decision for me hinged entirely on the programs and supports that the AoG provides for all cadets. Since we are 1200 miles from USAFA, we would not be able to offer close support to our cadet. By supporting AoG, our family felt that we were doing something to support our cadet and his buddies in the adventure called USAFA. It really wasn't "What's in this for me/my cadet?", it was "What can we do to assist USAFA in training our son and his teammates to be officers in the world's greatest air and space force?". It was part of the process of cutting apron strings (as PIMA likes to say), and becoming a non-helicopter parent.

    When I consider the changes in my DS from I-Day to now, I marvel at the growth in his independence and world-view. I feel like the AoG life membership was a good investment in my son, USAFA, and my country. It is your decision. Some will support AoG and some will not. Does that make them better? No, just different.
     
  13. FlyingFuzz

    FlyingFuzz Member

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    Thank you for the additional information everyone. Perhaps when I arrive at the academy and actually become a cadet my view will change; it just seems to me that the couple of things I would want to give for back at the academy after I graduate I could still do without forking over so much money. That's money I could use for the charitable donations I am already giving to. I just can't afford a membership now anyway and I feel it is not worth adding to my debt that I will already incur upon in-processing. I like CC's idea though, it would make a great graduation gift!

    Regards,

    FlyingFuzz
     
  14. buffalo

    buffalo USAFA 2013

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    I chose this option. Generally, I am happy about the programs that the AOG supports financially. That said, I'm not completely convinced it is worth the cost, but I can justfiy the rest by Insider's question, "are you proud to be a graduate." In 38 days I will be, so I'm glad to have the membership.

    EDIT: Has it ever caused problems? No. It comes out in approx. $20/month deductions. There are only a few months 4* year where you will really be struggling for money. If you do a slight amount of financial planning (e.g. actually looking at the class budgets and/or MyPay), there are few suprises and you can plan for the months with less pay.
     
  15. Ambition

    Ambition USAFA Class of 2017

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    Do you mind if I ask how you dealt with the WebGuy Insider? I ask specifically for your experience because my family has a similar financial situation.

    Not that I don't value fencermother's input! I certainly do! I also wish to see how someone in a similar situation responded.
     
  16. Dad

    Dad Member

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    Please remember that I am not a cadet. I would not expect a cadet to sign up unless they are gifted in financial planning. I would recommend waiting until you see your first AF check before signing on the dotted line. As parents, we just wanted to support the AoG mission.
     
  17. Dad

    Dad Member

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    Ambition,

    For WebGuy, our family signed up for the class plan. Our credit card is charged $20.15 per month. (Class of 2016 pays $20.16, etc.) You can cancel anytime. The views of what the basics were experiencing are indescribable. I collected all of the images of our basic that I could find and had a book made (Shutterfly - $8 with free shipping) to give him on parents' weekend. He did not appreciate it until after recognition when the immensity of the struggle he went through was fully realized.

    I guess that the best answer to your question is if you have to make a tough choice between the AoG Life Membership and getting WebGuy, go with WebGuy. If you have limited funds, you can donate smaller amounts to AoG as you are able. Also, the AoG Life Membership may be a graduation gift that aunts, uncles, and grandparents can contribute to. Don't do it out of guilt or sense of obligation. Do it if you believe in 'building a better academy'. Remember: USAFA is NOT 'free'. My DS will commit to giving up at least 5 years of his life in service to his country knowing that he may be asked give all.
     
  18. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    We did pay for our son's AOG life membership as a gift. There are a lot more benefits than have been mentioned here (although the free case of Guiness was really great!). One that was not mentioned that I think is really important is the continued networking that you can get from the AOG. After separating or retiring from the AF the network of AOG graduates can be a huge asset. The more that you are involved, the more contacts you will have. Also, the AOG helps sponsor job fairs for graduates and also has a members section on the website for careers to be posted or sought.

    Stealth_81
     
  19. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    I had some disagreements on how the AOG uses their funds, so I pay anything into their general funds. I'll happily support some things that the AOG has a monopoly over fundraising (don't get me started on that :mad:).
     
  20. Alpineskier

    Alpineskier Member

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    So I can see why parents would buy AOG memberships for Webguy and other stuff but do you get any benefits as a cadet other than having it be a little bit cheeper before you graduate?
     

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