Do my parents need to join a Parents' Club?

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by YoloHanSolo, May 7, 2017.

  1. YoloHanSolo

    YoloHanSolo Member

    Mar 16, 2017
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    I received my PTR from USNA last week and my family was contacted by our area's parents' club inviting us to a reception. I had my parents read the packet about the benefits of the parents' club, but they weren't particularly interested once they saw the cost of membership. My parents are happy about USNA, but they've never been super involved in my activities. I'm hoping to get input from other parents about it. Is a club membership worthwhile/necessary/would they be missing out on a lot of stuff if they didn't join?
  2. DesertCaliMom

    DesertCaliMom Member

    Feb 6, 2017
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    I'm not a member of a parent's club yet, but looking at my local club and seeing here how parents support each other and others' mids is remarkable.

    There are going to be situations like Plebe summer where your parents may have questions on what's going on. Summer trainings you won't have much you can share. When you get frustrated and mom isn't sure how to support you, there's a group of parents who can clue her in.

    This isn't just going to college. You're embarking on a life-defining journey and it's going to shape you into an officer in the US Navy. The clubs seem to be mpre about supporting the parents so they can accurately support their kids!
  3. VelveteenR

    VelveteenR Just gathering dust in the nursery... 5-Year Member

    Jul 24, 2014
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    Your parents do not need to join a parents club; joining is completely optional. We don't belong to one and our cadet is doing just fine. There is absolutely nothing we need to know about West Point or his journey we can't get directly from him or the website. Your parents can cetainly attend a meeting or two to determine if they would find the local club beneficial in some way. They won't be asked to pay any dues unless they decide to join.
    Willow@99 and time2 like this.
  4. Sandydesert

    Sandydesert Member

    Aug 10, 2016
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    DS is finishing his plebe year at USNA right now. Membership in a parent's club is not mandatory. I joined our local club because it is a way to stay updated on the various service academies. ( DS doesn't give me a lot of info about anything.) The clubs are open to any parent who has a child at any of the academies, not just USNA. Each club is probably a little different depending on the number of members. In our club , siblings can attend meetings as well. Our current club president has contacts at all of the academies. Parents share general info that we hear from our kids, nothing real personal. Parents can also ask questions of other members. I know there are several clubs elsewhere in the country that will have cookbook sales as fundraisers, etc. Our club is kind of small-we don't do that.

    We meet 3 times per year- we send USPS boxes of treats to all the service academy students from our area a week or so before the following: Halloween, Valentine's Day, and finals week. Parents usually buy the treats in bulk at places like Sam's Club, Costco, etc., and part of each meeting is spent filling all the boxes assembly line style. In addition, each year, the club sponsors a congratulatory , catered sit-down send-off dinner to all academy appointees in the incoming class.

    It is nice to meet other parents who also have children attending the same academy- to realize you are not alone, and to hear what is going on at the other academies.
    shock-n-awe likes this.
  5. 2020Vision

    2020Vision Member

    Sep 20, 2016
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    It really depends on what sort of people your parents are. If they enjoy getting together with others who have a similar interest, they might enjoy the parents' club. However, you need to also consider logistics. My husband and I joined our state's parents club (Georgia), thinking at the time (when our son began Plebe year) that it might be helpful and that we would enjoy attending meetings and exchanging info with other parents. However, it hasn't worked out that way. The meetings and events are always in the same general geographical location, which is not at all convenient to us, so we haven't been to a single event the entire year. I don't know if my son has been the recipient of any "care" packages or other morale boosters from the organization -- he hasn't mentioned and I haven't asked. We have been able to gather any info we needed from this forum, from a Facebook group for parents of Class of 2020 Mids, or directly from our Midn himself, so the club has not been needed as a source of information. So, I have to say that, for us, the parents' club has been a disappointment.
  6. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator 10-Year Member Founding Member

    Jul 20, 2006
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    I agree it definitely depends on the clubs themselves, which vary greatly.

    In Wisconsin, WAFAPA is the Air Force Academy parent's club and I cannot say enough good things about them. We are still active members even 6 years after our son graduated. The club has 4 meetings a year, and they have them in different parts of the state so that no one has to travel far for all of them. They have Spring and Fall meetings at various venues such as Lambeau Field, the EAA Museum in Oshkosh, or the Military Museum in Madison and include tours of the venue after the meeting. The Fall picnic brings everyone together for a cookout and people bring pictures and news of their cadets and graduates to keep everyone up on what they are doing and they also hold an auction of USAFA themed items as a fundraiser. They hold an appointee orientation at the 128th ARW base in Milwaukee every year and answer questions for both parents and appointees. All Doolies receive gifts and care packages from the association and each parent is assigned a mentor family to ask questions throughout the year. New graduates receive something special at graduation from the association if their parents have been members.

    RickD_USAF and Wishful like this.
  7. HopefulDad3210

    HopefulDad3210 Member

    Nov 24, 2015
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    I agree with everyone. Parents Clubs can be great, though I suspect not all are. They certainly are not mandatory and not even necessary. It's really up to them. There are benefits, but they can be done without.
  8. fencersmother

    fencersmother 10-Year Member Founding Member

    Oct 10, 2007
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    We did not join our parents club, though we did participate in some of their activities. I specifically remember helping fill Halloween care packages, which was fun. Sometimes, the groups are from huge geographical areas and even monthly meetings would be difficult. Sometimes, well, the groups aren't necessary.

    At our first meeting we attended, a picnic, during 2nd BCT, I happened to meet a rising firstie who'd been my son's cadre at 1st BCT. He was so nice, and filled us in on son's squad and activities.
  9. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Super Moderator 5-Year Member

    Jul 13, 2011
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    My parents never joined a club. When I went through USNA most parents did belong to clubs, they seem to be more prevalent these days. Sure they may gain some info, but honestly it's not required. Not every club is created equal. The one where I live now is pretty low key and not overly involved. My previous location the parents club was way over involved to include lots of 'well we will contact the Supt on that.'
    time2 and Jcleppe like this.
  10. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

    Jun 9, 2006
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    In my day, there was no such thing as a parents' club and we all managed just fine.

    IMHO, parents clubs can be especially helpful for parents who don't know much about the military or the SA and/or who are apprehensive about their child joining the military. Meeting other parents who've gone through the process can be really beneficial as can being part of an "interest group" with shared interests.

    If you join a club, PLEASE keep your perspective. Your kids are not in a regular college. They are in the military. The Supe and the Dant are career military officers who have led men and women for their entire careers and were hand-picked to come to the SA they lead. Neither needs (or even wants) the advice of parents on how to train and educate midshipmen/cadets. Some parents clubs see their role as "making sure the Supe/Dant knows X" or "does Y." Resist!

    Be the parent but remember that your child is now an adult in a military environment. Your child can (and should) advocate for him/herself through the chain of command. Mommy and daddy helicoptering is . . . let's just say "to be avoided." :)
    Last edited: May 8, 2017
    time2, DesertCaliMom and VelveteenR like this.
  11. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American 5-Year Member

    Jan 31, 2013
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    landlock and 2020Vision like this.
  12. mom3boys

    mom3boys 10-Year Member

    Nov 3, 2007
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    Depends. The USMA parents club in GA is great. We go because we enjoy the parents. No one knows who pays and who doesn't. We send boodle to all cadets, regardless. If we didn't live in the metro area, I doubt we'd go...long drive for parents from other parts of GA.
  13. time2

    time2 10-Year Member

    Jul 17, 2007
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    You will also find some of the online parents groups to just be a place to rehash the obvious and fill up your email with relatively useless information. While some of those groups claim to discuss/provide insight on a wide variety of supposedly 'secret' topics, our experience was they covered the same topics which are already openly discussed on forums such as these.
    2020Vision likes this.
  14. serendipityRN

    serendipityRN Parent

    Feb 18, 2016
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    Our parent club experience has been incredibly positive. It has been helpful for us to talk with other parents who "get it" that our kids are not at typical college as well as learning as this experience has been all new in many ways. Ours is completely social though-get togethers every few months-there is nothing weird like threatening to talk to the supe or dant, lol. Parents will also post on the club page if their mid needs a ride back from Annapolis or someone to pick them up at the airport or that kind of thing-it is just supportive.
    DesertCaliMom likes this.
  15. bookreader

    bookreader Member

    Feb 5, 2015
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    If your parents would like to meet other parents who they share something in common with, then they'd likely enjoy becoming members.

    I opted to join our local support group and am so glad that I did. What a lovely group of parents. We do specific things during the year that support our cadets and also fun events for the parents. Since we are geographically close to WP, we also do on post activities that support all the cadets (and not just cadets from our group).
  16. parent

    parent BGO 5-Year Member

    Aug 27, 2014
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    We joined our local club and met some of the most wonderful people. The club has been great!
    AF6872 likes this.