Times for A day?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by xcmum, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. xcmum

    xcmum Member

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    We are so excited to see our DS after BCT that we are coming out for A day. I know it is just for a few hours; that's ok. I am wondering if any one knows the approximate times that parents can visit with their cadet on A day? Is it usually a morning, afternoon or evening thing?

    I know this info will eventually come out, but I am looking at booking tickets for both A day (and PW) as soon as possible and am wondering if we could book a flight back home later in the evening of the 5th as opposed to staying an additional night and return home the next day. Given that we will be flying back out and staying for several days :w00t:, we would like to save as much money as we can, so if we can avoid staying an extra night that would be best. Since our cadets don't have to be back until 7pm at the end of PW, we will stay an extra night so we can spend as much time as we can with DS.
     
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  2. Tommyboy

    Tommyboy Member

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    For A day We flew out later that evening. The C4C's were released about 1100 hours right after the parade and shoulder board pinning ceremony. They had a mandatory briefing at 1300 hours. We had less than 2 hours to spend with our DS but he was so grateful we were able to make it. After speaking with other parents we decided to go even though we knew the time we would actually spend with our DS would be short but sweet. This is one of the few important events in a cadets time at the Academy that parents can actually attend and view.
     
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  3. parktrack

    parktrack "Hoov!" "Target In Sight"

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    Couldn't agree more with Tommyboy's comments. The time with DD/DS is short but so worth it. I've mentioned before in this forum that I decided to go at the last minute but it was definitely worth the extra cost for the plane ticket. A-Day is truly a once in a lifetime event. One thing that isn't mentioned is that you may get a little extra time on the parade field when the shoulder boards are pinned. This will vary from squadron to squadron. As for schedule, here is what I recall for A-Day:

    0730 - arrived at USAFA and secured a parking spot & picnic area. The earlier you arrive the better the picnic spot but if I recall the gates don't open until a specific time. (Hint: While we were able to sit in the grass under a tree, consider going into the ice hockey arena. It is cooler and there are seats to sit in. Seems like this is a little used area.)
    0900 - Acceptance day parade
    1100-1300 Time to spend with your DD/DS

    At some point in time an official schedule for A-Day will be published. When planning for A-Day, try to remember that time is limited so be focused on spending that time your DD/DS. Many squadrons will plan group picnics with seemingly elaborate plans. We did not participate in this as we wanted to have as much one-on-one time with DS as we could. I'm certainly not suggesting that squadron gatherings are bad but just that a lot of energy can be spent planning for the squadron vs. time with your DS. Be flexible with any food that you bring. You may want to take a little extra food as your DS may have a new friend(s) from his squadron that doesn't have anyone there for A-Day.
     
  4. xcmum

    xcmum Member

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    Thank you Tommy boy & parktrack.

    Parktrack - I gather from your post that the time we get from 1100-1300 is usually spent in a picnic of some type whether with squadron or alone with DS/DD?
     
  5. Daretodream

    Daretodream Member

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    My wife and I caught a late afternoon flight into CS and had a late dinner. We were up and at Chick-fil-a at 6AM with what seemed like every other parent from the Class of 2020. It is not as crowded as I Day or PW and the gates open at 7AM. The parade goes until late morning and most squads pin the boards on the parade fields. You then have a couple of hours to visit. Most of us were bringing supplies to the Cadets like food, pencils, storage bins, etc. They will let you know what they need. Most make a quick Walmart run the night before A Day. We were done by early afternoon and caught a flight out and were back home after one night away.

    The one word of caution is our DS squadron held the shoulder boards ceremony inside and provided lunch so all the work to get food was useless. It also took most of the time we had to visit, but we got a lot of insight into the academic year for the squad and met most of his squad mates.

    You cannot leave campus so it really is a quick turn around, but we were glad we went and he certainly was glad to see us.
     
  6. xcmum

    xcmum Member

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    So you didn't get spend much alone time with him?
    I know anytime with our cadets is better than nothing, especially after 6 weeks, but I think I would be a little envious of other parents that were able to spend those couple of hours with their cadet.
     
  7. Daretodream

    Daretodream Member

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    We ended up with only about a half an hour alone with him. We spent most of it getting his supplies from the car to his room.

    I know a few parents were upset that they didn't get more time. I looked at the positive. We were inside in Polaris Hall and they made a big deal on the shoulder boards. They introduced the entire squad to everyone. They gave an outline of the semester with expectations. We learned a lot.

    The two moments that really stood out to me this year were the smile on my DS' face when he got the boards meaning he completed BCT and was in the Wing for the Academic year, and the tone in his voice when he called after Recognition. Knowing he made it through that weekend and really what is the end of the Doolie year sounded like the weight of the world was lifted off of him.

    You will hear a lot of different experiences from parents. Some Cadets embrace the experience, others seem to accept it but don't necessarily embrace it, and some struggle with it. There is no where else a student has to be balanced in academics, athletics and military training. Our DS loves USAFA. He understood BCT. He is doing well academically and knew the chances of excelling at every class was slim. He found a club (Honor Guard) with interest and people like him. You just have to support your DS/DD in the way they need it to get through the year.

    Read and learn as much as you can as it will help relieve some of your stress as a parent, but you will not know everything. USAFA does a good job of keeping you informed and the state parent clubs are wonderful resources with great families.
     
  8. Capri120

    Capri120 Parent

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    Like Daretodream, we flew in the night before, but to Denver, staying in Castlerock, made a quick run to Walmart for some of DD's requested items since we didn't want to carry them on the plane. We drove down to the Academy early on A-Day to help set up a squadron picnic, then went to watch the parade.

    We brought a pair of binoculars to make it easier to find DD in the crowd (helped a bit). It was a gorgeous morning and warmed up quickly, causing several unfortunate cadets to "fall out". We could see our DD and a couple of her friends "taking a knee" to prevent this and they made it through.

    After the parade, her squadron pinned shoulder boards on the field. Of course DD was excited to see us and her aunt and uncle who live in the Springs. But, I think she was just as excited to introduce us to her squad members, roommate (and best friend, I might add), as well as some of her upper class leaders. She and her squad members that joined the picnic seemed to enjoy the time with family as well as each other in a relaxed setting, at rest. Once everyone was finished eating and we bagged up the leftovers to take back to the squadron, we were escorted by DD to her dorm room and met a few more cadets.

    All and all, it was a bit rushed since they had a mandatory 1300 briefing, but was well worth the visit to see how happy she was and her increased confidence, poise and true sense of belonging. We had scheduled a late evening flight out since we were not 100% sure how much time she would have, so we did not get back home until 1:00 in the morning, and then I had to get up at 4:30 to go to work. But, as I said, well worth the short time and would do it again.
     
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  9. Tommyboy

    Tommyboy Member

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    Yes
     
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  10. BlahuKahuna

    BlahuKahuna 5-Year Member

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    Good news in case you haven't heard, there's now a Chick-fil-a at North Gate as well as South Gate!
     
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  11. parktrack

    parktrack "Hoov!" "Target In Sight"

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    That is correct. Regardless of how you choose to do it, that is the time you will have with your DD/DS. And as Daretodream mentioned, every squadron does the shoulder board ceremony differently. That is another good reason to make plans that are fluid and can be changed on the fly.
     
  12. DrMom

    DrMom 5-Year Member

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    Chik-Fil-A at USAFA! Go Air Force! Go Falcons! Words I never thought I would say. I cannot wait for #3 to come home so I can tell him. One more advantage of USAFA, the Air Force, and Colorado Springs.
     
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  13. Sam2018

    Sam2018 5-Year Member

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    Just a quick comment. A-day is scheduled for the 8th. Its pretty much always the Tuesday after basic and this was confirmed at the appointee tour yesterday.
     
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  14. ottonolan

    ottonolan Member

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    We were just talking about this! Now if they could just get a Whataburger my DS would be set.
     
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  15. xcmum

    xcmum Member

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    Thank you very much! I was looking at the calendar & couldn't see it. My son assumed it was the 5th since it states BCT ends then. Good thing I haven't booked tickets yet.
     
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  16. RedDragon

    RedDragon 5-Year Member

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    My wife and I made a mini-vacation with the March back from Jacks on one end, A day on the other and 3 days or so in Breckinridge. The March back was fun to witness as you could hear them approaching from quite a distance. We got a big smile and a wave from our 2018er. It was great to see the pride on all of the doolie faces. Later that afternoon we were on the chapel wall and spotted him again....I think this was pure luck. Aday was great as we had about 2 hours with him and got to see his room and met some of his buddies from BCT....his best friend still even though they scrambled to different squadrons this year.
     
  17. Mountain_Mom

    Mountain_Mom 5-Year Member

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    For those of you who cannot go or for whom it is a financial hardship - the kids do just fine. . . and you will be able to view from a link or livestream (can't remember if it was live or posted after the fact). My Air Force kid was my oldest so I had kids at home and it seemed like a long way to go for a few hours. It would have been fun, but I would do it the same given my situation. If you have the time and the money, by all means, use every excuse to go to the fun stuff, but if you can't go, don't feel bad.

    PS. There's no In 'n' Out either. :( But, there is a new Kneaders at North Gate :)
     
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  18. Capri120

    Capri120 Parent

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    Also, don't fret if you cannot make it. Your sons and daughters will be "adopted" by the parents that do go for their respective BCT squadron. They will not be neglected. They are family now.
     
  19. Loriops

    Loriops New Member

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    Picnic and then we got to go to our sons dorm room (and we were able to bring him some school supplies, new underwear, etc). Awesome 2 hrs, it flies by!