Why should parents join? The Service Academy experience is not like any other college. If you are not a Service Academy graduate, you simply cannot understand it. Parents of cadets and graduates don’t understand what it’s like to be a cadet, but they do understand what it’s like to be the parent of a cadet. Occasionally, some parent’s club members have also been cadets at one of the service academies and can share that perspective as well. Parents Clubs exist to pass that experience on to new parents so they can learn faster, make fewer mistakes, and be more supportive.
Try as we may, the hardships associated with the regimen cannot be adequately articulated. The pressures on the cadets and their parents are enormous from the very beginning and often disrupt communications between them. An appointment offer to attend the Air Force Academy is prestigious and comes with a full scholarship. “How do I tell Mom & Dad I’m not sure if I want to go?”… “How can I help my son/daughter make the right decision?” These are questions that Parents Clubs can help answer.
Parents Clubs help parents support their cadet. The Academy experience is not designed to be “fun,” at least not all the time and especially not the first year. How do you support your cadet and encourage success? One thing that has significantly changed cadet life is e-mail. Once the academic year starts, cadets can contact their parents daily, but this is a mixed blessing. It may make the cadet feel better to tell Mom and Dad what a miserable day he/she had, but Mom and Dad may be alarmed by what they hear. How do you know when your cadet is just “venting” and when he/she is saying: “I’m not sure this is right for me?” Parents Clubs can help. Parents Clubs can be a support group for parents who want to help their cadet be successful in an environment with which the parents are totally unfamiliar.
Shared experiences are usually more fun than solitary experiences. Parents Clubs exist to have fun with cadets. Summer picnics, trips to USAFA for Parents’ Weekend, football games and tailgate parties, military balls … these are examples of activities that can be fun to do with your cadet and other cadets and parents. These activities help parents live “vicariously” through their cadet.
Finally, Parents Clubs exist to support the Academy. They help recruit other outstanding young men and women for the Academy. They help host cadets when they travel for Academy sponsored events. They sponsor tailgate parties at away football games. They provide fans at other sporting events. They provide financial support for cadet activities which make the Academy a better experience for all cadets.
Parents Clubs provide extraordinary support to cadet parents, cadets, and the Academy.
Join and support your local Parents Club. You won’t regret it.