ABOUT PARENTS CLUB
What are Air Force Academy Parents’ Clubs?
Why do we need them? Why should parents join?
There are now more than 90 Air Force Academy Parents’ Clubs around the country. Each club is independently “owned and operated” by parents who have cadets enrolled at USAFA and parents of alumni of graduates. USAFA Official Parent Club Listing
Parents’ clubs exist because the Service Academy experience is not like any other college. If you have not experienced the Air Force Academy first-hand, it is difficult to comprehend it. While parents of cadets and graduates may not understand what it’s like to be a cadet, they do know what it’s like to be the parent of a cadet. Parents’ clubs exist to pass on that experience to new parents so they can learn faster and be more supportive.
Parents’ clubs are designed to help parents support their cadets to be successful. The Academy experience is not designed to be “fun”, at least not all the time, and especially not the first year! The first 6 weeks of the Academy experience is Basic Cadet Training. During this time you will have limited contact with your son or daughter. This may be the first time any of you have had this experience and it can be very difficult. Being able to learn about what they are experiencing and how other parents have dealt with it is very comforting.
When you do hear from your cadet, it may not all be positive. 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 are support groups for parents who want to help their children be successful in an environment with which the parents may be totally unfamiliar.
Parents’ clubs exist because, 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 these pressures often disrupt communications between the student and the parents. Selection to attend the Air Force Academy is prestigious and comes with a full scholarship, but it is decidedly not for everyone. “How do I deal with the fact that my son or daughter may not want to stay at the Academy?” “How can I help my son/daughter make the right decision?” These are questions that parents’ clubs can help answer.
Parents’ clubs exist for parents to have fun, and to have fun with their cadets. Shared experiences are usually more enjoyable than solitary experiences. Military balls, summer picnics, football parties, Parents’ Weekend and trips to USAFA are just a few examples of activities that can be fun to do with your cadet and other cadets and parents.
Many clubs have orientations for the appointees and new parents prior to in-processing. This gives them the opportunity to ask questions of other cadet parents who have already “been there, done that.” It’s invaluable information!!
Parents’ clubs exist to support the Academy. Parents’ clubs help recruit other outstanding young men and women. They help host cadets when they travel for Academy-sponsored events. They sponsor tailgate parties at football games. They provide fans for “away” sporting events and cadet visits. They provide financial support for cadet activities, which make the Academy a more enriching experience.
Parents’ clubs provide extraordinary support to parents, cadets, and the Academy.