Time Management and Cadets: A parents’ perspective.

The Class of 2019 take the Cadet Oath http://www.citadel.edu/root/2015-oath-ceremony

The Class of 2019 take the Cadet Oath
A video of the ceremony

Since 2008 I’ve been supporting parents of cadets as a volunteer. First through The Citadel Family Association and since 2011 on my own through this blog and a few Facebook groups I started for new parents. In the past 7-8 years I’ve noticed a pattern emerge to the questions, problems and concerns that are raised by parents of first year cadets, or knobs as they are called.

The week after Matriculation Day the parents are aching for a glimpse of their son or daughter through photos posted on the school web site or related Facebook groups. This year I was on campus until Tuesday after Matriculation Day and managed to take quite a few photos.(see links below) A few academic offices and cadet activities in addition to the Citadel Photography Facebook page posted quite a few photos.

The next stage is right after the knobs get their phone and computer access. This stage is when various concerns come up with the parents, usually around food and sleep issues. Some knobs contact their parents requesting items they didn’t bring with them. Related questions revolve around how best to ship care packages.

We are entering the period of time, a week into classes when the academic concerns begin to surface. Some knobs struggle with time management and feel over whelmed. It can be very hard for parents to hear the stress in their son or daughter’s voice. The stress for many parents is the adjustment from being the person who helped their student through high school navigate their class schedule and assignments through conferences with teachers and counselors, to now empowering their cadet recruit to seek their own support by using their chain of command, their academic advisor, and the academic support office on campus.

As I pointed out in the blog entry, Learning Leadership and Ethics at The Citadel, the essence of being a leadership school is empowering students to take control of their experience. They will learn through a series of trials and triumphs. The temptation for many parents to assist is great. But parents must remember their child is at a school that values taking responsibility for ones actions. The best thing for parents to do is be their sounding board, not to take on their worries and concerns. The four years at the school will be filled with a rollercoaster of emotions. The key for parents is not to get on the rollercoaster with their child. You can serve as an observer offering tips of how to proceed, but not doing it for them.

Several years ago a former ombudsperson on campus told me how he helped cadets who came to him for advice. He said he would ask the cadet, who in their chain of command did they feel they could talk to about the problem/situation. If they didn’t feel they could trust the advise from the chain of command what about the company TAC officer, then an academic advisor, academic support center, or professor and so forth. The cadets are taught the roles of each cadet officer. They also learn the steps to resolve a problem. The best thing a parent can do is walk them through the problem solving by asking the same type of questions.

As first year parents are learning they too are making adjustments to a new normal. It isn’t just their cadet recruit. The school also has resources available for parents if they have concerns. The offices are located on the Office of the Commandant page under the H.E.L.P. link. If a parent just needs to talk to a fellow parent, the Citadel Family Association has parent volunteers who serve as company and battalion representatives.

The first year is one of many adjustments and “learning experiences” for both the knobs and their parents, but support is available.

Links to my photo albums follow:

Matriculation Day 2015 photos

Matriculation 2015 Sunday photos and Meet the Bulldogs

Monday after Matriculation Day

Oath Ceremony Monday Night

End of Oath Ceremony

Photos by Stacy Carter Studios (much better quality then my snap shots!):

Photos from CSI, Matriculation Day and others

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Supporting Cadets Through Philanthropic Giving

Friday parade

Friday parade

I am often asked about how to help cadets at The Citadel who have unmet financial needs. The Citadel Foundation has quite a few avenues available for anyone who would like to help.  I asked Lori Tuttle of the foundation office to send along the names of few funds that would directly impact cadets. This is not a complete list. If you have a specific interest I encourage you to call the foundation offices.

Of course donating to an unrestricted fund like The Citadel Fund is always welcomed. The description of the fund can be found on the Donate Now webpage:

The Citadel Fund offers every member of the college’s family an opportunity to support and enrich student life. Unrestricted gifts have an immediate and enduring impact on campus priorities.  By giving to The Citadel Fund, each donor helps to address the college’s most urgent needs, providing the flexibility to support its most critical objectives.

Gifts to The Citadel Fund continue the college’s longstanding tradition of providing cadets and graduate students with an exceptional education in a disciplined environment, deep bonds and lasting friendships, and above all, the ability and confidence to face whatever challenges come their way.

Every dollar makes a difference, every day, in the lives of each cadet and graduate student on campus.

I’ll post a few of the many cadet related Funds here. Each department on campus, as well as special interests, have funds to which you may contribute.

Go to The Citadel Foundation page and click on the red Donate Now button. To find cadet related funds enter “Cadet” in the “Fund Description” search window, or “Academic” for various related funds. You can also select a department or office from the department drop down menu to see the funds available in each department.

The highlighted names below will bring you to the donation page for that fund.

1.       Commandant of Cadets Discretionary Fund

a.       Provides ongoing resources for the Commandant’s department.

2.       Cadet Relief Fund

Provides financial resources to respond to ongoing requests from students who display immediate financial need.  Preference is given to applicants who, without aid, could not remain enrolled through graduation.

3.       Krause Center for Leadership and Ethics

The Krause Center of Leadership and Ethics coordinates, promotes, and enhances the development of curricular and co-curricular programs in leadership and ethics that support The Citadel’s vision to lead in the development of principled leaders.

4.       Academic Endowment

The Academic Endowment Fund plays a critical role in underwriting academic programs at the college. Each year, a distribution of the Academic Endowment Fund is made to the college for academic enrichment opportunities for faculty and students.  A gift to the Academic Endowment can provide funding for:

  1. Research and teaching support for faculty
  2. Academic program enhancement
  3. Technology upgrades and improvements
  4.  Recruitment and retention of students

5.       Career Center Fund

Supports career planning and expanding preparation programs and services provided to cadets, CGC students, and alumni of The Citadel.

6.       Cadet Activities Fund

The Cadet Activities department is dedicated to providing a rich and robust college experience to all cadets. Through an exciting array of programs and events, cadets are encouraged to socialize, donate their time, experience cultural events, participate in clubs and much more. All of this is oriented to rounding out the education of cadets and helping develop principled leaders for our nation.

A rather new fund is the Palmetto Ring Fund. From the donation web site:

Each year, The CAA is approached by senior cadets, parents, or others to ask for assistance in purchasing their Citadel Ring. With the current cost of a Citadel Ring exceeding $1,000.00, affordability has become an area of concern. Confirmation of need varies on a case-by-case basis. The CAA then reaches out to local clubs to help raise the money to assist the cadet in purchasing the Ring. The CAA cannot predict the sustainability of any external, private efforts, thus we cannot plan for those to cover all cadet shortfalls. When all of these efforts have been exhausted, The CAA has purchased a ring using general funds. As the need for assistance has grown, so has the need to create a more formalized process for approving, funding, and accounting for these Rings and their recipients.

The Summerall Guards and other groups also have a fund you can support. They rely on your support to help with their expenses.

To see if there is a fund for a group you would like to support, just enter a word into the “Fund Description” search window.

Many people ask, why give? The following is an answer to that question provided by The Citadel Foundation on their webpage titled Why Give?

The Citadel’s mission is to educate and develop its students to become principled leaders in all walks of life by instilling core values of Honor, Duty, and Respect in a disciplined and intellectually challenging environment.

Accomplishing this mission will require substantial additional resources, together with a continued commitment to efficiency, a focus on top priorities, and a determination to work hard. Gifts from individuals, companies, and organizations provide resources that will be used to recruit and retain outstanding students and professors, provide them with state-of-the-art technology and facilities, and enrich campus life through athletic and cultural activities.

Remember, if you have any questions, contact The Citadel Foundation staff.

Navigating The Citadel Website

A beautiful Fall day at The Citadel

A beautiful Fall day at The Citadel

This blog began in the Fall of 2011. My oldest son graduated from The Citadel in May of 2011. After chairing the Georgia Citadel Parents Group for three years as well as serving as the Area Rep coordinator for the Citadel Family Association for a couple of years, I accumulated quite a bit of helpful information for parents. A blog seemed like a great place to post this information so any searching for Citadel related topics could find the information. The initial information was taken form the document I used to share with Georgia parents which is also on the CFA website under CFA Benefits titled “Survival Tips.”

After I posted the initial information I did not visit the blog site for about six months. When I did check on the stats for the site, it turned out some days the blog had over 300 hits. Then emails began coming in from parents of incoming cadets. That is when I posted a Facebook group for Parents of the Class of 2016. There is now a group for Parents of the Class of 2017.

The intent of these groups is to help families prepare for knob year and teach them how to find information on the school website. Ideally, after knob year, each parent will learn the ins and outs of the cadet year. After knob year the groups for parents become a place for the parents to post photos, and share stories.

As with many sites that post information, some readers would rather request the answers from a fellow parent instead of learning how to find the answers. The groups are manned by parents of graduates. It is important to note these parents volunteer their time. All of the parents of graduates had to learn about the 4th class system on their own. There were no Facebook groups in 2007 and most of 2008. The goal of these groups is to teach new parents how to find information on their own so they will no longer need help from the volunteers.

The first tip for new parents is this, The Citadel is a military college. The cadets are to learn to handle their own affairs. Parents are needed for support, but should not try to “fix” any problems.

Parents should encourage the cadet to seek solutions on their own. If a problem arises a knob should use their chain of command to find answers. If it is an academic problem, speaking to their professor, then the academic support office is what they should be encouraged to do.

If it is a matter a cadet does not want to share with their chain of command several resources on campus exist and can be found on the H.E.L.P. web page.

The second big tip for new parents is to use the search window on the citadel.edu web site. Just about everything you need to know as a parent can be found in this way. I will list the top web pages parents should read below.

Remember, the links may change from year to year. If you enter the name of what you are looking for into the search window on the main web site you should find the current link.

You can also go to the webpage the school put together called simply, Parents.

A-Z Sitemap – Use this link to see an alphabetical listing of various departments on campus.

Annual Events page – includes information for the big weekends including Matriculation Day

Cadet Activities – This office handles the details for the knob’s trip tot he beach, Ring Ceremony schedule, Cookies for knobs program, Host families.

Citadel Family Association – A volunteer group of parents that help with Matriuclaiton Day. They also have company and area reps as well as the Nice to Have List for knobs

Information Technology – this page includes computer recommendations and IT support information

New Cadet Information – Part of the Academic Affairs page – lists helpful informaitn for new cadets and includes links for Parents

Office of the Commandant – a great page to book mark.

Parade schedule is listed under the Visitor tab on the home page

People Search – Enter the name of your cadet, faculty or staff member to see their contact information, including their campus mailing address.

Success Packet – Includes the items each incoming knob must ring with them on Matriculation Day.

You can also use the search window on this blog to find information I’ve posted on a variety of subjects, including what moms should wear for the Ring Ceremony.

Cadets during an October parade at The Citadel

Cadets during an October parade at The Citadel

 

The Citadel: Parents Weekend Notes For Parents of the Class of 2014 and 2017

The Class of 2011 wait to receive their rings. photo by Stanley Leary

The Class of 2011 wait to receive their rings.
photo by Stanley Leary

This is the time of the summer when I begin to get private messages from parents with cadets at The Citadel. The new parents have questions about getting ready for Matriculation Day, the day the new cadets report. The parents of rising seniors are preparing for Parents Weekend, which is also referred to as Ring Weekend, the day the qualified seniors receive their class ring.

Looking back on the four years my son was a cadet I can understand why there are so many questions about these two events. The school does a great job of posting helpful information, but there are times when a mother just wants to get the opinion of someone who has gone through the experience. Right now the Facebook group for 2017 parents is growing daily with new parents. It is a great place to ask questions of parents of graduates and to meet other new parents.

My mantra with all parents is to remember there is no one right way to do things at The Citadel. Each cadet will have their own goals and possess their own gifts and talents. A general rule of thumb is to talk to your cadet about their preferences before you resource with others. That is especially true about preparing for knob year.

If you wonder whether to purchase a certain item, ask your cadet if they want it first. A recent thread on a Facebook group grew to over 30 comments when a parent asked about bringing printers. Ultimately it is a personal preference. If you ask five different people their opinion, you will hear five different answers.

My son invited a good friend to join us as we went through the ring. photo by Stanley Leary

My son invited a good friend to join us as we went through the ring.
photo by Stanley Leary

Most of the questions from parents of seniors this summer deal with what a mom should wear to the Ring Ceremony Friday night. Some traditional rules about attire for Ring Weekend are now more flexible in practice. Traditionally in any social context you dress for the occasion based on the uniform of the day. For seniors this means their full dress grey uniform, their most formal. They wear this uniform to receive their rings and to walk through the Ring during the ceremony Friday night. SO to follow the traditional rules of etiquette, the mom and or date should wear a formal outfit.

That said you will see all types of outfits on the attendees at both events. Our family opted to wear nice “Sunday” attire Friday afternoon. For the Friday night Ring Ceremony I wore a formal gown. My 11-year-old daughter wore a nice dress and my husband was in a suit and tie. Scroll to the bottom of this entry to see a variety of dresses we saw in 2010.

The Cadet Activities office handles the schedule for the weekend, including the schedule of when each company goes through the Ring. Be sure to check their website and the school website for the schedule. When your cadet’s company goes through the ring will dictate when you plan to have dinner that night. Many companies, or groups of friends, get together for a group dinner that evening. Not everyone does, however. Another example of when you need to coordinate with your cadet. Moms, as you are selecting shoes to wear be aware that you may have to wait in a long line to walk through the ring. It is really an opportunity to have your photo taken as you walk through the giant replica of the ring. After you walk through the ring you can go to the Ring Hop, or take a carriage ride through the campus.

Bravo Company Class of 2014 prepare to receive their company letter. October 4 this year they will wear the ring. photo by Stanley Leary

Bravo Company Class of 2014 prepare to receive their company letter. October 4 this year they will wear the ring.
photo by Stanley Leary

For the first year knobs, Friday afternoon and evening is a time to relax with their family and friends. Knobs and their families do not attend the Ring Hop Friday night. I was told by a TAC officer in 1st battalion that they prefer the knobs to get out of the barracks and off campus while the seniors are receiving their rings. The school will publish a schedule which will include an academic open house Friday afternoon and usually an update from the president. Knobs will have to have their rooms in order for the early morning open barracks, so they try to get back to the barracks before the Midnight curfew.

Saturday morning the barracks will be open to guests. They usually have coffee and donuts in Mark Clark Hall along with an opportunity to purchase photos and other items from various vendors. At about 10:00 each company conducts their promotion ceremony for knobs. They are promoted from cadet recruits to cadet privates at the ceremony. The parade follows the ceremony and is before lunchtime. After the parade families get together for lunch with their cadets either in the mess hall or they bring a picnic or purchase a boxed lunch through the school.

The cadets have to march to the football game together. They also have to sit together in the stands. It is fun to go to the game, then see the Summerall Guards perform at half-time. Many families enjoy tailgate parties outside the stadium before, during, and after the game.

I’ll include links here to previous posts about the weekend.

The Citadel: Recognition Day and Ring Weekend

Special Weekends: Parents Weekend, Homecoming, Corps Day, Recognition Day

The Citadel: Parents Weekend and Ring Weekend Tips

Senior Parent notes

The Citadel: Parents/Ring Weekend 2012 + Hotel Info

A few photos from Friday night and Saturday follow:

Bravo Company Cadre and knobs do a set of push ups at the end of the ceremony. photo by Stanley Leary

Bravo Company Cadre and knobs do a set of push ups at the end of the ceremony.
photo by Stanley Leary

Bravo cadet officers lead the push ups for the CLass of 2014 promotion ceremony. photo by Stanley Leary

Bravo cadet officers lead the push ups for the CLass of 2014 promotion ceremony.
photo by Stanley Leary

 

You will see all types of outfits on the moms during the Ring Ceremony. These are a few examples. photo by Stanley Leary

You will see all types of outfits on the moms during the Ring Ceremony. These are a few examples.
photo by Stanley Leary

You will also see other family members in addition to Moms going through with their cadet. photo by Stanley Leary

You will also see other family members in addition to Moms going through with their cadet.
photo by Stanley Leary

photo by Stanley Leary

photo by Stanley Leary

 

photo by Stanley Leary

photo by Stanley Leary

photo by Stanley Leary

photo by Stanley Leary

 

Our family outside 1st Battalion after the ring presentation.

Our family outside 1st Battalion after the ring presentation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Few Notes Before the Weekend

Bravo knobs prepare for the promotion ceremony on Parent’s Weekend.
photo by Seth Ruff

The first week of training is almost over for the first year cadets, or Knobs, at The Citadel. It is a stressful time each year for the knobs and their families. Their phones should be returned sometime early next week. It is important to remember that the cadre in the company do have some leeway with the when exactly the phones are returned. The computers are the same way. Just wait until you get a call or email. Then be as positive as you can. Realize that some knobs will vent to family because they are the only ones to whom they can vent/complain.

By now the school Post Office has sent quite a few USPS boxes and labels to new families. Not everyone receives them. You can order your own online for free at USPS.com. We used the 1096L Priority box then put it in the Flat Rate envelope to save money on postage. It is a little larger than the small flat rate boxes.

Saturday afternoon the knobs will have a little fun when they attend the annual football team scrimmage. The knobs act as cheerleaders for the game.

The Cadet Activities office hosts an evening event Saturday that features a hypnotist. It is always fun to see the photos of the event. Be sure to bookmark the Cadet Activities web page and Facebook page for photos and important information. You can order cookies for your knobs birthday or other special occasion through their office. No knob wants to stand out in the group so remember not to make a big deal out of their birthday on campus.

Once classes get started a regular rhythm sets in to the week. It’s a busy rhythm, but it will become fairly routine.

I understand the Commandant told the new families on Matriculation Day that August 26 the knobs will get their first leave for 7 hours. While it may be tempting to rush to see them, it is the first time they have a chance to get off campus with their new friends and begin to bond as a class. You’ll have plenty of weekends to visit. Many local cadets bring friends home with them too.

A proud baby sister tries to point to her big brothers name on the Bravo Company board. Parent’s Weekend, 2008

Just a reminder to take time to learn the school website, especially the training schedules, photos and External Affairs pages. The Facebook pages for External Affairs, The Citadel Bookstore, and The Department of Cadet Activities will post information and photos throughout your cadets time at The Citadel.

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