Why the Need for Parents’ Clubs?
Sending a son or daughter to the Naval Academy or to any Service Academy is quite different from sending them off to a regular college or university. Those phone calls parents receive from a new Plebe are not the same kind of phone call that parents of other college students receive. New midshipmen can be very discouraged and afraid that they are not able to live up to the demands placed upon them at the Naval Academy.
Parents Clubs offer a wonderful source of support and encouragement, particularly for the parents of a new Plebe. After their son or daughter has survived Plebe Summer, parents feel more comfortable about their midshipman and can begin to enjoy the pride they feel at having a son or daughter at the Naval Academy. What better way to share these experiences than with other parents who feel the same way.
History of Parents Clubs
Many years ago, the Candidate Guidance Office at the Naval Academy recognized that the right kind of parental guidance could greatly help to ensure the success of a Midshipman. They felt that the development of this guidance could be best accomplished by uniting parents of Midshipmen to form a Parents’ Club in each area. The main purpose of a Parents’ Club would be for informational guidance and support with a lesser emphasis on social activities. The Naval Academy, the Alumni Association and the Midshipmen themselves approved this concept.
In April of 1973, under the guidance of Tom Teshara, West Coast Regional Director of the Blue and Gold Program at the Naval Academy, the first Parents‟ Club was formed in the San Francisco Bay Area (now known as the U.S. Naval Academy Parents’ Club of Northern California). Since then, the concept of Parents’ Clubs has spread across the country and Clubs, some of which are joint service academy clubs, now spread across the continental US, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. At the request of the Superintendent, the Naval Academy Alumni Association administers Parents’ Clubs.
At our club, the emphasis is on informational support for the parents. We also have a number of social events that build camaraderie and esprit de corps. The parents’ club currently has approximately 220 member families, with the majority being parents of current Midshipmen; but there is also an active alumni parent group. We hold two general meetings a year, usually involving speakers of interest to the parents, as well as reports on upcoming academy events such as parent weekends, commissioning, etc. In late May our club hosts our annual Appointment Dinner; celebrating the new class of incoming Plebes. Over the summer we hold a Plebe Parent Potluck for Plebe parents to gather and hear information from local Midshipmen who are home on leave and from experienced club members. We also hold a San Francisco Fleet Week picnic in the Fall, inviting the local parent clubs for the other service academies to join us. During the Winter Break, the club hosts its annual Midshipmen Recognition Dinner/Dance.