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All Hands Magazine's mini-documentary series "Making a Sailor": These six videos follow four recruits through Boot Camp in the spring of 2018 who were assigned to DIV 229, an integrated division, which had PIR on 05/25/2018. 

Making a Sailor: Episode 1 - "Get on the Bus"

Making a Sailor: Episode 2 - "What did I get myself into?"

Making a Sailor: Episode 3 - "Processing Days"

Making a Sailor: Episode 4 - "Forming"

Boot Camp: Making a Sailor - Episode 5

Making a Sailor: Episode 6 - "I'm a U.S. Navy Sailor"

...and visit Navy.com - America's Navy and Navy.mil to learn more.

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Please note! Changes to this guide happened in October 2017. There are now tickets issued, and there are no longer parking passes for PIR.

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Hello, everyone!

My son is a week from his PIR, and ever since I received the "form letter", I've tried to send him letters, along with other entertaining reading, at least a few times a week.  Of course I keep it upbeat and positive.  But - I must admit - it was challenging to keep-up the pace with fresh, funny material, along with creative ways for us to communicate.  And because you're writing frequently, after a while, a plain old letter seems kinda...plain.

So...thank goodness for Pinterest and other internet sites that are chockful of amazing ideas of things to send your SR!  In response to what I've sent my son, he said he LOVES what he gets along with his letters from me.  He feels a continued connection with home although he's miles away, as well as gets some great laughs.  He even shares some of the content I send with his fellow division mates.

Because of his feedback, I thought I'd share what I sent to him, in the event anyone else was like me - wondering how to keep things new, informative, and upbeat while my SR was in BC.  It includes:  BC questionnaires, jokes, news/weather, and motivational quotes.

Please realize your son/daughter will not have room to keep everything out of these items that you send; they'll pick and choose what can fit into their locker.

I hope these ideas help you keep things fresh and interesting for your SR!   And it goes without saying that the most important thing your recruit wants to receive is your sincere support and love....however you say it.  :)

Enjoy and happy writing!

Grayce  :)

1)  BC questionnaires:  I stumbled on this fabulous idea from another member here, floridabeachgirl, to whom I must give credit for her post.  My SR loved filling this out, which of course you can modify and customize as much as your heart desires.  Here is her post:

Dear ________,

Here is your personalized, “official”, Navy 4 Moms Boot Camp Questionnaire that I found online. Please fill it out and send it back at your earliest convenience! Maybe this will be easier/faster than writing a letter..?

Love,
Mom

Today is Week___ Day___.

1. Life here is:
a. good
b. getting better
c. fantastic, beyond my wildest expectations!
d. hard, but I can handle it.

2. The first night here I got to bed at_____________AM and slept for ___________ Minutes/hours - OR _____Slept, who slept?

3. New Friends___________________________________________________________

4. My Best friend is_______________________________________________________

5. I do the following job at BC:
a. Kitchen Duty
b. Bathroom Duty
c. Chapel
d. Other ____________________________

6. My bed is made so tight that the quarter hits the ceiling. TRUE FALSE

7. My bed is like:
a. Papa Bear’s – Too hard
b. Mama Bear’s – Too soft
c. Baby Bear’s – Just Right

8. In our bunk I sleep on the:
Top Bottom

9. My bunkmate is:
a. Friendly
b. Don’t know – too quiet
c. Wish he was on the other side of the room

10. Have you got any awards yet?
a. Yes. __________________________________________________________
b. Not yet, but soon.
c. No and it doesn’t look likely.
d. You are kidding, right?

11. Has the yelling at BC:
a. Increased
b. Decreased
c. Stayed the same
d. No comment
e. I can tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.

12. On a scale of 1-10 how is your division working as a team?
Awesome 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Pitiful

13. Have you gotten IT? If so, what for?! _______________________________________________________________________

14. We designed our Division Flag and it has on it: ________________________________________________________________________

15. My spiritual life is:
a. Great – God’s showing me a lot
b. Fine, but it’s hard finding time to really pray/read my Bible
c. I’m learning what a sense of humor God has
d. Pray for me!

16. When I passed my PFA test, I did:
_____________ push-ups
_____________ sit ups,
And I did my run in ___________________.

17. Who loves you more:
a. RDC
b. Mom
c. (Insert pets name)


18. How long does it take to scrub the head with a toothbrush?
a. 2 hours
b. Haven’t found out yet
c. I don’t know, haven’t done it
d. Jesus is coming back before I get done.

19. Pssst…watch out for Ninja’s.

20. Don’t you just love Sharks? Ha, betcha’ didn’t know I knew what they were, did you?!

21. Did you order your Graduation Pictures, Keel Book and DVD yet?
a. Been there, done that
b. It is at the top of my list, Mom
c. O.K. I am on it! I will get them ordered ASAP!

22. My proudest accomplishment is: ________________________________________________________________________

23. We won (a) flag/flags! For: ________________________________________________________________________

24. You passed your swim Test! Yea! Or Have you passed your swim test?

25. Are you proud of yourself? You should be!

26. Do you know how proud your Mom is of you? You should!

27. Have you started fire training yet? Yes____ No ____

28. Are you looking forward to Captain’s cup? Yes ___ No ___

29. Are you looking forward to Battlestations? Yes___ No ___
((Hey, don’t let the ninja’s get you.))

30. Do these questions EVER end…really Mom…I don’t have time for all these!

31. My favorite thing about Boot Camp is:
a. Singing cadences
b. Marching
c. When do we get to blow things up?
d. LOVE studying for tests!
e. I’m the hottest guy here!

32. My LEAST favorite thing about Boot Camp is:
a. I’ve forgotten my first name!
b. Who the heck picked all this grey paint
c. No fraternizing
d. It starts way too early in the morning and I am not a morning person!

33. Finally, What I think about Boot Camp surveys
a. LOVE them! How easy is this? Mom will write to herself for me!
b. MOM! Please! I’m not at summer camp!
c. My Mom is a hoot and more Recruits need a Mom like her!

Love,
Your SR

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

He enjoyed that one so much, I made one of my own:

Dear ____,

Here is another questionnaire since you seemed to like the last one. Please fill it out and send it back at your earliest convenience!

Love,
Mom

Today is Week____ Day____.

1. I’m ready for graduation and to be done with boot camp for good:
a. true
b. false
c. are you kidding me? this is a really stupid question, Mom

2. It takes me ____ days to get a letter from Mom (check postmark date then give me how many days from that you actually received it)

3. I know for sure now after BC I’ll be training in the field of:
a. Avionics
b. Navy Nuke
c. Naval Aviator like Tom Cruise in Top Gun :)
d. Creative Cooking for Navy Personnel
e. Other: ________________________________________________

4. After PIR , I’ll be able to hang out with my awesome family until what time? ____:_____

5. After graduation next Friday, I’ll be shipping out to my new post on _____________________ (date)

6. My hair has grown out to:
a. grown out? oh no they don’t let that happen here. it’s smooth as a baby’s bottom; nearly bald
b. slightly more than stubble…like a 5 o’clock shadow but on my head
c. a little length, especially on top
d. at my shoulders like a dude in a rock band. Not.

7. Physically, I feel (choose all that apply):
a. in better shape than I’ve ever been
b. exhausted and withering away; too much working out and not enough sleep
c. lean and mean – not an ounce of fat on this bad boy
d. basically same as I always was

8. What time do they wake you up every day? ___:___ Do you get to sleep in later on weekends? yes no

9. How do they wake y’all up?
a. a gentle tap and a warm breakfast in bed, with hot coffee the way you like it  :)
b. alarm clock
c. screaming and banging metal trash can lids together
d. you don’t wanna know
e. other: ___________________________________________________

10. Do you get to attend church every week? yes no
If not, do you have some free time on Sundays? yes no
If so, what do you do with that time?
a. sleep
b. polish shoes and fold underwear
c. write letters to family -- hint hint…:)
d. do extra push-ups since I’m not getting enough exercise here

11. Have you met anyone you want to keep in contact with after BC is over? yes no
If so, who? ______________________________________________

12. Who is the funniest person in your division?
a. me
b. we see no smiles, much less laugh, so this question is irrelevant
c. other: ____________________________________________________

13. How are the meals there?
a. barely edible but free
b. fair
c. better than anything I can cook
d. better than Mom’s cooking <-- you choose this one, you die. haha :)

14. What is your favorite meal they served so far? ________________________________________

15. What has been the best part about BC so far? _________________________________________

16. What has been the worst part about BC so far? ________________________________________

17. We missed being able to talk to you this past weekend! Will you get to call again before graduation?
a. yes, and I know when. It will be on: ________________________________ (date)
b. yes, but I have no idea when
c. I don’t know; they don’t tell us when we can call ahead of time; they just spring it on us
d. they’ve said no more phone calls until BC is over
e. other: ______________________________________________________________________

18. What I still think about Boot Camp surveys:
a. LOVE them! How easy is this? Mom will write to herself for me!
b. MOM! Please! I’m not at summer camp!
c. My Mom is a hoot and more Recruits need a Mom like her!

19. Mom - please send more of these questionnaires:
a. yes – they’re so much easier and quicker to do than a letter, then I have time to sleep a little bit more
b. no – I’ll just write you what I want to tell you about

Now some free space in case there’s anything you want to say that wasn’t included in the questions (if not no worries):

Love,
Your SR

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2)  Jokes:  This is something my son really enjoys receiving.  BC can be a downer at times, and it's always nice to have something to smile about. There are several sites where I found witty, clean, hilarious jokes.  Especially the Rodney Dangerfield one-liners; those were my son's favorite.  Anyhow, I copy and paste/print 1-2 pages of jokes per letter sent because I don't want to use them all up the first couple of days I find them.  Here's some links to good joke sites to give you a good start:

https://entertainism.com/best-rodney-dangerfield-one-liners

https://bestlifeonline.com/bad-funny-puns/

https://thoughtcatalog.com/brandon-gorrell/2015/03/50-short-clean-j...

3) News/weather:  It took a little digging, but I found some funny/interesting news stories to send my SR (of course you want to avoid the usual doom-and-gloom articles.)  I looked all of them up on our local news station's website.  I'd copy and paste the story, along with the pictures, and send 2-3 stories per letter, along with my comments on each one.  Feel free to send updates on your local sports teams, too, if your SR is interested in that kind of thing.  Also, occasionally I send weather forecasts for our hometown vs GL.  We live in Texas, and my son is in BC now, so he says he gets a chuckle every time I send side-by-side photos of brutally hot weather forecasts here in TX vs the much cooler, pleasant weather in GL, and tell him I'm thinking of joining the Navy (for BC at least) just to get out of this heat.  All these things make him feel connected to us and the world.

4) Motivational quotes:   Pinterest is full of these, and I found many positive sayings to send to my SR (I didn't realize they had so many specifically for boot camp recruits.)  I'd send a few with each letter to help offer some encouragement.  I would print them out (small size - maybe 3"x3"), and cut them out before sending.  I told him to keep the ones that motivate him, and to feel free to toss the ones that don't.  He has a few sitting on top of his letter stack that he says are helping to inspire and keep him going.  Here's a start to finding some for your kiddo...

https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1NHXL_enUS755US755&biw=1536...

Views: 309

Comment by lemonelephant on September 3, 2019 at 3:54pm

Thanks for sharing. I added a link to this discussion in Letter Writing & Fun Stuff/Questionnaires to send to your Recruit so others will be able to find this in the future.

Thanks again.

Comment by txgrayce on September 3, 2019 at 3:56pm
thank you :)
Comment by Donna816 on September 20, 2019 at 3:15pm

Such great ideas!  Thank you for sharing.  I have slacked on my writing because I thought maybe I was being annoying.  This past weekend my SR said he was glad I was writing because he misses the outside world.  Said he kind of forgot the world was still turning that didn't involve BC.

Comment by B'sNukeMoM⚓️MMN on September 20, 2019 at 4:56pm

I sent multiple questionnaires when my son was in BC back in 2012 since it was so much easier for him to check off the answers.  It was a lot of fun asking silly questions.  I remember one time the question was "What do you miss most while at BC?".  His answer was "peeing standing up!".  Never would have expected that! He later explained that his division had some guys that just couldn't hit the urinal without peeing everywhere so they ALL got in trouble and were forced to pee sitting down lol!  And what's even worse is that someone was assigned the job of standing in the bathroom and making sure that no one used the urinals!  Like he said "good times!".

Comment by txgrayce on September 20, 2019 at 7:26pm

Donna816:  you are definitely NOT being annoying by writing your SR, believe me.  My son told me getting an encouraging letter was the main thing that kept him going some days.  They tend to feel SO isolated, especially given the fact that phone calls are few and between and texting/emailing is nonexistent.  So write as often as your heart tells you to!  :)   And good luck to your SR - I'm sure he will do well with your love and support.

Comment by txgrayce on September 20, 2019 at 7:28pm

B'sNukeMom:  Love the reply from your SR about what he missed most!  haha .  Isn't it weird, the things we yearn for while far from home?  Interesting it is always the little things that - in everyday life - we take for granted.

Comment by ellen0502 on September 20, 2019 at 11:25pm

You can also write your recruit letters from a pets perspective, the laundry room, his/her bedroom, their vehicle etc.

The November before my son left for BC (2012) we had an early hard freeze. The trunk of the maple tree in the front yard started to split from the hard freeze. I wrote a letter from the trees perspective explaining what was going on and how the people that come out of the hole in the box behind her fixed the problem. Everything was explained in detail, on how "she" was fixed and felt about it. That she was now called FrankenMaple, because of the bolt and cable fix, and hated the nickname she was given. My son read it to his buddies, and the all had a good laugh. We still call the tree FrankenMaple.

Be creative, think outside the box!! :)

Comment by VIII-I-MMIX on September 21, 2019 at 6:34pm
Thank you for this Grayce. Been running out of things to say in the letters I have written. I have enough for 5 weeks so this is really going to help me for my 6th week letter. Praying that my brother stays on track. Thank you to everyone who’s been giving suggestions and sharing their personal stories. I loved reading about it.
Comment by Donna816 on September 23, 2019 at 1:01pm

Thank you ladies for the encouragement.  I found some great meme's and jokes to send along with a few funny pictures.  I just made a collage on regular paper, printed and mailed it. Should he not want or have room he can just pitch the paper. I felt like the only person writing for a while so I thought I was the annoying Mom but he told me in his last letter he really appreciated the letters and wanted more.

Comment by JAZMOM on September 30, 2019 at 10:36pm
  • @txgrayce, I love the idea of sending a questionnaire! What a great way to find out more info, with less writing for them. I'll have to check out Pinterest for ideas as well. I appreciate all the ideas I get from everyone!!

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