A Doolie Day Out Primer

Doolie Day Out (DDO) is almost here!  Saturday is just one more full day and a wake-up away, and we'd like to prepare you for what to expect as the Class of 2027 ventures off base with their sponsors.

What is DDO?

This is a day for our basic cadets (soon to be "Doolies" or Cadets 4th Class) to meet their Cadet Sponsor Families and spend the day accomplishing the 3 R's - resting, refueling, and reconnecting. Sponsors will pick up their cadets early on Saturday morning, will host them through the day, and will ensure their return to base NLT 1900 (in civilian terms, that's No Later Than 7:00pm).

What is the goal of DDO?

This day is important for cadets, NOT because they get access to their phones and can catch up on the latest news, but because it's the beginning of forging an invaluable relationship with their sponsor who will be their mentor, friend, and advisor. Sponsor families can be a lifeline for cadets and their families, and often this day is the first of a lifelong friendship. Therefore, launching the cadet-sponsor relationship is the main goal of the day.

Where will my cadet go on DDO?

Usually the day is spent at their sponsor's home, though a trip out to shop for needed items or to fill a special restaurant craving is not unusual. Sponsors live locally, within a 50-mile radius of USAFA, so cadets will not be far from campus. Cadets are matched with sponsors who are vetted local citizens who volunteer to be mentors. If your cadet is an intercollegiate (IC) athlete, their sponsor will likely be a member of the team coaching staff.

What will my cadet do on DDO?

Remember when your cadet was a baby? Eat, sleep,...repeat? They'll spend the day doing the same, except they'll also reconnect with friends and family via phone calls. Don't be upset if yours isn't the first phone call they make. Sometimes those first calls go out to friends instead of family. Prepare to hear stories filled with USAFA jargon. (Hint: Have your Parent Membership Guide handy; USAFA acronyms and vocabulary lists start on page 60.) Keep in mind, your cadet has been in another world - the world of Basic Cadet Training (BCT) - for the past several weeks. Your cadet will have stories to tell and experiences to share, though they may need time to process them and share them in their new USAFA language. When your phone does ring, be prepared. Your cadet may be talkative, or maybe not. Your cadet may be emotional, or maybe not. Your cadet may feel like quitting, or maybe not. Prepare for all the possibilities. Resist the urge to remedy every complaint and be read to buoy your cadet with positive words of encouragement. Remember, the USAFA training environment is challenging by design, and your cadet has the fortitude to survive it as have all the rest of the Long Blue Line!

So, now that you have a snapshot of DDO, get ready to check out WebGuy's snapshots of your cadets at DDO pick-up! We'll have photos posted late morning on Saturday, July 29.