Information for Parents about the BVA's and Summerall Guards

The 2011 Summerall Guards take a run with the 2012 Bond Volunteers the night before they pass their rifles..photo by Stanley Leary

I was looking over the site stats for the blog Off the Base.  It is fun to notice the articles that are found because people are using Google to find out information.  The beginning of the school year the entries about knobs and Matriculation Day are the most frequently searched.  Second to that is BVA’s and Summerall Guards.

Junior year is when cadets who want to be Summerall Guards volunteer to go through intense training.  They are called Bond Volunteer Aspirants. In many ways it is like knob year, only this time it is worse.  The juniors represent some of the top leadership in the Corps of Cadets. They have a heavy load of classes and duties that their advance rank brings with it.. They volunteer to go through intense physical and mental challenges. The “fun” begins first semester, but the really intense period occurs after the break at Christmas.

I mentioned in an earlier entry how anxiety producing this junior year is for parents. It is widely known on campus that the BVA training is tough. Very little information is available to parents who are anxious.

The best advice I can give parents of the BVA’s, let your cadet contact you. Do not expect to hear from them as often as you did the years before. Send them encouraging emails, and care packages. Try to understand they need all their focus to squeeze in tine time study train and get their jobs as officers completed. The waiting is the hardest part.  Remember, just support your cadet.  They will let you know if/when they need help getting the various required items like the high top Chuck Taylor shoes and fatigue pants.

The 2012 Summerall Guards take the field on Corps Day, March 2011. photo by Stanley Leary

You can find background information online.  I’ll include a few tips and web links to help.

The Summerall Guard Parent and Sponsor t-shirts are sold by the Summerall Guards as a fund-raiser.  Be sure to buy yours from the new Summerall Guards on Corps Day.  They are usually sold at the BBQ lunch that is held as a fund-raiser.

A good explanation of the Bond Volunteer Aspirant training can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Summerall_Guards

Three different web sites for the Summerall Guards:

http://www.summerallguards.com/

http://www.summerallguards.net/aboutus.htm

Merchandise can be purchased here. Log in required

http://summerallguard.org

The School web site link:

http://www.citadel.edu/sccc/summerall-guards.html

Videos of the BVA training:

Take Your Rifles, by Chris Florio  (one of my favorites)

The Citadel Summerall Guards 2010

Summerall Guard Commercial

2012  Summerall Guards

Nelson Lalli, a member of the 2011 Summerall Guards presents Brett Collin of the 2012 Summerall Guards with his official patch. photo by Stanley Leary

2011 Summerall Guards, photos and video by Stanley Leary

Unedited version of 2011 Summerall Guards from Corps Day 2010, photos and video by Stanley Leary

2011 Summerall Guard photos by Stanley Leary

Corps Day 2011, photos by Stanley Leary

Congratulations to Bobbie O'Brien

Last week I had the opportunity to sit in on the meeting of the Rosalyn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellows .  Bobbie O’Brien of  WUSF, and the administrator of the blog site, Off the Base, presented a summary of her work over the past year.  She was also selected as the only Fellow to present to President Carter and the Board of Councilors. Today Bobbie posted a summary of her presentation. You can see and hear about my contributions at the 6:13 mark.

Bobbie told me she added a few photos from my entries to Off the Base.  It was a strange feeling to be in a room of distinguished guests and then see a photo of me with my children on a screen as big as the side of a house! I am very grateful to Bobbie for the opportunity to contribute to her blog.

Congratulations to Bobbie and all the Fellows.

e
At the end of Recognition Day. 4th Class Cadet Nelson Lalli with his mom, Dorie and sister, ChelleRing Ceremony, 2010. 1st Class Cadet Nelson Lalli escorts his mother, Dorie and his date, Leslie Manzano through the Junior Sword Arch.

Previous posts from Off the Base

As a little background, I thought it might be helpful to post links to the entries I’ve written for Off the Base, a blog by Bobbie O’Brien of WUSF.  Most of my entries for Off the Base have to do with being the mom of a cadet at The Citadel.  Future entries on this blog will be on a variety of topics.

The Making of a Military Mom

Mom Readies for Son’s Military College

The Citadel: Year One a No Fly Zone for Hovering Parents

How The Citadel “Ya-Yas” Came to Be

Learning Leadership and Ethics at The Citadel

The Citadel Trained Me as Well as My Son

The Citadel: BVA’s and  Summerall Guards

The Citadel: Recognition Day and Ring Weekend

Care Packages for Cadets: The Citadel Heroes Project

The Citadel Bond Renews Parents’ Long Time Friendships

The Citadel: Unofficial Tips for Families of Incoming Knobs

The Citadel: Saying Good-Bye, But Always Connected

A Sister, a Mom, A Family Prepares for Military Life

Dorie, Nelson and Leslie. Ring Ceremony 2010

Survival Skills to Succeed as a Citadel Mom

A New Blue Star Mom Shows Supports for Fallen Soldier

Celebration, Tradition, Ritual: The Long Gray Li

Citadel Parent Crafts Her Own Graduation Ritual

Graduation Day: No Longer the Mother of a Cadet

A Letter to The Citadel Class of 2015

Citadel Mom Cycle Completed – A Blue Star Mom Emerges

A Military Mom Meets Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell, IV

An Army Mom Transitions from The Citadel to Ft. Benning

A Seminary Student, Now an Army Mom Reflects on 9/11

Welcome to my new blog

Welcome

For the past 9 months I’ve contributed to the blog, Off the Base, a project of Bobbie O’Brien of WUSF.  Bobbie and I met at the Carter Center in 2010 at a series of meetings focusing on our returning veterans and Mental health issues. Bobbie is a Fellow with the Rosalyn Carter Mental Health Journalism Program. I attend the meetings as an observer.

Since graduating from Columbia Theological Seminary in 2002 I’ve research traumatic stress. When I met Bobbie my oldest son was a junior at The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, and an Army ROTC cadet. She asked me to contribute to Off the Base as the mom of a cadet at a military college and the mom of a future officer in the U.S. Army.

I turned her down at first because as I told Bobbie at the time, “I’m not a writer.” I majored in public speaking at the University of Richmond and would rather speak to a thousand people than write an article. I thought about her offer overnight and agreed to do it the next day. To grow you really have to push yourself into uncomfortable positions.

While I will still contribute to Off the Base, there are topics that are of particular interest to me that won’t fit into their mission. I’m glad you visited the site and hope to hear form you.