As your loved one prepares to head off to boot camp or basic training this summer, your entire family is experiencing a range of emotions—from immense pride and excitement, to fear of the unknown. Planning a boot camp or basic training send-off party for your recruit is a great way to share a wonderful memory and let friends and family show their support. Focusing on the party plans can also be a welcome diversion to the worry and anxiety you may be experiencing before your recruit’s departure.

Here are some tips on planning a memorable boot camp or basic training send off party for your recruit:

Schedule the party at least 2-3 weeks prior to your recruit’s send-off date.

Sometimes your recruit’s report date will get moved up, so have the party several weeks before his or her scheduled departure date.

Invite guests 4-6 weeks before the party.

The spring and summer months are busy for most people so don’t wait until the last minute! Invitations could be in the form of a phone call, email, or formal card. Be sure to ask guests to RSVP so you can plan accordingly. Check out Pinterest for some great invitation ideas.


Plan the food and beverages.

If people want to help with food and drinks, take them up on it so you can enjoy the party, too! Just be ready with suggestions for them. If your guests will be bringing food, consider using a free online signup site such as Sign Up Genius, Perfect Potluck, or Thing to Bring.

To personalize the celebration, serve some of your recruit’s favorite foods and desserts. Many bakeries can decorate cakes or cupcakes with military insignia. Again, Pinterest is a wonderful resource for themed food and desserts.

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Bring on the decorations.

Decorations add a lot to a party. These can be either homemade or store bought. Service-specific decorations, tableware, and other supplies are available online and at most party supply stores.

  • Red, white and blue decorations lend a patriotic feel and can be used for any branch of military service.  
  • If your recruit is going into the Air Force, you might want to add silver to the mix.
  • For the Army and Marines, consider a camouflage theme.
  • For Navy and Coast Guard, a nautical theme could be a lot of fun.


Take lots of pictures!

Take lots of photos of your son or daughter with family and friends.  Make sure someone takes a picture of you and your recruit, too! Print and place these photos in a small album that your child can take to boot camp or basic training, or send them in letters after they depart.


Collect Memories or Words of Encouragement.

Leave out a notebook or some index cards for guests to write down notes of encouragement or some of their favorite memories with your loved one. Your recruit will enjoy reading these on their flight to their training location or during those moments when they need some extra support and encouragement.


Help your Recruit Stay Connected with Family and Friends.

To make sure your recruit gets lots of encouraging notes and support from family and friends, consider using the services of Project Write2Them. Our non-profit organization makes it easier to stay in touch with your recruit by turning emails from friends and family into letters from home. Anyone added to your Write2Them account can send emails at anytime via phone, tablet, or computer. The service is available at all basic training locations, officer candidate schools and military service academies! To learn more about this unique and convenient way of staying in touch with your recruit during boot camp or basic training, visit our website.

Be sure to get everyone’s email address at your recruit’s send-off party, so you can add them to your Write2Them account.

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