Spotlight on the Community - United States Naval Academy
By René Campo, Representative, National Capital Region
Every year at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, approximately 1,300 Midshipmen (or “plebes” as freshmen are called) enter the gates as new students. These students come from all 50 states, US territories, and some foreign countries to pursue degrees. In addition to academics, they are also trained and evaluated on military leadership as well as mandatory participation in athletics. Becoming a Midshipman at the Naval Academy is an enormous step. These young men and women make a commitment to live a military lifestyle, and they take an oath of office, promising to be loyal and to defend their country. This preparation is essential training for the challenging responsibilities of service they will face as naval officers, and for the opportunities of a lifetime offered by the Navy and Marine Corps. One of the programs the Academy has in place to ease the transition during that first year is the Sponsor Program.
Both military families and civilians alike can tour the beautiful Naval Academy campus, known as the Yard, which is located in historic Annapolis, Maryland, only a half hour drive from Washington, DC. Throughout the Yard, monuments commemorate the bravery and heroism that are an inherent part of the academy's history. Buildings and walkways are named for Naval Academy graduates who have contributed to naval history and to their Nation. Outside the gates, the City Dock area is lined with shops and restaurants and the water is full of beautiful sailboats and extravagant yachts.
The Sponsor Program offers members of the greater Annapolis community the opportunity to meet Midshipmen and learn more about the Naval Academy, while providing them with a “home away from home.” This unique program provides families living nearby with an opportunity to support the military in a local capacity. A sponsor may host Midshipmen for dinner, take them on local sightseeing tours, give them a ride (Plebes cannot own or operate a motor vehicle), or simply offer a space for them to briefly escape the exhausting rigors of the first year at the Academy. This is a fantastic program and most sponsors develop long lasting friendships with their Midshipmen.
To learn more about the Naval Academy, or specific information about applying to be a Sponsor, visit: www.usna.edu.
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