Purchasing gifts for a person going into the military requires that you think about what he will need before or after boot camp because most civilian items aren’t allowed in boot camp. If you want to purchase items for the recruit to take with him to boot camp, you will need to contact the recruiting station before purchasing a gift to ensure the recruit can take it with him.
Going Away Party
Giving the future military member a going away party before she leaves for boot camp is a good gift. For a party she is sure to remember, plan a trip to an amusement park or a local venue that has activities she can enjoy with all of her family and friends. Take as many pictures as possible during the outing. Send these to her while she is in boot camp. Recruits usually enjoy seeing pictures of fun time and familiar people while in boot camp.
Recruits are allowed to take phone cards to boot camp; however, there may be a limit to the number of phone cards the recruits can bring. If this is the case, you can always include the phone number to call to use the calling card and the PIN of the calling card in a letter you write to the recruit.
Gift cards are an option for recruits to use after boot camp. You can put the gift card in the mail when the recruit reaches her duty station after boot camp. In some cases, you can give the recruit the gift card at her graduation from boot camp. Contact the training base for information on this.
Before the recruit leaves for boot camp, give him a certificate or promissory note for a ring commemorating his graduation from boot camp. Most companies that make high school and college graduation rings also make military graduation rings. Another option is to visit a local jeweler. Be sure you get the recruit’s ring size before he leaves for boot camp.
Stamps and Stationary
Some branches of the military allow recruits to bring stamps and stationary to boot camp, while others require recruits to purchase these items from the Exchange or Commissary. Ask a recruiter if these items are allowed. If the recruit can’t bring these items with her to boot camp, you can include some stationary and a book of stamps when you write to her—just be sure that the envelope isn’t too thick. If you want her to write to you, include self addressed stamped envelopes. This will minimize the time she has to spend addressing envelopes.
- SR Hebert, M. L., U.S. Navy, Naval Training Station, Great Lakes, IL
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