Sunday, July 15, 2007

Soldiers' Angels 101: Getting Started

After you've signed up and received your official adopted soldier, sailor, airman or marine, the first thing you should do is to join the forums and go to Angel Boot Camp. Angel Boot Camp isn't strenuous and there are no tests, unlike the extreme boot camps that our service men and women attend. However, it is very helpful in providing the basics to getting started supporting your adopted service member.

Other "veteran" Angels browse the forum through out the day and answer questions or post suggestions, ideas and news that is important to supporting our military. At Angel Boot Camp, a newly minted Angel asked an important question: What do I write to someone I don't even know?

For some people, that is the scariest part of all. What do you write to a complete stranger?

The first thing you want to do is to write an introduction letter to your adoptee just like you were introducing yourself to someone you want to be friends with. This letter might include basic information like your name, where you are from, what you do for a living, something about your family, local events, the weather or anything else you might exchange when first meeting someone.

There are no maximum or minimum pages that need to be filled out. The important thing is the letter itself that lets your adopted soldier, sailor, airman or marine know that somebody back home cares about them and appreciates their service. As one Angel recently said:

I try to remember that it is the little thrill of having your name called at mail time (just like summer camp) that is the biggest morale boost.

I am a brand new angel as well and I just wrote my first couple of letters, I sent my first letter just as a basic introduction of my self, a little about my family and why I joined.

Now that you've got that first letter out of the way, what do you write in your next letter and the next and the next?

I became an angel yesterday. I sent the deployment pack with snacks from SA, I wrote my first letter introducing myself and my family, and I filled out a few postcards to send in the next few weeks. I cannot wait to get to Walmart to select things for the next package. My problem is I am having trouble knowing what to write. I do not know where my soldier is stationed or where he is from. Does he care about our lives? Plus I feel bad writing too much about good stuff, for example will talking about a July 4th picnic make the soldier homesick?

Our veteran Angel replied with some very good advice:

Well I've been in this org. for a while now and 1st off, for the most part, yes most of them do care, if not all of them. Most of the time I hear it helps them "get away" for a moment from everything that is going on over there. Also, if they are pretty lonely and have no one else that writes to them, your letter will definitely make their day. Come on, we all LOVE to get mail that doesn't include junk or bills. Them knowing for a fact that someone back home cares helps them to make it through. As for making them homesick with things that you write about, to be honest, I think the same thing when I start writing a new soldier. Matter of fact, I thought it last night because I just adopted a soldier. I'm sure that they do SOMETIMES get homesick reading our letters, but that doesn't take away from how much they enjoy receiving them. So NEVER feel like it's not worth it. As for what to write about, just go on about how your day went, or something funny that happened to you or someone else. Maybe something out of the norm that happened that day or just something you saw. I usually just write about what I am doing at that very moment.

Another Angel replied:

I pretend I am writing to some one I have known all my life and I just heard back from my adopted and he said the letters were great he enjoyed hearing about my day and all the things going on in my town.

The last and best advice:


Your support IS priceless. Help us support our men and women in uniform. Join Soldiers' Angels and send a piece of America to our troops; send them our support.

- May no soldier go unloved