Basic training, recruit training, boot camp…whatever your service calls it…is a time of stress, long days, hard work, and very little comfort. This is why mail call is so important.
Mail call is the connection to friends, family, loved ones, and the rest of the outside world. When you get mail at basic training, you’re happier. When you don’t get mail, even for a single day, you can feel pretty down.
We frequently get asked, “What should I write about when I send mail to my son/daughter/friend/etc. at basic training?”
Here are 5 things you can write about in letters to your new recruit.
And if you’re using the Sandboxx app to send your letter, we’ve even written down some ideas for pictures you can include.
1. Just say hi.
No need to overthink this one. A post card, a single page of stationary, or better yet a Sandboxx letter, all have plenty of space to simply tell your recruit that you’re thinking of them.
Something like the following would work great:
“Hi Bobby! Just wanted you to know I’m thinking of you. Keep up the great work. You rock!”
Sandboxx photo suggestion: a quick snapshot of you, the letter sender. Selfies welcome.
2. Share some encouragement.
With all the stress of basic training, plus being away from loved ones and the comforts of home, it’s easy for a recruit to feel down. Share some encouraging words to boost their spirits. After all, we want them to succeed and to feel good about their accomplishments.
Try something like this:
“Hey Natalie, I know some days can be tough and you miss home a lot. Just remember that I/we support you, and I know you can do it!”
Sandboxx photo suggestion: a funny or inspirational photo or meme.
3. Tell him/her that you’re proud of them.
This can go a long way. Reading how proud you are of what they are doing will give them a ton of inner strength to keep on truckin’. It doesn’t have to be flowery or over the top, just something genuine to let them know how proud you are.
Use this as a starting point:
“Thinking of you today. Want you to know that I am very proud of you. You’re doing something amazing.”
Sandboxx photo suggestion: something patriotic would work…the American flag, a bald eagle, etc. Even better would be a selfie of you giving a big smile and a thumb’s up!
4. Sports scores, local news, family activities.
Your new service member is starving for information from the outside world. So…send them some.
Here’s an example:
“Hey bud, I know you didn’t see it, but the Lions won the Super Bowl. Never thought that would happen! Also, they’re building a new high school gym here. Gonna be nice. Sam and I are taking a trip to see Chad this weekend. We’ll send some pics. Keep rockin’ it there at basic. See you soon.”
Sandboxx photo suggestion: a picture of the winning goal, a photo of the new gym, or pics of the family or group of friends from the recent trip.
5. “Can’t wait for you to graduate!”
Graduation day for your recruit seems like a distant future event. So, remind them of the light at the end of the tunnel. If you know you’ll be there when they finish, tell them you can’t wait to see them in their fancy new uniform. This will be a big help to keep your service member working hard to reach their goal.
Try this out:
“Hey girl, can’t believe it’s only a few weeks til you graduate. Thank god, cuz we need to do a movie night. Keep it up, you’re almost there. See you soon!”
Sandboxx photo suggestion: a pic of your calendar with graduation date circled.
Letters to your recruit don’t need to be long. They don’t need to be fancy. Any mail from you will make a big impact. Especially since your service member won’t really have access to text messages, Instagram, Facebook, etc. while at basic.
So keep those letters coming.
Want more tips on sending mail to basic training? Check this out: