Ideas for Party for a Marine Heading Off to Boot Camp

Marine Corps boot camp training is the first stop on a long and difficult career as a United States Marine. Boot camp may be 13 weeks or more, with a non-ending assault of physical and mental challenges to ensure participants are able to meet the demands of a Marine career. Before your child heads off to undergo boot camp training, plan a party to send him off in style.

Bounty Boxes

Involve guests in a charitable activity while they socialize and enjoy snacks at your party by setting up a Marine care package assembly line. Check websites such as The Care Package Product, which compiles lists of items most requested or needed by Marines, and assign guests items to bring (choose things easily found in bulk warehouse stores, dollar shops and mass merchandisers to keep costs down). According to The Care Package Project, as of June 3, 2010, the most requested items (travel and single-size servings) items included tuna kits, beef jerky, canned fruit, nuts, body wash, toothbrushes, undershirts and batteries. The site cautions against shipping food and toiletry items together; the smells can comingle, especially in the hot desert many Marines are stationed in. As guests arrive, set them up with cardboard boxes and have them place their goods on a long table. Have your departing Marine help corral items at the door and distribute them on the table, setting an example of charitable contributions for when he, too, may be the recipient of one of the care packages.

Letters from Home

After guests have enjoyed cake and socialized, gather the group and distribute colorful stationery emblazoned with the American flag or symbols of your home town. Give guests about an hour to compose a letter to a Marine; letters may be anything from praise about their work in the field to a description of the latest movie or sports event. Have your Marine write a letter, too, describing her thoughts of heading to boot camp and goals for a Marine career. Gather the letters and send them through Any Marine, a website that lists Marine contacts by class/rank, sex and name. These Marines have signed up through the website to serve as distributors; they’ll receive the letters and hand them out to other Marines. There’s no guarantee the Marines will or even can write back, but the goal is to make them feel that they're missed and respected back home.

Movie-Style Marines

While your Marine heading to boot camp may be familiar with Marine military functions, other party guests may not be. Rent a couple of Marine-themed movies and cue them up after guests have wound down from their going-away-cake sugar highs. Examples include Anthony Swofford’s personal memoir, “Jarhead,” starring Jake Gyllenhall, “A Few Good Men,” starring Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise and Demi Moore, and “Rules of Engagement,” with Samuel L. Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones.