Last week I visited a “meet and greet” of a Coast Guard recruit’s family prior to graduation. The event was held at Cabana’s Beach Bar and Grill on Beach Avenue in Cape May. The gatherings, held each week at different locations, are coordinated by the families themselves via Facebook.
The families I met were from all over the United States: two from Texas, one from Washington State, yet another from California. Families typically arrive in Cape May on Thursday, often for only one day prior to boot camp graduation on Friday.
I’m not sure how aware Cape May people are about this weekly trek and event. Sure, we’re aware of the Coast Guard Base and the Training Center, but the fact that thousands of people each year journey into Cape May often for only one night is a little known fact. What is particularly interesting is that during the summer season, when Cape May hotels are full, visiting families will stay as far away as Vineland and Atlantic City to attend graduation. They will still spend the day and their money in Cape May on meals and after-graduation celebrations.
As interesting as this is, what struck me most, was the reaction of the families to my presence. The thought that someone from local business community stopped by was meaningful to them. Couldn’t help wonder if more Cape May locals would find this rewarding.