Navy Dads

The Candio Box

A "candio box" is a care package that friends and family send to their loved ones in OCS to celebrate them becoming an officer candidate, the last phase of their 12 weeks in Officer Candidate School. Traditionally candio boxes are opened on the Wednesday of Week 9 and are highly anticipated by the candidates.

These boxes are decorated on the inside, typically in a U.S. Navy theme and offer words of encouragement for the candidate. 

 *Alcohol, tobacco, pornography, gambling paraphernalia, medication, weapons, and live animals are CONTRABAND and having them can get your candidate seawalled.*

from the OCS site:

       What cannot be included in care packages for my candidate?

Candidates are authorized to receive mail as soon as they arrive at OCS. Packages may include anything except those items listed as contraband. Contraband is defined as any item that is prejudicial to the good order and discipline, health, welfare, or safety of any candidate at OCS.

  • Weapons and blades, to include letter openers.
  • Chemicals, cleaning or other.
  • Food and Beverages to include chewing gum.
  • Alcohol.
  • Tobacco, to include e-cigarettes.
  • Medicine, to include gummy vitamins, mineral/herbal supplements, energy drinks.
  • Electronic Equipment not previously listed as allowed.
  • Gambling equipment to include playing cards.
  • Any light requiring more than two "AA" batteries.
  • Sealable Containers.
  • Cameras.

MAILING THE BOXES

It is recommend that you mail your boxes at the middle of Week 8, or a little later depending on where you are geographically. You want your box to arrive on Tuesday of that week, or the day before. If they arrive Wednesday, they will probably not be opened on “candio box day.”

Address boxes with the normal mailing address and largely - and very clearly - write "CANDIO BOX" on all sides of the box. This will help prevent your package being delivered too early, or too late, to your candidate. Some classes will not receive boxes until Thursday or Friday, depending on their class team.

SPECIFICATIONS

Any size box is acceptable, but typically Large Flat Rate boxes from USPS are used because it is often the least expensive option given how heavy these packages can get. Large Flat Rate boxes are free to pick up from any local USPS branch and are $18.90 (Price in October, 2018. Subject to change) to send. If you purchase and print the postage at home USPS gives a small discount. Do not require a signature on delivery on your box.

There is typically no limit on the number of boxes a candidate can receive, but keep in mind that they have very limited space to store things. There are always candidates who will not receive a box because their family and friends did not know about this tradition. Do not send extra boxes addressed to “a Candidate In Need” - they will not be delivered. Any extra boxes should be sent directly to your candidate with instructions to share.

Candio Boxes may NOT contain perishable food items, candy, or items that are disposable. The less they have to pack in their sea bag, the better.

DECORATIONS

You can pick up supplies at any arts and crafts store: Michael’s, AC Moore, Hobby Lobby, etc. Happy Decorating! 

Comment

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Comment by Todd Renner on April 26, 2021 at 10:31am

Hi.  My son just started this journey last week Class 13-21.  As I read though the Candio comments, it's not obvious to me what things CAN be sent.  Anyone have clever suggestions of what they've done or are planning to send?  Thanks in advance.

Comment by NavyDads CoAdmin Jim Gramza on March 19, 2019 at 9:31pm

Thanks for pointing that out Brandon. I missed it when I updated the page so as not to include food. 

Comment by brandon young on March 19, 2019 at 9:23pm

...BTW, she kept her box sealed and locked up, since she knew it would get trashed had she opened it, so we'll eat it all when we arrive in Newport Thursday :)

Comment by brandon young on March 19, 2019 at 9:21pm

I just noticed the article has been updated to reflect food can't be sent, so disregard my last comment in that respect, other than I see one line that says "there is really only so much that they can eat!", might want to remove that.  Thanks!

Comment by brandon young on March 19, 2019 at 9:10pm

My daughter graduates this Friday.  I can tell you this article is incorrect and needs to be updated to avoid confusion, rather than posting a stream of comments correcting it.  I prefer articles to have indication of when last updated too.  Any food is contraband and will get thrown in the trash in her class.  So a candio box really isn't anything special because you can send a box of non-contraband items at anytime in training, which we did early on.  If this is something that may change from class to class then that would be good to update as well, but as far as 08-19 is concerned snacks go in to the circular file.

Comment by NavyDads CoAdmin Jim Gramza on March 17, 2019 at 9:45pm

Stacey, I have no idea if there are extras. I really can't imagine there would be. Wish I could give you more information, but I just don't know.

Comment by Stacey Land on March 17, 2019 at 8:55pm

My daughter just informed me that there is a Candio in her class that will not receive a Candio box this Wednesday. Does anyone know if OCS keeps extra ones that have been sent in for such an occasion?

Comment by NavyDads Admin (Paul) on February 23, 2019 at 10:34pm

from the OCS site:

  1. What cannot be included in care packages for my candidate?

Candidates are authorized to receive mail as soon as they arrive at OCS. Packages may include anything except those items listed as contraband. Contraband is defined as any item that is prejudicial to the good order and discipline, health, welfare, or safety of any candidate at OCS.

  • Weapons and blades, to include letter openers.
  • Chemicals, cleaning or other.
  • Food and Beverages to include chewing gum.
  • Alcohol.
  • Tobacco, to include e-cigarettes.
  • Medicine, to include gummy vitamins, mineral/herbal supplements, energy drinks.
  • Electronic Equipment not previously listed as allowed.
  • Gambling equipment to include playing cards.
  • Any light requiring more than two "AA" batteries.
  • Sealable Containers.
  • Cameras.
Comment by brandon young on February 23, 2019 at 8:41pm

Hi, this post is a little confusing to me.  It goes into quite a bit of depth, along with pictures of snacks, on what to send, but then I see a small comment saying no food items are allowed for a candio box specifically?  If that is the case would it be possible to update the article to reflect information that apparently changed in Feb. 2017?  Right after I dropped a candiobox off at the post office today I read the recent comment and said a big "doh!" :)  I just talked to my daughter and she also told me snacks are considered contraband now even for candio-boxes...doesn't make sense to me if they will be candio's and eligible for liberty, but sounds like the Navy hasn't changed in some ways!

Comment by NavyDads CoAdmin Jim Gramza on January 26, 2019 at 6:28pm

Yeah sorry Dennis. As of February 2017, no food items are allowed. 

Comment by Dennis Valdez on January 26, 2019 at 5:14pm

Will we be able to include food items in the Candio box?  Or are food items still contraband? 

Comment by Peter S. Adam on January 26, 2019 at 1:35pm

What is the address of Navy OCS?  How do I address a CANDIO Box to a candidate at OCS?  Please let me know.  Thank you...

Comment by LTB on February 21, 2017 at 7:06am

As of February 2017- LT Withrow, a class officer at Newport Officer Training Command in Rhode Island, states OCS no longer authorizes food or beverage items to be received in packages to students [OCS].

Comment by LTB on February 21, 2017 at 7:01am

Here are additional comments from the other facebook group also from February of 2017-

Nancy Thomas

February 11 at 10:43am

Graig Withrow is it appropriate to send an extra candio box for someone who may not receive one? If so, how should it be addressed? I have seen different answers to this question on navydads and navy4moms and I figured you would be the person to ask.

Top of Form

Graig Withrow On the ship I would completely support that. Being a training environment I'm not sure it's a great idea, albeit very considerate. If you decide to go ahead then I'd recommend to just send it to your officer candidate and let them distribute it.

February 11 at 12:27pm

 

Nancy Thomas Thank you

February 11 at 12:29pm

 

Marlo Walker Craig Withrow can you please verify if snacks are allow to be in the box. I do not wont to put anything in this box that will get my daughter in trouble. Thank you

February 18 at 12:29pm

 

 

Graig Withrow OCS no longer authorizes food or beverage items to be received in packages to students.

February 18 at 12:31pm

 

 

Marlo Walker Thank you for update

February 18 at 12:33pm

Comment by LTB on February 21, 2017 at 6:54am

Here is the follow up conversation from the 1st facebook group-

 

Shelby Hanson LT Withrow. Can you please explain the candio boxes? I understand no food or perishables, but what other things are commonly included. I would like to send one but I have no idea of what kinds of things to include - and is it really just a box or are they marked a special way?

February 4 at 10:49pm

 

Graig Withrow The candio boxes are just a care package akin to what you would send your love one when they are away on deployment. In those it is common to put in yummies that will remind them of home and make them feel good. But in the candio boxes we have forbidden food. It is also common to send photos, letters, birthday presents, Christmas, etc. You don't have to wait till candio phase anymore since there's no food. Let me tell you, receiving a care package is a huge moral booster! Hope that helps

February 5 at 4:15am

 

Rachel Smith McCurdy So we can send them a box any time now? Say, like for Valentine's Day?

February 5 at 8:13am

 

Graig Withrow Of course! I encourage it. Just no food (including candy), alcohol or tobacco.

February 5 at 11:57am

 

Rachel Smith McCurdy Thank you! Your input in this group has been really helpful.

February 5 at 6:04pm

 

Nancy Thomas Graig Withrow can they have books, reading material not on the navy reading list? Like an inspirational book or anything else appropriate? Must it be on that list (a list I found online for approved US Navy reading)?

February 7 at 9:20am

 

Nancy Thomas Graig Withrow also, candio instructions said not to include anything related to gambling. Does this mean a deck of cards is off limits?

February 7 at 9:24am

 

Graig Withrow They can have other reading material. Best to leave out the deck of cards. It's not just that gambling is prohibited, but games in general while in training.

February 7 at 9:25am

 

Taryanne Scott So what about Magazines, Toiletries, Clothing (Socks, compression shorts etc) or other clothing items like a shirt from home that smells like you, picture frames, essential oils for relaxation, office stationary (if so, what would they need), and what about medicine (like icy-hot for sore muscles)?

Sorry for all the questions.. I just have NO IDEA what to send!

Thank you!

February 8 at 3:13pm

 

Graig Withrow Magazines, picture frames, oils, medicine is all a no. They are not allowed to self medicate at ocs. The clothing, stationary, and toiletries is ok.

February 8 at 3:45pm

By the sounds of things.... CANDIO boxes are a thing of the past which is a shame. 

 

Comment by LTB on February 21, 2017 at 6:43am

Everything I read on what to include in CANDIO boxes discouraged anything but photos, baked goodies, and food treats from home. Premise being that our sons and daughters had limited space to store anything other than necessities at OCS and that anything sent would have to be packed and transported to their next location. 

A friend is monitoring that Facebook for me since I'm not a member. Apparently there are two 08-17 groups over there. I don't know what happened but I'm cutting and pasting everything she forwarded to me from the 1st Facebook group here-

It started with this post-

Hello Family, I am LT Withrow, and am one of the Class Officers for 08-17. I hope you don't mind me joining the family group. I can help be a conduit between you and the Class to keep you updated on their progress. Yesterday they completed Indoctrination phase with RLP re-inspections and our General Quarters evolution. Unfortunately, 4 candidates did not pass the RLP re-inspect and will roll into 09-17. If you haven't received a call from them yet, you should sometime this weekend.

Comment by LTB on August 22, 2016 at 8:18pm

The above information can be found here, 

https://perrinplacecom.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/candioboxguide.pdf

This is a supporting link "For those who just found out about this fun tradition", https://perrinplace.com/2015/12/20/candio-boxes-2/

The author provides a link to wrapping the inside of the box which I found useful, http://jomygosh.com/2013/12/how-to-wrap-the-inside-of-a-box/ All the supplies she purchased to decorate her sailor's candio box were purchased from Hobby Lobby. She did a great job based on the photos she provided. 

It is my understanding that candio boxes are so important to the kids that some parents will send a 2nd box to their sailor to share in the event a class mate's parents were not in a position to send one. 

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