By Rebecca Alwine, PCSgrades Blogger Affiliate
By the time you get settled in your new home this summer following your PCS, it’s going to feel like you missed a whole season! Summer is busy with traveling, moving, vacations, and unpacking. By the time the last box is put away, and the kids are gearing up for school, you’ll find your desire to get out and do things return. We often spend our time getting our house in order before venturing out to make friends, find new volunteer opportunities, or just explore. Here are some suggestions to get started!
When you arrive at your new installation, your spouse will go through in-processing before starting work. Usually spouses are invited to attend that, but a) its boring and b) you have stuff to do! So after you get settled, call your family services and see if they offer a newcomer’s brief.
Brittany Boccher, 2017 Armed Forces Insurance Air Force Spouse of the Year®, says this is her first step when PCSing. “Immediately upon arriving at a new base, I seek the newcomers briefing on base. And I reach out to the spouses’ club to get involved!”
Connect with a Spouses’ Club
Spouses’ Clubs go back almost as far as the military does, though they’ve changed a lot over the last 50 years. What used to be just for wives and segregated by rank have morphed into community organizations where civilians, male spouses, and even active duty members are welcomed. They spend a lot of time fundraising and supporting the community (and playing Bunco).
Most kick-off in August or September when people are ready for activities and events. You can join clubs throughout the year. They are a great way to make friends and get involved in the community. Board positions can also help you gain experience to put on a resume later, or help fill in time if you’re at a duty station for a short period of time.
Volunteer and/or work
The easiest way to connect with like-minded people is to start volunteering. Begin with the same places you helped out at your last place. Schools, chapels, family services, and even organizations off post are always looking for volunteers. If you aren’t sure what’s available nearby, check out Volunteer Match, a website that helps connect you with local (or online) volunteer opportunities.
If you’re looking for a paid positions, check with Employment Readiness or your local employment office. There are always more opportunities available than what you can find online. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to advertise that you’re looking for a job and the best way to find something. See if your area has a local In Gear Career chapter so you can network with other career spouses.
Sometimes kids make it easier for us to connect with other people, and sometimes they make it harder. If you don’t have kids, or if they are school aged, you generally have a bit of time throughout the day to get out and explore. If you have small kids, they require more of your time but can serve as an introduction to others.
Playgroups, story time at the library, and even just walking to the park are great ways to meet people and get connected. MOPS is an organization that serves moms and preschoolers and is a great place to talk to other people in the same stage of life. No Excuse Moms, Stroller Strides, and Baby Boot Camp are organizations that combine exercise and friendship and are very inclusive.
If you don’t find something you like at your new place, start something! All of these programs and groups were started by someone, somewhere looking for something new to do with others. Don’t let the post-move blues get you, get out and get connected.
Author: Rebecca Alwine is a PCSgrades’ Blogger Affiliate and a freelance writer, army wife, and mother of three. She enjoys coffee, running, lifting weights, and most of the menial tasks of motherhood. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found hiding behind the sewing machine or with her nose in a book. Her writing experience includes military family topics, research pieces, guest blogging, and much more. She’s a contributing writer for ARMY Magazine, a regular contributor for several publications including to Homefront United Network, PCSgrades, ESME, and has also been published in Ms. Magazine and The Atlantic. You can follow her online atwww.whatrebeccathinks.com or on Twitter (@rebecca_alwine) and Instagram (@rebecca_alwine).