Mother and Father holding child in the street

6 Ways to Lean on Your Military Community to Settle Into Your New Home Faster

After months of planning your PCS, you’ve now landed at your new destination. Now it’s time for the fun part – building a nest and making it home. Here are a few ways to tap into the military community so you can settle and get into the swing of things more quickly.

1. Connect with a sponsor to see how the locals live

Before you PCS, do your best to get paired with a person at your new duty station who has a similar rank and family situation as you do to help show you the ropes. Sponsors are typically assigned through your unit. You also can request a sponsor through your local Relocation Assistance Program or Military and Family Support Center. A sponsor can be a friendly face with a wealth of personal experience who can make those critical first introductions, guide you to important resources and give you an insider’s perspective of your new duty station and community. It’s best to reach out to your sponsor before moving day.

2. Work with a relocation assistance professional to get referrals to other services

A relocation assistance professional can help you embrace your new home by offering one-on-one consultations on everything from setting a budget, providing resources for spouse employment and child care to stress management. Find a relocation specialist by selecting Relocation Assistance Program and your installation from the drop-down menu on MilitaryINSTALLATIONS.

3. Check out Armed Services YMCA programs for family bonding opportunities and meeting new neighbors

Armed Services YMCA provides several programs designed to help military families – with a particular focus on helping junior enlisted service men and women – grow their networks of support. Operation Outdoors sponsors family, youth and teen camps at their 34 branches and affiliate locations. These meaningful experiences help families bond with other members of the military community while offering tools to cope with the unique challenges of military life. The Parent and Me education program teaches strategies to help with early childhood development in a community of support where parents and children can learn from each other.

4. Explore Morale, Welfare and Recreation activities to have fun and meet new people

Meet new people and connect with fellow military families as you hit the links, go bowling or play air hockey with your kids at the recreation center. As the military’s network of support and leisure activities, the Morale, Welfare and Recreation program sponsors a variety of activities ? something for everyone to enjoy ? both on and off on the installation. Take advantage of opportunities to relax, laugh and bond with your new neighbors.

5. Join a military spouse networking group to “talk jobs” with other spouses

For military spouses seeking employment at their new duty station, joining a networking group can be a great opportunity to meet fellow military spouses while advancing your career. Begin with the Military Spouse Employment Partnership spouse group on LinkedIn and the Spouse Ambassador Network, which is a group of organizations united to help military spouses achieve their education and career goals.

6. Benefit from your Family Readiness Group to widen your network of support

Family readiness programs empower service members and family members with the support and information they need to thrive in their military lives. You’ll find intel on benefits and get connected to services and organizations that promote readiness and quality of life for you and your family. Each service branch has a family readiness program, but the names and resources available may differ. Special focus is given to helping families prepare for short- and long-term deployments and boosting unit morale. These groups host family-related unit activities, where families can meet and learn from fellow members of their military community.

Make your new destination home by connecting with your military community. Connecting helps you to get to your new normal faster.