After months of planning and preparing for 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.
Your school liaison can help with school transitions.
Contact your local school liaison for all of your pre-K-12 education needs and to help with a smooth school transition.
1. Connect with a sponsor to see how the locals live
Before you PCS, you will be assigned a sponsor at your new duty station. Sponsors are typically assigned through your unit and are similar in rank or family situation, which is helpful during your PCS. You also can request a sponsor through your local Military and Family Support Center’s relocation assistance service provider. A sponsor can be a friendly face with knowledge and 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.
2. Work with a relocation assistance professional to get referrals to other services
A relocation assistance service provider can help you embrace your new community. Consultations cover everything from housing and child care to spouse employment and stress management. Find a relocation service provider by selecting relocation assistance program and your installation from the drop-down menu on MilitaryINSTALLATIONS.
3. Help your children make a smooth transition with assistance from your school liaison
School liaisons are located at each installation and are the main contact for military families, local school systems and installation command for school-related matters pre-K through 12. They provide a wide variety of services for students and families, including transition support before and after a PCS. School liaisons can provide information on school districts and boundaries, assist with transfer of credits and class registration, help locate after-school and extracurricular programs, and set up tutoring and youth sponsorship referrals. They can also help you explore alternative schooling options and help with college, career and military readiness. Need help with special education? Your school liaison can connect you to the Exceptional Family Member Program and your school’s special education department, as well as help you navigate your new school district’s special education program.
School liaison support is free of charge and open to all Department of Defense identification card holders. Learn more about school liaisons, and contact your local school liaison for help with your child’s school transition as well as all of your educational needs.
4. 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 Camp sponsors family, youth and teen camps at military-supported YMCA 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. Operation Little Learners teaches strategies to help with early childhood development in a community of support where parents and children can learn from each other.
5. 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 children at the recreation center. As the military’s network of support and leisure activities, the MWR program sponsors a variety of activities — something for everyone to enjoy — both on and off on the installation. Check out your local MWR for opportunities to relax, laugh and bond with your new neighbors.
6. 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. Learn more about the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, connect with your installation’s spouse education, training and career services and join the Military Spouse Employment Partnership spouse group on LinkedIn.
7. Benefit from your Family Readiness Group to widen your network of support
The Military Family Readiness System empowers service members and family members with the support and information they need to thrive in their military lives. 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 so that you can get to your new normal faster. If you still need help figuring out where to begin, Military OneSource consultants are available 24/7/365 to help. Call 800-342-9647, set up a live chat or view overseas calling options to schedule a free and confidential consultation.