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No matter how many times you’ve moved or how much research you’ve done, the first days on a new installation are bound to be an adventure. That’s where military sponsorship comes in, offering something no briefing memo can – a friendly face and a wealth of personal experience.
Sponsors are assigned through your unit but if you need assistance and haven’t been assigned a sponsor contact your installation Military and Family Support Center for assistance.
How having a sponsor can help
Here’s what you generally can expect from your sponsor:
- You’ll typically be paired with a sponsor who is similar in rank and family status. If you’re the parent of a toddler, for example, it helps to be paired with a fellow mom or dad who will know the places for your little one to burn off energy.
- You will work with your sponsor throughout the moving process. Requirements for sponsors vary by service.
- Once you arrive, your sponsor may want to meet with you and your family to show you around or help you through in-processing.
Be sure not to confuse a moving sponsor with command sponsorship. The military-wide sponsorship program is a resource available to all military families no matter where they are moving. In contrast, command sponsorship or “accompanied orders,” is a designation for families moving overseas. If you have command sponsorship, it will appear on your orders and provides several benefits to families during and after the move.
How to get the most out of your sponsorship
Here are some tips for making the most of the sponsorship program:
- Reach out to your assigned sponsor for resources. Feel free to start the conversation if you have questions or concerns.
- Help your sponsor get to know you and your family. Sharing the names and ages of your children or talking about your housing and child care needs can get the conversation started. And don’t forget to share your arrival date and travel plans – your sponsor may offer to meet you at the airport.
- If you choose, sharing more personal information such as a family member’s medical situation or special needs allows your sponsor to connect you with resources and information more effectively.
- MilitaryINSTALLATIONS is a great place to get a feel for your new duty station, and from there, your sponsor can fill in the details. Sponsors often share personal experiences about temporary lodging options, housing options, employment opportunities for family members, schools, child care, medical facilities and favorite places to visit. Learn more about how to explore your base and beyond with MilitaryINSTALLATIONS.
- Finally, if you’re moving overseas, a sponsor’s experience in the host country can be particularly invaluable. Your sponsor can help you navigate the culture, language, driving rules, currency exchange, climate and much more.
Learn more about how having a sponsor can help with your military move by taking the Sponsorship and You: Sponsorship Awareness course available on MilLife Learning. Choose topics and articles to help prepare your family for your move – including tips for filing taxes, navigating healthcare changes, connecting to local services and more.
If you are a service member interested in becoming a sponsor, the eSponsorship Application and Training, or eSAT, course provides the information and resources you need to become a sponsor and help other service members have a successful move.
The eSAT course teaches through a game format of five challenges or “missions” that each unlock a military coin. Each challenge is a realistic scenario that lets users guide service members through a permanent change of station move. You need to score 85% or higher to complete each challenge. Once you have completed all five challenges, you can download a certificate. The eSAT course supplements service-specific training requirements your service may have for sponsorship, so be sure to check for those guidelines.
The Sponsorship and You: Sponsorship Awareness course and the eSAT course are free and available 24/7 through MilLife Learning. Log in to an existing account, or register for a new account by following this Getting Started Quick Reference Guide.
Master your move and seize your adventure by participating in the military sponsorship program. Take advantage of this direct line to your unit and make connections at your next installation before you’ve even finished packing for your move. Contact your installation Military and Family Support Center for more details.