When you move to a new duty station you usually have the choice of living on or off-post. Whatever you decide to do, you also have the choice to get involved in your civilian community surrounding your Military duty station. By doing so you can connect more with the area you are living in and won’t feel like your life is always 24/7 Military.
Here are five ways you can get involved and become a part of your civilian community besides just living off-post.
- Go to community events- One of the best ways to get out there and get to know your civilian community is to attend local events. Whether you are stationed overseas or in the US, look for events that are going on. Join Facebook groups for the city, search websites and newspapers for events and plan to get out there and go to them. Not only do you get to interact with the civilians in your area but you get to learn a little bit more about their culture. This is a great way to make the best of where you are currently living and enjoying what your local area has to offer.
- Go to a civilian church– Every duty station we have lived at has had a good on-post chapel to attend. A lot of people enjoy that but one way to meet others in your community that are not apart of the Military is to attend church off-post. It can be a great way to get to know those who consider the city you are living in their home and can open you up to new experiences you might not otherwise know about.
- Join a club- Find something you enjoy. Look for book clubs, photography clubs, knitting circles, Mops, etc. If you find something you enjoy, it can be a great way to meet others and get involved with what is going on in your area. Joining a new group can allow you to make friends with similar interests and can give you something fun to do in your spare time. You might even want to start your own group if you can’t find what you are looking for.
- Have your kids do off-post sports- This might not be an option everywhere and a lot of times it is easier to go just on-post for sports but if you can have your kids connect with teams off-post, it can be a way into the community. Here we have a choice and some people do decide to go with the city leagues. Sometimes because they offer something different then on-post and other times because it is a little easier depending on where they live. Here in the Ft. Campbell area you will find a mix of Military and Civilians when you play sports off-post. Swim lessons are actually half the price when you do them through the city which is a big draw for a lot of Military families.
- Don’t do all your shopping on-post- My main grocery store is the Commissary and I do go to the PX sometimes but when you do get out and shop other places you can learn more about your local area. This is even more true overseas. We used to go to the local German shops for produce and a few other random things and I think that allowed us to get to know more what it was like to live in Germany. The Commissary is great overseas because it allows you to still buy most of your American favorites but it is nice to explore and find new products and to try new foods that you might otherwise never see.
What do you do to connect with your local civilian community? Do you think it is important to do so?