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.
Military spouses can become involved in their local communities. This allows you to connect more with the area you are living in and won’t feel like your life is always 24/7 Military. Sometimes we need a break from the day to day of military life and there are many ways to do so.
Here are five ways you can get involved and become a part of your civilian community besides just living off-post.
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. And it’s another way to stay busy!
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 a part of the Military is to attend church off-post.
This can be a great way to get to know those who consider the city you are living in their hometown and can open you up to new experiences you might not otherwise know about. Getting to know people in the community on a regular basis as you do through a church can really expand your experiences at your duty station.
Look for local clubs
Find something you enjoy. Look for book clubs, photography clubs, knitting circles, MOPS, etc. If you find something you enjoy, joining the civilian group 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. You never know who might want to join.
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. This can be the perfect way into your local community.
Here at Fort Campbell, we have a choice and some people do decide to go with the city leagues. Sometimes because they offer something different than on-post and other times because it is a little easier depending on where they live.
In this area, you will find a mix of military and civilians when you play sports off-post. Swim lessons are cheaper when you do them through the city which is a big draw for a lot of military families. They also have a great soccer program and many of the kids love it.
Don’t do all of your shopping at the Commissary
Our main grocery store is the Commissary and we 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 about what it was like to live in Germany. The Commissary is great overseas because having that allows you to still buy most of your American favorites but getting out and exploring other places will allow you to find new products and to try new foods that you might otherwise never see.
And let’s face it, sometimes the Commissary doesn’t have the lowest prices in town. That is something you will have to figure out and will have to do your own research on.