Sometimes that’s a simple process because there’s a great military community the minute you arrive. But it’s not always that easy. There are times when something doesn’t quite click with the ready-made community you find or when the military community isn’t as close-knit as you expected it to be. You may want to consider joining the standard spouse clubs, but that approach doesn’t necessarily suit every personality. For those times, here are our top tips for getting connected:
Check out PWOC.
While these groups aren’t available everywhere, Protestant Women of the Chapel is a program run through military chapels. Through nondenominational Bible studies that run throughout the school year, PWOCs provide a great option for meeting other spouses in your new home. Some groups are larger than others and offer many study options simultaneously, while other groups are smaller and offer one study for the entire group. As an added bonus, many locations provide childcare during each weekly meeting, allowing you to focus on fellowship and spiritual growth.
Mothers of Preschoolers is a faith-based, international organization that provides a source of fellowship and learning to mothers of preschool-aged children. Whether you have an infant or an older toddler, you’ll fit right in with these women as they strive to create a village that allows moms to be their best selves. The groups are typically based out of a local church, and often include childcare! The MOPS organization has also specifically created a Military MOPS option for military families, which further accommodates the flexibility that our lifestyle often requires. There is a fee to register for a membership, but it is typically around $25 for a year-long membership (as well as a pretty fun welcome kit).
Find a local BSF group.
Bible Study Fellowship is another international, Christian organization that — you guessed it — is essentially a Bible study. Each week, during daytime or evening meetings, groups meet around the world to participate in the same study, walking through one book of the Bible each year. During each session, there is a time of collective worship and a speaker, and then women break out into small groups to review the week’s lesson. These studies are free to join and provide free childcare(are you noticing a trend here?).
Get your fitness on!
More and more military gyms are offering exercise classes, which provide a healthy way to meet new people. Whether you’re in amazing shape or you’re haven’t set foot in a gym in ages, exercise classes often accommodate a wide range of skill and fitness levels. If you’re concerned about childcare during class (and none is available through your military installation), it might be worth investing in a YMCA membership, where you can take advantage of childcare that is included in your membership.
A YMCA membership is typically around $70 per month for your entire household, which sounds a little steep. But consider that if you take two 1-hour classes each week, you’d be paying less than $10/hour for some uninterrupted “you” time, not to mention that it includes a gym membership. (And you don’t necessarily have to work out every time you head to the Y … just sayin’ … some locations have cafes that are perfect for a quiet hour of reading.)
The busy season of getting moved into a new house and helping your family adjust to a new home seems like the worst time to add more to your plate. However, as you settle in, volunteering to help with base (or post) functions can be a great way to meet other members of your new community.
Facebook Stalk Your Base
If you’re having trouble finding community at your new home, the odds are, other women have had similar problems. Search for your installation on Facebook and keep an eye out for groups tied to your location. You never know what you’ll find — some installations have thriving general Facebook groups while others have groups dedicated to moms.