As if being a source of support ready to adapt to any situation wasn’t hard enough, off-base military spouses have the additional challenge of staying-in-touch with the installation’s news and events. A spouse can’t rely on their service member’s information alone since deadlines, shift extensions, deployment and other work-related distractions may come in to play.
While it may require a little more intention, there are resources to help keep those who opted out of military housing up to date on-post happenings. Here are a few:
Spouses may shy away from their Family Readiness Group because they feel too new, have heard rumors of cliques or they think it’s just an on-base/post institution. Every FRG is unique, but all are meant to serve as a supportive, informative and networking group so families get the resources and information they need.
If you’re unable to get to the installation for regular meetings, you can see if there is a virtual FRG (vFRG). With a web-based group, you can get updates from those on base/post in between meetings. Also, try to discuss your situation with the FRG leader and see if you can collaborate on timing for events to ensure you are able to attend.
You can also receive a roster from your FRG to get important numbers for quick updates, offer assistance and receive or give support. You can call or email to ask questions, but you may consider partnering with an on-base/post spouse to schedule a weekly chat.
An installation’s paper can be a great resource for learning about the upcoming workshops and classes offered to spouses, changes in military benefits, potential impacts for your spouse’s career and current installation news. To find yours, you can look papers up by state and installation.
To supplement your specific location’s news, there is also Military Spouse Magazine, which may be offered on your base/post, as well as Borders bookstores. You can gather insight on other spouses’ perspective as well as find news and trends of the military lifestyle.
Most installations have at least one online networking site such as a Facebook page or Twitter feed. You can follow the postings and seek out other spouses to ask specific questions. You can help plan events, volunteer your time and feel connected despite distance.
If you’re unable to attend FRG meetings, you can look for playgroups or military spouse groups with a more convenient location or time. This way, you can connect with others in similar situations that live on- or off-base/post and exchange the information each other knows or get referrals for where to find more information.
Have you lived off post?
How did you stay connected to the military community?
What tips would you give to other spouses moving away from a military installation?
Photo thanks to wdr3 via Flickr Creative Commons