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Search Results : Cassie

Tips to Keep your Kids Reading This Summer

 Posted by on June 26, 2018 at 11:21
Jun 262018
 

When my boys were younger, one was an avid reader and the other was not. During the school year, the natural progression of their curriculum kept them engaged in reading. But summers were another story. Even my read-a-holic rebelled against daily reading as he got older, especially when the pool was calling his name. I had to find creative ways to keep them reading over the summer. Here are some of the tricks that worked for us.

Cassie

  • Find Good Reads. I cannot tell you how many trips we made to the installation library. We saw it as an adventure. In middle school, we would scour the aisles to find the popular series of the day. When they were younger, we would scour the kid’s section for a hidden treasure. Installation libraries have always provided a destination that is out of the house and full of possibility. It was rare that we would return only with what we were looking for when we arrived. We always found something better. Summer is the time to let your kids explore books they wouldn’t typically choose during the school year. Reading outside their comfort zone might be precisely what they need to be bitten by the reading bug.
  • Start a Kid’s Book Club. This works well, especially if the service members are deployed. Book clubs don’t have to be an adult-only activity. Gather a group of families from your unit, or a group of friends and their kids, and pick a book together. When my husband was deployed to Iraq, we had a Friday supper club where five families gathered together for food and conversation. Why not throw in a book too, especially if the kids are small? There is something to be said for gathering the unit kids around a book – and each other. The simple act of togetherness can go a long way.
  • Explore the MWR Summer Reading Program. Enroll in the DoD Morale, Welfare, and Recreation’s summer reading program. This year’s program offers new and exciting activities including crafts, STEM events, recommended reading lists, incentives, films and more for children, teens and adults. If you’re a member of the Guard or reserve or don’t have access to a local installation Summer Reading Program, you can still participate in the Summer Reading Program virtually.
  • Create a Reward System for Reading a Short Period Each Day. This will look different for every family. Different types of rewards motivate kids; try stickers, screen time or maybe a sweet treat. Set an age-appropriate goal for reading each day. If you aren’t sure how long your child should be reading, ask their teacher before the school year ends. Make a chart or special journal you can use to keep track of reading goals achieved. And when they achieve or surpass their goals, be sure to celebrate their accomplishments!
  • Keep a Consistent Schedule. Set time aside each day for your child to read, at the same time every day. Make the library a regular part of your summer by planning out weekly trips. Be mindful of the time of day you choose. It may be a good chance for you to discover at what point in the day your child is most engaged. Maybe they are an after-breakfast reader, or maybe they love reading before bed. Setting a schedule with your child instead of for offers consistency and can reduce the frustration you might receive from them when it’s time to read.

Keeping your kids’ reading during the summer can be a real challenge. Everyone wants a break, but regular reading over the summer can keep little brains focused on more than just the pool. Good luck!

Apr 172018
 

Moving up, out, and into adulthood can be an exciting time for you and your high school senior. I’m a firm believer that the universe has a way of making this transition easier. Of course, we will all miss our children’s smiling faces and reminisce about how much they’ve grown and all they have accomplished. But there is a little place in every parent-of-a-senior’s heart that secretly will not miss picking up smelly lacrosse gear, vacuuming those little AstroTurf pebbles out of the carpet or constantly barking at them about chores. As parents, we want to make sure our kids are prepared to leave the nest. Here are some tips for parenting seniors through the transition into adulthood.

Cassie

  1. Financial management classes. Most high schools now require students to complete a personal financial management class before graduation. If your high school doesn’t, insist that your child take an online course.
  2. Allowance changes or a job. “Mom, I need money for the basketball game.” “Mom, I need gas money.” “Mom, can I have money to eat out with my friends?” “Mom, I need a haircut.” We’ve heard them all. If your child is able to hold down a job while also continuing with the demands of his or her extracurricular requirements, great! A part-time job in high school is a great option. If your family relies on the allowance route, consider slowly increasing your child’s allowance while reducing the number of a-la-carte money handouts. With the increased cash comes the increased responsibility of budgeting his or her own money. One strategy for determining an appropriate allowance would be to add up what you pay for annually—haircuts, gas, clothing, extracurricular handouts, etc. Allot this amount, monthly, into a teen checking account they can manage on their own (with guidance from mom and dad, of course). This can help your senior learn to budget and understand how much things cost in the real world.
  3. Let them make mistakes. When your child leaves the house, they won’t have you to rescue them every time they turn something in late or they forget their lunch at home. Teach your child logical consequences by allowing them to learn from their mistakes. Put the ownership of their daily activities on them. It will not kill your senior to make their own lunch, to reload their own lunch account (included in the allowance budget), or to track their own grades. We can keep a watchful eye by checking in, but as they near adulthood, it should be less often and with more of the responsibility on the child.
  4. Teach them basic skills. True story, my son did not know how to deposit cash into an ATM until this year, and he is 17. I just assumed he knew, but he didn’t. Teach your children basic skills—how to pick out produce in the grocery store, how to read nutrition labels, how to compare prices, how to tip the server, etc. When it’s time to replace the tires on the car, ask them to do the research. Don’t assume that your child knows the ins and outs of adulthood. Take the time to share your knowledge in a loving way.
  5. Establish expectations of adulthood. Talk to your child about how you see your communication changing when they leave the house. Come to a consensus on a reasonable amount of communication. Let’s be real. They may not want to call us every day (even though we’re awesome) but it’s not unreasonable to ask to hear from them regularly. If you see your financial role changing in their life, share that with them and together, come up with a plan to ease that transition. If they are college bound, set a realistic GPA you expect to see at school. Talk about how they will manage real world situations that will require them to make good choices. Communicating, openly, about how life will be different will help you and your child grow.

Preparing your senior for adulthood and letting go of some of the responsibility of your child’s daily activities is hard. You have been the momager or dadager for almost 18 years! Don’t think of it as “letting go.” Think of it as teaching them to survive and thrive as a young adult. Be honest with your child about what they can expect and prepare them with knowledge. Then, prepare yourself for that first call home when they ask for your advice. Just because they leave the house doesn’t mean you stop caring. You are simply entering a new phase of your relationship. Good luck!

Do’s and Don’ts of Purging to Move

 Posted by on March 19, 2018 at 09:51
Mar 192018
 

Whenever we get ready to move, I have an overwhelming desire to purge, consolidate and get organized. This summer, we will execute our eleventh Permanent Change of Station, and that doesn’t include the number of times we’ve moved houses during a tour due to a variety of situations.

Cassie

More than once during one of these moves, I’ve found myself wishing I had kept something I had donated, or wishing I got rid of something we hauled across the country. Here are some thoughts on what to take and what to discard or donate during your next PCS.

Keep:

  • Furniture. Every house is different, and it’s rare that you will live in more than one house with the same square footage. It’s also rare that you will use your furniture in the same spaces in each house. If you are moving from a large house to a smaller house, store your furniture, even if it means storing it for two or three years and paying the monthly fee. The moral of the story: Storage may be expensive, but replacing furniture is even more expensive.
  • Curtain rods, window coverings and décor. Everyone’s taste changes over time and it’s nice to have new décor and window coverings when you move. It makes the home feel cozy and up-to-date. But I have found myself replacing that set of antique keys that went out of style, or that table lamp I didn’t need anymore, with items that are eerily similar to the original. If you are in the mood for a change, store the window coverings and décor and pull them out at your next duty station. You may find that what is old is new again when you haven’t seen it for a few years.

Ditch:

  • Expired medication, cleaners and pantry items. Ask your installation hospital if they will discard expired medication for you – never toss meds in the trash. If you don’t live near an installation, ask a local pharmacy. Study the expiration dates and discard anything that will expire before you move or while in transit.
  • Open items. Contracted military movers should not move open items, but some will still try. Three guesses on how fun it is to clean up a moving box of pantry items covered in spilled olive oil, powdered sugar, or my personal favorite: chia seeds. I’m just saying.
  • Broken items. Either fix your broken items or kiss them goodbye. Chances are that if it has been sitting at the bottom of your “to-do” list at this duty station, it will still be there at the next one. (Looking at you, 20-year-old broken coffee mug).
  • Alcohol. Contracted military movers are not authorized to move alcohol – so ditch the booze.

Donate:

  • Clothes. Donate clothes you don’t wear (sorry, skinny jeans) or that are not suitable for your next duty station’s climate. Consider local churches, military thrift stores and nonprofit organizations willing to pick up bulk donations free of charge.
  • Baby items and toys. Most local shelters and some after-school programs will happily accept donations for little guys.
  • Food items. If you have unexpired items that you don’t want to take with you, donate them to the local food bank.

Here’s the truth: Regardless of how much you purge and how much you plan, moving is hard. But getting organized and clearing out the clutter before you arrive at your next duty station will make the transition less stressful. Start organizing folks – your next move will be here before you know it!

Choosing the Right Crew as a New Milspouse

 Posted by on January 9, 2018 at 10:36
Jan 092018
 

I saw an awesome t-shirt the other day that summed up my friendship philosophy: Your vibe attracts your tribe. Isn’t that the truth? I have an amazing group of friends who I trust with my whole heart. But friendships haven’t always been easy for me, especially as a new military spouse. Making friends as an adult under any circumstances can be tough. Making friends when you are away from home can be even harder. But having a crew of friends you can count on is one of the things that has helped me most on my military journey.

Cassie

When I was a young military spouse in my early 20s, living on an installation for the first time, life was lonely. My husband was working a lot and I didn’t have many friends that I kept in touch with after high school. I remember our first tour well. It was the first time I’d ever met someone from another state, much less the other side of the world. I was being exposed to people from different backgrounds and cultures with different value systems and parenting styles. It didn’t take me long to learn that the military spouse connection alone would not be enough to sustain a lasting friendship. I’d meet a spouse and we’d hit it off, but our friendship would fade, sometimes for obvious reasons and others with no explanation at all. I wish back then that someone would have told me that it was okay to let friendships go if they didn’t feel right. Now that I’m older and I have good, caring, amazing friends, I would tell myself this:

  1. Don’t become someone’s enabler. Every military spouse needs a helping hand from time to time. An emergency sitter, a can of cream of mushroom soup, or a ride to the clinic. But if crisis seems to follow someone around like a lost puppy, that might not be a good relationship for you. Rescue friends are emotionally exhausting and take away valuable time from healthy relationships. It’s okay to help someone out in a time of need, but don’t become a savior for someone who constantly needs rescuing.
  2. Find a mutual connection. People get busy. We don’t always return calls, social media messages, or texts, and not all of us are planners. But if you’re always the person reaching out and trying to make plans, the friendship might not be reciprocated by the other person. You are worth a phone call. Don’t settle for less.
  3. Avoid gossip. If someone is gossiping to you about someone else, they most likely are talking about you when you aren’t around. Unless you enjoy being the topic of other people’s conversation, avoid people who talk about other people’s business. If someone shares something with you, even if they don’t say, “this is a secret,” don’t talk about it with someone else.
  4. Embrace people who embrace this life. It’s hard living away from home and family. For many of us, life in the military is a shock to our system – we aren’t used to the long hours, protocols and customs – but it’s much easier to embrace military life when you surround yourself with other families who enjoy it. As spouses, we are a part of military culture because we chose to marry and build a life with our service member. Oftentimes their desire to serve our country can be hard on us. But their commitment runs deep, just like our love for them. Surround yourself with people who have strong marriages and who are living their best MilLife.
  5. Remember you are the company you keep. The qualities you look for in other military spouses will be easier to spot if you possess them yourself.

Over the past 20 years, I have met hundreds of military spouses. We share a camaraderie that can’t be matched, but being a fellow military spouse is not enough to sustain a friendship. Finding your special few takes patience – it’s okay to let people come into and fade out of your life. The best people are the ones you can be your authentic self with. Hold onto those people, treasure them, love them and nurture those relationships. Your tribe is out there – you just need to build it, one healthy relationship at a time.

Dec 052017
 

Fifteen years after we last saw each other in person, my face lit up as an old friend walked through the door of a quaint restaurant in Virginia. She was the first Marine Corps spouse who ever took me under her wing. Back then I was a newly married spouse with two little kids, eager to learn but afraid to fail. She handed me the reins to a small family readiness volunteer team and she had faith in me, even when I didn’t have faith in myself. She helped me overcome my fear and I’ve been thankful ever since.

Cassie

A week or so later, another one of my early mentors hugged me tightly in a different restaurant. We’d met more than a decade earlier when we volunteered together during one of the toughest deployments either of us had ever experienced. We stayed in touch from duty station to duty station, but our lunch date was the first time we had seen each other in five years.

I wanted to thank them both, in person, for their mentorship—especially the past two years, when they stood by me as I mourned the loss of one of my children. These women, and others like them, taught me what it means to show up for someone when they need you the most, even if you are separated by distance.

Until recently, I thought that mentorship in the military community meant volunteerism— lead by example and participate in activities. Be the change you want to see in the world. So that’s how I operated for 15 years. Unit functions, trainings, family days—you name it and I was usually there. But it wasn’t until my life was turned upside down in 2015 that I realized what true mentorship looks like. My mentors closed ranks around me when the worst possible thing I could ever imagine happening, happened.

I didn’t know when I met these women we would stay in touch through the years. I couldn’t have predicted that one of them would give me the courage to switch careers, another would become one of my closest friends, and another would later turn to me for support when her own family was faced with devastating news. At the time, I just saw these women as kind and full of wisdom—and that was enough. Ask yourself these questions:

Who in your life has been your mentor? What are the qualities they have shown that resonate with you? What would you do if you had the chance to be that for someone else?

Mentors are trusted advisors. They listen without judgement but are not afraid to tell you what you need to hear. They see your worth when you can’t – and most importantly, they lead by example.

I’ve learned from these women that mentorship is about meeting people where they are and being willing to open your heart to someone who needs to hear from somebody who has been there. It’s having coffee with a new spouse who has a million questions about driver’s license rules and permanent change of station orders. It’s leading a volunteer team when no one else will. It’s coaching someone through work-life balance. And sometimes it’s having the courage to stand with someone in their pain. But more than anything, mentorship is about showing up.

By mentoring one another, we create a legacy of camaraderie and friendship that transcends time and geography. We create a new generation of kind, open-hearted military spouses willing to see each other through the hard stuff. And together, we’ve got this.

Oct 242017
 

When I had kids, it didn’t occur to me just how different they could be. I raised two boys–one outgoing and charismatic and the other socially awkward and difficult in a group. I didn’t understand how I could raise them in the same house with the same values, yet send them off to have such vastly different experiences at school.

Cassie

My oldest always struggled to make friends. Let’s just say he marched to the beat of his own drum. That was hard for people—kids and parents alike. It was even hard for us, sometimes. Many times, he came home to tell me about something that had happened at school with his “friends” that was clearly bullying. It broke my heart to see how it affected his self-esteem, his grades, and his willingness to be himself, especially since I had a similar experience growing up. In his middle school years, the bullying led to him feeling like he had to change for other people to fit in.

My youngest had a very different experience in school. He made friends easily and rarely struggled with relationships. As he got older, I noticed that he was one of the people picking on his big brother for being different. It was at that point my husband and I realized we had a real issue. My son was headed down the path to becoming a bully—and we weren’t okay with it. Not having grown up with a lot of support from my parents when I was bullied, I had no idea how to fix this growing problem. So, I started researching.

I didn’t like what I found. I learned that in some instances, lack of attention at home or even parental behavior can contribute to a child becoming a bully. I started to look more deeply at my own relationships. Did something I was doing play a role in teaching him to bully? I started thinking about how I treated people. Did the relationships I had in my life teach my kids that being different is okay? What did only keeping to my tight circle of friends or all that trash talking about neighbors or coworkers teach my kids about relationships? What was I teaching my kids about a person’s worth?

It’s hard to admit that when I took a hard look in the mirror, my son was not the only one who needed an attitude adjustment. I wasn’t outright telling my child to be a bully, but my actions were giving him permission by showing him it was okay to treat people poorly. And by choosing to ignore some of the digs he would make at his brother, or even sometimes hopping on the proverbial band wagon, I was leaving my older son to fend for himself. When I realized my role in what was happening, I was ashamed and embarrassed. But I knew that like all parents, I could make mistakes if I was willing to learn and grow in the process.

So, as a family, we made some changes in the way we treated each other and those around us. We worked hard to learn how to treat everyone with kindness, simply because they are human beings. We taught each other how to be more tolerant of different points of view by listening instead of always having the last word, even when we passionately disagreed. We constantly practiced the art of respectful disagreement—and we can argue like champs!

By the time my kids were in high school, I’m happy to say that my oldest son found his niche of friends that accepted him just the way he was and my youngest became one of the kindest hearts I know. I have most definitely changed the way I interact with everyone, from coworkers to friends to family—but most importantly the way I interact with my kids. In our family, we now choose kindness above everything else.

Do your research to understand what bullying is and how to prevent it in your family. Change did not happen overnight, and honestly, it wasn’t easy. But looking back now, I can see what a drastic difference it has made in our lives and how much happier we became in the process.

Sep 052017
 

When I first started college, it wasn’t because I wanted a degree. It was because our family needed cash and I needed skills. I started school when my oldest son was about six months old and I was in my early twenties. I enrolled in a bookkeeping certificate program at a local community college, and the plan was to complete it in a year and go to work. That program eventually led to more school, a degree and a successful career in the defense industry. It was a safe, reliable and portable choice, and I managed to make it work for more than a decade. But, I always felt like something was missing professionally. Deep down inside, I wanted to be a writer.

Cassie

A few years ago, I took my first self-assessment offered through the Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) program. Self-assessments can help you understand your professional interests by evaluating the type of work you find interesting and what activities bring you joy. After more than 15 years in defense, I learned that there was a reason that writing had always been tugging at me. It was number one on my list of professional “best fits.”

I reviewed my self-assessment results with a certified SECO Career Counselor who helped me understand it was possible to change course and it wasn’t too late to have the career I wanted. So, I decided to go back to school. I also started pursuing more writing work. That was almost three years ago.

Many of you may be just starting this journey to determine your career path. I am happy to tell you that as a military spouse, you have access to tools that can help you live your best professional life.

  • MySECO. Imagine if you could research occupations, build a career plan, find a school, search for scholarships, build your resume and search for jobs using one website dedicated to military spouses. It already exists. MySECO offers the above-mentioned tools and a wealth of resources just for you.
  • SECO Career Counseling. SECO offers nationally Certified Career Counselors to help you determine your career path and educational goals. To schedule an appointment with a counselor, contact Military OneSource at 800-342-9647. Also, be sure to check out SECO’s new counseling packages.
  • SECO Assessment Tools. If you aren’t sure which careers are the best fit for your skill set, or even if you have no idea where to start, the SECO program provides industry-leading assessment tools to military spouses free of charge. From Entrepreneur EDGE™ to Myers-Briggs to Career Scope, SECO has you covered.

These tools made a huge difference for me. As I write this, I’m working to complete a graduate program in English and creative writing. I am excited about my professional future for the first time in years, and I finally feel like I’m doing what I’ve always been meant to do. Will you do the same for yourself?

Four Ways to Use the MWR Digital Library

 Posted by on July 18, 2017 at 12:56
Jul 182017
 

A few years ago, I discovered the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Digital Library and it changed my world. As an avid reader, college student, mom and business owner, I felt like I had hit the mother lode when I found this free resource for service members and their families. Here are four ways you can incorporate the MWR Digital Library into your life to save you time and money, and to get your summer read on!

Cassie

  1. Access to digital and audio books. Access thousands of digital and audio books for free; download the latest best sellers or catch up on a classic. You can browse fiction, nonfiction, reference and more – it’s like having your own library in your back pocket. A word to the wise: this service is very popular and there are a limited number of copies of each book, so it’s a good idea to place your favorites on “hold” in advance. You can check out up to 10 titles at a time.
  2. Academic, professional and personal research. As a college student in need of sources for academic papers, I’m able to access some great databases for free. I also recently started my own nonprofit and needed to research more about the needs of the population we plan to serve. The MWR database had just what I was looking for. My husband and I have also used the library for personal research on investing, consumer product reviews and even small engine repair – which kept us from having to buy a new lawn mower!
  3. Test prep and scholarship searches. I have a teenager who is preparing for college. He also hasn’t ruled out a career in the military. With access to free test prep tools, he has used the MWR Digital Library to better prepare for testing and to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). Service members also have access to preparation materials for other branch-specific military career advancement tests.
  4. Access to K-12 resources. The MWR library offers academic resources for both students and teachers. The Teacher Reference Center provides access to teacher and administrative journals and magazines. Age-appropriate TumbleBook collections provide reading and academic resources for school-age students. And finally, Tutor.com provides free homework and tutoring help to students who need it. I can’t speak highly enough about the services offered through Tutor.com. It has been a lifesaver for my kids on multiple occasions, because this mom is NOT good at math!

Don’t miss out on this free service – it can be a real time and money saver. The resources mentioned here are just a sampling of what’s available to you and your family. Happy exploring!

Jun 062017
 

This is it! You and your spouse have both had your leave approved, your kids are out of school and you are ready for some much-needed time together. For your next family vacation, why not consider an active staycation? Staycations are a great way to recharge your batteries with some down time at home while also exploring your community. You might be surprised how much fun you can have in your own backyard. Here are some ideas for putting together a memorable and active summer staycation.

Cassie

  1. Get outside. Take the kids to a local park to fly a kite. Or, pack a picnic lunch and take a day hike or a family bike ride. Look for kid-friendly areas that will get your little ones excited about nature and exploring. Don’t forget to pack lots of water to stay hydrated on your adventure.
  2. Find a local festival or parade. When we were living in North Carolina, the many small towns around our installation had festivals or parades almost every weekend and holiday. If you are new to the area, check with your local chamber of commerce or online community groups to find a festival or parade you can share with your family.
  3. Arrange a scavenger hunt. Feeling competitive? Challenge your spouse and kids to a team scavenger hunt around the neighborhood. The winning team gets the night off from dish duty!
  4. Play laser tag or paintball. Grab a group of friends and head out for a game of laser tag. Or, if you are feeling extra adventurous, suit up for a game of paintball. One of the best memories I have with my boys is our epic paintball battle with six of their closest friends. I would have never thought it would be my cup of tea, but we had a blast! Just be sure to wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
  5. Hit the batting cages, climbing wall or indoor trampoline. Look for activities that will keep you and your kids moving. Challenge each other to try something new. Exposing your kids (and yourself) to new activities can be a great way to build confidence. Plus, who doesn’t love a giant trampoline and sticky socks? You’re never too old to bounce around!
  6. Explore our nation’s national parks. Did you know that the National Parks Service has 417 parks in the United States and military members and their families are eligible to receive a free annual pass? If you are lucky enough to live near a national park, take the kids and explore some of our country’s most valued treasures. To find a park near you, visit The National Park Foundation.
  7. Check out a museum. Whether exploring your local children’s museum or your closest Blue Star Museum, take some time to expose your children to the arts. Blue Star Museums are local museums that offer free admission to active-duty members and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day. You never know what might spark your child’s imagination—or yours!

You don’t have to travel far for a vacation with just the right balance of relaxation and fun activities. Staycations offer a good mix of both. For your next vacation, consider sleeping in your own bed and exploring the great activities in your own community with a good mix of fun for everyone.

May 302017
 

During one of my husband’s deployments, I formed a Friday night supper club – five women and 15 kids under the age of eight. For eight months, we got together every Friday night for an informal block party complete with a potluck meal and games. The kids played outside. The adults laughed. And for a minute we felt like we weren’t the middle of a war. More than a year later, after some neighbors had moved on and new ones arrived, we had a Halloween block party. Every kid in the neighborhood was dressed in their best costume, tables and fire pits lined many driveways, and for a few short hours, everyone on our street got along.

Cassie

Looking back at our two decades in the Marine Corps, we lived in a few neighborhoods that stand out —ones that really helped us bloom where we were planted. They were neighborhoods where we knew who lived next door to us and we all made an effort to “be neighborly.” We built a community with the people around us. Whether you live on or off an installation, organizing a block party can be a great way to get to know the people in your neighborhood. Here are some tips to get you started.

  1. Set a standing time. Choose an evening on the calendar and stick to it. It’s easier for people to plan to attend when a recurring date is set. Whether you choose the first Friday or the second Saturday of every month, be consistent in your planning.
  2. Hand out anonymous invitations. When you think block party, think “all-inclusive.” Distributing invitations anonymously adds a sense of inclusion. The goal is not to gain notoriety as the best party planner on the block; it’s to get everyone together in one place.
  3. Work together. Enlist the help of one or two neighbors. In the beginning, it may only be you and one or two other families participating – and that’s okay! Building a community takes time. Be consistent in your efforts to make everyone feel welcome, and you’ll be surprised by how many people will join in.
  4. Pick a neutral location. The quickest way to become a community nuisance rather than a community builder is to block streets or driveways. Be sure to consider any homeowners association, apartment complex, or housing regulations that may play a role in how and where you set up your party. Be mindful that after a long day, people want to be able to pull into their driveway with ease.

Living in a community where people know and lean on each other can certainly make life easier when times are difficult. Party on!

All materials copyright Military OneSource, 2012. Blog content held jointly by writer and Military OneSource, with shared rights to republish with appropriate attribution.