One of the worst times to move to a new area can be when it’s cold. Too cold to get out in the neighborhood and meet people. I remember arriving at Fort Meade in January of 2011 and thinking, I need to meet people, but it’s too cold for my littles at the playground! Luckily, an afternoon walk around the block introduced me to a new friend with kids who were going just as stir-crazy. I’ve come up with a few ideas on how to get involved and meet people when it’s still chilly outside. We would love for you to weigh in with your ideas as well!
The local library is often an overlooked treasure. It’s super easy to get a local library card, usually just a copy of your lease is enough, and it opens the door to books and programs. Our local library has a great children’s librarian who has had programs and activities throughout the winter months. Children’s story times, STEAM, Lego Club, and Movie Nights are some examples of activities that could spark friendships and playgroups for your family.
2. Blue Star Families
I found a great resource my first summer at Fort Huachuca when Blue Star Families hosted a reading activity. Each child walked away with their own book, and we met new friends. Blue Star Families has chapters and activities all around the country. And they always are looking for volunteers! Volunteering is my favorite way to meet people.
I’m going to be honest here, playgroups are my least favorite part of parenting. That being said, there’s a fine line between 12 kids smashing goldfish into your carpet and being bored out of your mind at the park watching your children play. So my solution is to do outside playgroups or one-on-one play dates. Smaller towns may not have as many indoor play options, but bundled up outside is still an option to wear out those kids and meet some new people. And then, you can decide which ones to invite over for a play date.
4. Installation Community Services
The installation’s community services probably has something to help you meet people. If you haven’t been there yet, stop reading and go now! From newcomer’s orientation to volunteer opportunities to employment resources. This is also a great place to find out what else is happening on your installation. Really, this should be your first stop, every time.
Meetup.com is a fantastic website that helps group people with similar interests together. From astronomy clubs to walking groups to hash runners, this is a great way to find out some of the options at your new location, even before you get there. Bonus part of meetup.com is that if you don’t see something you want to join, you can start one!
Toastmasters is an international organization that develops leaders and confident public speakers. Check out their website to find your local branch, and try a meeting. Find a group you feel comfortable with and then jump in. This organization can move with you, so while you find a new group each move, you’ll have a tie to the big club and a fit wherever this life takes you.
There are so many ways to meet new people when you move, and so many different people out there to meet. Don’t stay in your house and wait for warmer weather, take a walk and get out there! We want to hear from you… what are ways that you have been successful in meeting new folks when you move to a new duty station, regardless of weather?
Written By: Rebecca Alwine, Base Advocate