Due to the summer PCS schedule, military children often have a harder time getting involved in extracurricular activities at their new schools. Whether you missed marching band auditions, never got to try out for football or lost out on a chance to run for student government, our city swaps undoubtedly impact our involvement in school and even our college applications.
Here are some tips to help military teens get involved in extracurriculars after their next PCS.
Research Extracurriculars Ahead Of Time
With a little bit of digging, I have no doubt you’ll find a list of extracurriculars and sports your school offers. When I transferred to a new high school my sophomore year, I spent my summer stalking my new school’s website to find possible activities for the rest of my high school career.
Another way to find out more information is to look up your school on social media. A lot of clubs and sports teams have social media accounts, and they often include contact information for officers or club sponsors. To go one step further, message or email them directly to ask questions. It’s a great way to get a feel for the environment of a club.
Meet With The Adults In Charge
Try to talk with the adult in charge of the club or extracurricular you’re interested in to see how you can get involved — even if they’re well into activities for the school year.
Elena Ashburn, Operation Homefront’s 2022 Army Military Child of the Year, is headed to the University of Florida this fall to study political science and journalism.
You never know unless you try, and in my experience, most club and extracurricular advisers are understanding of the particular situations of military children. We can’t help our moving schedule, and most advisers try their best to be flexible.
You can also talk with a school counselor or administrator about getting involved in certain activities, but I always find that it’s best to go straight to the source.
Look for extracurricular activities outside of school
Do not limit involvement to just your school. The world is full of so many opportunities to fill your time, heart and college resume. If you are into sports, there are often club or travel teams in your area to further your athletic training.
There will always be opportunities to volunteer, from food banks to summer camps, and that is a fulfilling way to spend your free time. Additionally, there are organizations and clubs that operate outside of a school’s campus, such as Girl or Boy Scouts, a community theater program or even Bloom. Through these, you can find a group of like-minded people and connect with fun activities and meaningful work.
Take The Leap
Join something new. Take a chance. Get involved in an activity that pushes your comfort zone or requires you to try something you’ve never done before. Each place you live might offer something new, and you never know what you like unless you try.
Good luck with your moves and the upcoming school year. Don’t let the difficulty of moving to new places inhibit your involvement in activities you love.
By Elena Ashburn, co-founder of Bloom: Empowering the Military Teen @ militaryfamilies.com