I am on Facebook way too much. I justify it by saying that I am doing my job as Public Relations Chair for the Shaw Spouses’ Club, but if I am being completely honest I am just addicted. One thing I see time and time again on the base spouses’ Facebook group is that people are lonely and don’t know anyone. We have ALL been there! I have been there.
Our first base was Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, OH. I did not know a single person. It took forever to find a job. I did not feel like I fit in with my neighbors in base housing. I was incredibly lonely. Towards the very end of our time there, I finally joined the spouses’ club, but by that time it was too late to really build friendships.
We then PCSed to our next base, Beale AFB, and everything changed. I put myself out there very quickly after arriving. I joined a book club. I was involved with our squadron spouses. And I joined the Spouses’ Club. I met amazing people; two of which I hope will be lifetime friends (love you Ciara and Emily)!
We are currently stationed at Shaw AFB in Sumter, SC. South Carolina is home for me and when I found out we were PCSing to Shaw I was beyond excited! Before moving I contemplated whether I would be involved with the spouses’ club at all. I figured I would spend more time with family and friends while we were living close. But after only a couple weeks of living here, I attended my first spouses’ club social. I talked to several very welcoming ladies and felt good about joining.
For our 2017-18 year, I volunteered to serve as Public Relations Chair. Partly I wanted a creative outlet; I love designing fliers for events. I also love to have the inside scoop of what is going on. I have had the most incredibly fulfilling year serving as PR. I have been able to create marketing for all our events including socials, charitable giving announcements, our Scholarship Auction and everything in-between. I have learned so much about social media marketing through trial and error. And through social media we have built relationships with local businesses and increased awareness of our club within the community. A new Walmart opened in town and they approached us because they wanted to give our club a $1,000 grant! This was all because one employee talked to us at a town event where we were raising money for our scholarship program. It has been amazing to be a part of this club.
The key is that I put myself out there and am involved. It is SCARY! I am an introvert. It is very easy and natural for me to plop down on the couch and watch hours of Netflix or read a book. But I know without friends and events to attend I will become very lonely and unhappy. With social media it is easy to feel like we know people without ever leaving the house, but it is not the same. There is nothing online to replace sharing a meal with someone or volunteering alongside someone. I encourage you to become involved. I know, I know…walking into a room when you do not know a single person is super intimidating. But in the end, you will feel proud of yourself for getting out of your comfort zone and making the effort. Maybe you won’t click with anyone. Maybe it’s not a good spouse club. Maybe it costs too much money to join. Maybe you are just a Senior Airman’s wife and everyone else are officers’ wives. But do it! (At least give it a chance). And don’t just join but consider serving on the board. From the spouses’ clubs I have experienced so far there are a variety of positions with different levels of commitment. Get your feet wet by taking on a smaller role. Or ask to co-chair something with a more experienced member. If your spouses’ club needs some improvement, share your feedback with the Executive Board and help them become better.
Being a part of a club is incredibly rewarding. Not only can you network with other spouses, but because most, if not all, spouses’ clubs do charitable work of some kind you can give back to the community in a very meaningful way. In the end, joining a spouses’ club is an easy way to meet other spouses who are experiencing many of the same trials you are facing. We can all relate to issues like PCSing, childcare scarcity, trying to find a job, or dealing with TDYs and deployments. It can be incredible to build relationships in a spouses’ club and find ways to support and lean on each other. You never know what could come of it! Give it a try!
***Welcome**** To our newest Blog Teammate Kristen Thoennes!!!
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