MAY 22, 2017, KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – Permanent Change of Station season is right around the corner, and several thousands of military families all over the world are on the move from May to August. To help families with their upcoming travels, the U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Army Community Service’s Relocation Readiness Program provides classes and resources to get people to their new destination with minimal worries.
One helpful course Relocation Readiness offers is a Smooth Moves Workshop, providing outbound families with organization tips and tools, said Diane Dixon, Relocation Readiness Program manager.
“One of the most important tools I teach during the workshop is how to use the online program, ‘Plan My Move.’ This is one of the military’s best-kept secrets. It’s a Military OneSource program (www.militaryonesource.mil) allowing people to input what base they are at, what base they’re moving to and their date of departure. The program analyzes the data and lets them know all the things they need to accomplish and when,” said Dixon, who calls Baltimore, Md., home. “It also provides travel and arrival checklists, packing lists and important phone numbers for their current installations and their next assignment. So they can just print it out instead of looking up numbers in the phone book or searching online.”
The workshop also informs servicemembers, Department of Defense civilian employees and family members how to request sponsors, close out German service accounts, tips on packing household goods, figuring weight allowances, estimate costs for moving, find online relocation resources and provides them with overseas briefings for special assignments to other overseas locations to include Japan and the Republic of Korea, said Popsy Lazo, Relocation Readiness Support and Smooth Moves instructor.
“ACS helps people organize their move to make it as stress-free as possible, while still maintaining the military mission, work, school and other responsibilities,” Lazo said. “The most important advice that we provide is to be proactive with planning a move and to have open communication with family members to validate their feelings associated with PCSing.”
Smooth Move Workshops are open to all servicemembers, DOD civilian employees and their families and take place monthly at 10 a.m., the fourth Thursday of the month in Room 220, Bldg. 3210 on Kleber Kaserne; and at Baumholder at 9 a.m., the third Thursday of the month in Room 112, Bldg. 8746.
Sometimes PCSing can be difficult for children who may be leaving friends and familiar places behind, said Dixon, who grew up as a military child.
“I know what it feels like being the new kid at school all the time,” she said. “In the first grade, I attended three different schools in one year in The Netherlands, South America and Maryland. So I went to first grade in three different countries speaking three different languages!”
Dixon said to ease children’s transition to a new community, parents can request youth sponsors for school-age children between the sixth and 12th grade through their local school liaison officer.
ACS Relocation Readiness also offers Relocation Reassignment Briefings for military personnel (these are mandatory briefings for Soldiers assigned to units in Baumholder), Hello America classes for local national spouses who have never lived in the United States as well as Pre-Move Workshops and Liaison to Citizenship Immigration Services. The classes are offered, but aren’t always on the monthly ACS calendar so people can request deskside training for convenience, Lazo said.
People should send their household goods to their next duty station as quickly as possible after they receive their orders and call the Furnishing Management Office to borrow furniture such as beds, dressers, dining room and living room furniture until they move into a hotel or a military Temporary Living Facility, Lazo advised.
Another helpful perk Relocation Readiness offers is the Lending Closet, which is a smart way to borrow items to sustain people after their household goods have been picked up, she said.
“The Lending Closet program has ‘survival kits” that come in two-person, four-person or six-person bins that include plates, utensils, cookware, cups and so forth,” Lazo said. “If there are other needs, the Lending Closet has a list of goods that can be borrowed in addition to the kits. Some popular items include booster seats, high chairs, coffee makers, toasters, microwaves, rice cookers and even waffle makers. People must bring a copy of their PCS orders and sign a contract to borrow items for up to 60 days.”
For spouses who want to get a jump on the job market at their next installation, Dixon has help for them as well.
“If spouses are looking for employment at their next duty station, I refer them to our Employment Readiness Program at Kleber Kaserne and Baumholder,” Dixon said. “They can get their résumés ready and help spouses start looking for jobs back in the States. They are there all year long and help people PCSing in or out.”
Contact the Employment Readiness Program at Kleber Kaserne at 541-9001 or at Baumholder at 531-2862.
“Moving doesn’t have to be difficult if you start planning early,” Dixon said. “The Relocation Readiness Program is here for anyone moving in our out of the Rheinland-Pfalz.”
For more information about these ACS programs, call 541-9000.
By Ms. Mary Ann Davis (IMCOM)