Relocating every two to four years is part of joining or marrying into the military. Receiving Permanent Change of Station orders to a new base or post means starting over, finding a new job if you’re a spouse or finding new schools for the kids. Whether you’re currently active duty, a federal employee or a family member, you can find resources on base, on post or in the community to help you acclimate to your new surroundings. Here are some inside tips from those who have made a military move to Colorado Springs.
Finding Your Home
When moving, there are many helpful, available online resources. You can go to www.homes.mil to search for housing near your assigned base or post, or if you want to know more about housing and schools from a local perspective, you can utilize Facebook pages and groups like “Fort Carson Army Spouses” and the “411 for the 719” to get a local’s take on the area.
“The great thing about social media is that you can get immediately plugged in, and there are groups run by military spouses and families that are specifically meant to help PCS,” says Fiona Mosley, Army Community Services outreach coordinator on Fort Carson.
Mosley moved to Colorado Springs with her husband, who is stationed at Fort Carson, and their two sons in July 2018.
“There’s a group for every Army post—whether it’s buying, selling or renting a house, the Facebook groups were very helpful in identifying a good area to live in,” Mosley says. “I said, ‘My son likes to play guitar, my other son likes to play piano. Can you recommend an elementary school that has a program to support that?’ And I had information right away.”
If you know which base or post you will be stationed at or if you will be living on base, you can contact the Airman and Family Readiness Center at the Air Force bases, the Army Community Service or Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation at Fort Carson.
Mosley says she also contacted school boards directly to receive help registering her kids for school.
As a military spouse, moving every few years often means a job change and navigating the accompanying uncertainties of a change in pay.
“A lot of times you leave a job and there’s no place in the city you move to that has an office, so you have to quit your job and find a new one,” says Amy Survillo, whose husband has been in the Air Force for 25 years. “It doesn’t always line up, and you don’t always get paid what you did. Sometimes you have to start at an entry level position. You have to reinvent yourself.”
Survillo recently finished real estate school, so she could easily transfer her job when moving. When we spoke, she was deciding whether to become licensed in Colorado or Virginia since her husband received orders to move to Washington, D.C., this summer.
Fortunately, Colorado Springs is a highly military-friendly city. Both the Air Force and Army offer resources for military spouses, as do several local organizations. For spouses looking for a new job, organizations such as Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center has a MilSpouse Career Program that offers employment assistance for spouses. And military spouses who lost a job due to moving can receive funds, coaching and resources at the Pikes Peak Workforce Center.
Elsewhere, Hiring Our Heroes in Colorado Springs provides fellowships for military spouses, and the Military Spouse Career Coalition offers resources and connections. You can also find helpful guidelines about interstate occupational licenses at veterans.gov/milspouses.
At Fort Carson, spouses can use services offered at the Employment Readiness program. At the Air Force bases, spouses can go to the Airman and Family Readiness Center to find job opportunities.
When Lt. Col. Lewis Survillo was stationed and required to live on Schriever Air Force Base, he had the resources he needed, but the location has been a new experience. In his 25 years of Air Force service, this is the closest to nature he has ever lived.
“I’m a big city guy,” Survillo says. “I was a little nervous when I came out to Colorado Springs—I’ve never lived this far west. I’m used to big metropolitan cities. I’m not really a nature type guy, but I’ve actually come to love it here. “
On the other hand, Survillo’s wife, Amy, grew up in Montana and Idaho. When the couple moved here in 2017, they started exploring Colorado together and everything its outdoors have to offer.
“We rarely go to the same place twice—there’s just so many places around here,” he says. “We’ve gone everywhere from south Pueblo to north of Denver and every place in between. We’ve been hiking and kayaking.”
In addition to exploring the outdoors, the Survillos have also used the Airman and Family Readiness Center to learn more about events and resources on base and in Colorado Springs.
At Fort Carson, Mosley used Army Community Service and its website to find opportunities for her family, including her two boys who are 8 and 10 years old.
“We’ve been on a few hikes and checked out a few ski resorts,” she says. “We like to travel around and do cultural fairs and expos. My husband and boys have been up to see the sports teams in Denver as well.”
For those seeking adventure in the Rocky Mountains, the Fort Carson Outdoor Recreation Complex is the source for instructional courses, climbing certifications, youth adventures and guided trips and outdoor outings. The Air Force offers similar local programs and trips, and service members and their families can enjoy the likes of horseback riding, fishing and golf at the USAF Academy.
For other ways to get involved, base or post newsletters and newspapers are good sources of info about local happenings, as is Springs magazine. Both the Airman and Family Readiness Center and Army Community Service provide opportunities to meet people in Colorado Springs through volunteering on and off base. And both services have a calendar of events online.
Find resources, information and connections for your respective branch of service.
Airman and Family Readiness Centers:
Peterson Air Force Base
719-556-6141 | 21fss.com/about/airman-family-readiness
Schriever Air Force Base
719-567-3920 | schriever.af.mil/AandFRC
U.S. Air Force Academy
719-333-3444 | usafasupport.com/a-frc.html
Army Fort Carson
Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation
719-526-6452 | carson.armymwr.com
Army Community Service
719-526-4590 | carson.armymwr.com/programs/army-community-service
Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center
530 Communication Cir.
719-772-7000 | veteranscenter.org
Pikes Peak Workforce Center
1675 Garden of the Gods Rd.
719-667-3700 | ppwfc.org
Hiring Our Heroes Colorado Springs