Whether one is new or returning to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, one of the quickest ways to learn more about JBLM — and changes that may have occurred while one was elsewhere — is through the JBLM Newcomers Orientation offered monthly on the installation.
The event not only addresses services and activities available on base; it also helps one learn how to get around the massive installation, which serves nearly 140,000 people and is the third largest employer in the state.
“This is a great way for spouses to come and learn what’s on the installation, as well as what’s available for them outside the installation, so they can acclimate themselves,” said Monica Ulibarri, relocation readiness program manager for the Directorate of Personnel and Family Readiness.
One of the most important elements of the event for newcomers is the ability to learn what employment opportunities are available, she said.
“If you’re new and need a job, there are employers and if you’re looking for child care, those representatives are there as well,” Ulibarri said. “Everything from A to Z, including reps from Outdoor Recreation, are at the orientation.”
The orientation offers ideas for families to maintain a balance of work and play, by taking advantage of the many opportunities on base and in the surrounding communities, from Seattle to Portland.
It’s mandatory for service members to attend an orientation during their first 30 days of service at JBLM, but it’s optional, informational and free for spouses and adult family members. On-site child care also is provided at no charge during the event by Child, Youth and School Services.
The next JBLM Newcomers Orientation is March 20 at 8 a.m. at American Lake Conference Center, 8085 NCO Beach Road on Lewis North. Service members should report at 7:30 a.m.
And don’t think one has to skip breakfast or rush through a fast food restaurant before arriving at the event. A free hot breakfast is provided for attendees. There are some pretty elaborate giveaways at the end of the event from some of the corporate sponsors, Ulibarri said.
All in all, the JBLM Newcomers’ Orientation is worthwhile and provides important knowledge for service members, spouses and family members, she said.
“Newcomers (Orientation) offers so many resources and information valuable to spouses who seek knowledge of JBLM and the surrounding communities,” Ulibarri said.
The orientation includes briefs for service members and spouses, from Lt. Gen. Gary Volesky, I Corps commanding general, and Command Sgt. Maj. Walter Tagalicud, I Corps command sergeant major, and other senior leaders from the installation.
“One of the great things about the orientation is the spouses of JBLM commanders also are there and are ready to answer and questions; you have their ear(s),” she said.
There’s also a combined joint orientation session with the Joint Base garrison command team, Command Sgt. Maj. Kenny Clayborn and Chief Master Sergeant Nicholas Hollinger, senior enlisted adviser.
Dozens of local businesses and base-related organizations also are available to provide information during breaks from information sessions.
Registration is required and can be accessed at jblm-newcomers.eventbrite.com. For more information, call 253-967-3633.