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Grow Where You Are Planted

After the third or so person at SpouseBUZZ live commented on a lack of enthusiasm for Texas, I felt the need to come to the defense of the Republic State of Texas.

Which is funny, because I am from that other state that thinks it is its own nation--New York--and just about the farthest thing from a Texan you can imagine.

As noted at SpouseBUZZ live, we MilSpouses have many mottos: You have to laugh otherwise you'd cry...Hope for the best but prepare for the worse...Ain't momma happy ain't nobody happy...

...and "Grow where you are planted."

First there is the disclaimer: Texas is a big state, and Killeen is not Texas.  The rest of Central Texas really is quite lovely and rich in history, culture, and all sorts of outdoor fun and adventure.  There are the jazz bars in Austin, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the wineries of Hill Country, the Peach Festival, the Guadalupe River...I could go on and on.

However, I have even found plenty to do in Killeen/Copperas Cove/Harker Heights and the other nearby cities (like Belton and Temple).

It is just a matter of following that last motto.

Now, finding something to do does not always go smoothly.  I went to a volunteer opportunity with an organization on post and no one introduced themselves to me!  I'm not a wallflower, so I went up to a friendly looking group of people and introduced myself.  They said "hi" and then went right back to their conversation without any attempt to get to know me.  So, I tried again at the next volunteer event.  This time I was placed on a shift with just one other person who was not involved with the organization and was just helping out a friend.  After that, I did not bother with that group--but I did not give up!  I just went and found another place to meet interesting people and volunteer.

On our post we have a crafts center with classes, several gyms, all sorts of MWR events, and much more. All you have to do is contact ACS or MWR to find out what is happening on post and make sure you get the latest schedules each month.

While on the phone with ACS, don't forget to ask about volunteer opportunities.  Volunteering is a free way to meet new people, build skills, and get that natural high that comes from helping others.  Online try Volunteer Match or Servenet. I volunteer on post, at the local high school, and with the Junior League--but there are dozens of local organizations that specialize in volunteering and literally hundreds of other opportunities. Whatever you enjoy, there is likely a volunteer opportunity for you.

Do a Google search and find your city's website or a private website for your city (like Killeen.com). You can also try searching for your city plus "calendar" or "tourism" or "festivals"--you might be surprised.  Who would have guessed Killeen has a gorgeous theater that regularly packs in the crowds for musical and dramatic performances every month?

You can also search for your city plus your specific interest to find clubs. If there is not one for your interest, how about forming your own?

Another good source for nearby entertainment is the local (Killeen Daily Herald, for example) and/or post (Ft. Hood Herald over here) newspaper. If you have a civic center, tourism board, or business association, they may also keep calendars or be able to point you in the right direction.

Check out the local colleges and universities--they usually have bulletin boards for events and you can get e-mail or postal mail fliers for some events.  If your town is too small for even a nearby community college, high schools are a good place to find out about interesting events.

Don't forget to ask about military discounts!  For example, the Temple Symphony Orchestra attracts world-class talent and the Planetarium right here in Killeen hosts shows for all ages (including laser light shows) and ID holders get in free to both.

If that doesn't float your boat--how about boats? fishing? classic cars? crafts fairs? live country, rock, or jazz music? karaoke? quilting circle?  I've been able to find this all right here.

Don't have anyone to join you?  Just try asking that nice gal who sat next to you at the FRG meeting--maybe she is just dying to get out, too.

There are also tons of websites that help you meet people from your area.  Just be careful to always meet first in a public place.

Many posts have low cost child care (or even free care for certain post events) for those who have kids and want to get out to some adults only events.

It is all a matter of thinking about what you enjoy, locating the calendars and other news sources, getting plugged into the local organizations you might enjoy, and then getting out.

I'm sure I've left out some good sources...please add your info and stories in the comments.

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