Now that I am a new mom, I had to look into what kind of benefits there are for my military child. I already feel guilty knowing that he will also have to go through deployments, separations, and frequent moves at such a young age. I needed to know that there were some positives that come with the military lifestyle for him. You already know the benefits for Military Spouses, but did you know there were perks for your military brats?
Here are 7 amazing military child benefits:
1. Free Flights
I heard this one from Laurie at World Traveling Military Family . Most university students look forward to coming home for holidays and summer breaks while they attend college. But when a parent is stationed outside of the continental United States (OCONUS), the cost of travel can be a huge dealbreaker. BUT, the military offers a program for such cases, provided they meet the eligibility and requirements.
The abridged version is that college students (unmarried, under 23, with dependent id, and full time college student) whose parent is permanently stationed OCONUS and accompanied by family members, receive one round trip ticket a year. As always with the military, there are other rules, forms, paperwork, fine print. etc. Check out the program here or talk to the command travel coordinator for information. http://www.militaryonesource.mil/mwr?content_id=274598
Service members can transfer their post GI Bill to their dependents for college but there’s also different scholarships your military child can apply for as well. There are general ones such as the one from the Commissary managed by Fisher House (http://www.militaryscholar.org/), There’s branch specific ones. Once your kids are in high school, make sure they learn about all these opportunities for financial assistance: http://www.ourmilitary.mil/education-and-scholarships
3. Free Tutoring
In a partnership funded by the DoD MWR Library Program, Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, and Navy General Library Program, tutor.com offer free tutoring for military dependent children. Eligibility varies by each branch. Tutors are available 24/7 so it doesn’t matter where your family is stationed. Visit http://military.tutor.com for other rules and eligibility.
Installations offer youth sports programs usually through MWR/MCCS to help keep your military kid active and social. The different sports varies by installation as do the fees and eligibility. On the whole, it’s been my experience that the military-affiliated programs are cheaper than the civilian.
Find out if your installation has an active youth or teen program. These programs might have a physical building where military kids hang out with other military kids. They often come with special programming such as dances, concerts, excursions, workshops, and other activities. If your family doesn’t live near a military installation, check out the Mission: Youth Outreach program for the Joint Military Service and Boys and Girls Club of America.
Some installations offer volunteer and employment programs specifically for military teens. For example, the MWR branch for the Army has the “Hired” program. The apprenticeship program lasts a few months and the teen received a stipend upon completeion. Teens can be apprentice in an field they are interested in with MWR. For example, young chefs can help out at the catering clubs, or a teen interesting in marketing can help out in the MWR marketing program. HIRED! Apprenticeship Teens are purposely aligned with specific career paths designed to pave the way into college or higher education. This programs provide exploratory work experiences and help participants determine if certain career paths are viable choices for them. It makes a great addition to their resume or college/scholarship application. Visit your local installation family services to see if they offer something like this. http://www.armymwr.com/family/childandyouth/default.aspx
7. Excursions and Camps
Your military child or teen has the opportunity to go on camps through the Department of Defense partnerships. For military teens, there are different excursions that can happen in summer or winter and can consist of sailing, wilderness training, kayaking, caving, and more! They also have a program for military youth and teens with special needs. The DoD also partnered with 4H to provide deployment support camps in different areas. For more information on camps visit http://www.militaryonesource.mil/cyt?content_id=268111
photo credit: DVIDSHUB cc 2nd photo altered by JD Collins