Blue Star Families + Communities
Celebrate military families in your community by joining us for Blue Star Welcome Week! This special week raises awareness and builds support for the 600,000 military families that move to new communities each year. During Blue Star Welcome Week, it is our goal to proactively improve military families’ sense of belonging to their local communities by forging strong connections between our military family members and their local neighbors.
Communities + Military Families
Through participating in Blue Star Welcome Week 2023, you will help military families feel connected in the communities where they live and serve through encouraging military families to shop at local businesses, participate in community events, and connect with community members.
Support from communities, local businesses, and civic organizations helps military families feel welcomed and included. These entities are a main source of community engagement, connection, stability, and exploration. This is a great opportunity for military families and individuals to learn about the community around them, get involved, and create stable connections of inclusivity. In addition, military members feed into the local economy, benefiting businesses in the area.
Any opportunity to invite military families to engage with their community is a win!
Event Registration Form
Planning a Blue Star Welcome Week event? Tell us the details on our partner event registration page so we can help spread the word!
Online Blue Star Welcome Week Toolkit
Find sample social media posts, graphics, and more to help show your community’s support of military families.
Not sure if there are military families in your area?
Participate as part of Blue Star Welcome Week to make military families in your community feel welcome! Following are some actionable ideas for connecting with military families during Blue Star Welcome Week — and beyond.
Examples of Blue Star Welcome Week Events, Activities, and Programs
- Issue a proclamation to commemorate Blue Star Welcome Week in your municipality — we have draft language you can use.
- Post about Blue Star Welcome Week through your community social media accounts, highlighting your warm welcome to military families who may have recently joined your community (see toolkit resource link below).
- Acknowledge and honor military families in community newsletters.
- Design and create a welcome poster for public display.
- Create informative packets for military families to get from the Chamber of Commerce, which include community event calendars, new-to-the community reference guides, maps, and other information pertinent to the community incorporation and adaptation of military families.
- Join the Blue Star Families network and sponsor events that introduce the members of your organization, school, faith group, or Chamber of Commerce to local military families.
- Share homemade treats with a gift tag welcoming your new neighbor to the community, along with a list of your favorite businesses in the area.
Here are some actionable ideas for connecting schools with military families during Blue Star Welcome Week — and beyond.
- Host a welcome breakfast for military kids and families.
- Acknowledge and honor military kids during daily school announcements or in weekly newsletters.
- Set up a buddy program for new military kids to get paired with another student.
- See the full toolkit for Schools.
Here are some actionable ideas for connecting libraries with military families during Blue Star Welcome Week — and beyond.
- Have welcome “kits” of resources pre-packaged to hand out to families new to the area.
- Host a library open house for military families and others who may be new to town.
- Highlight books about moving to new communities or the lives of military families during weekly story hours.
- See full toolkit for Libraries.
BUSINESSES, RESTAURANTS & ORGANIZATIONS
- Host a military spouse hiring event.
- Post a sign of welcoming and offer a military discount.
- Provide special giveaways or unique experiences for military families.
- Host a Coffee With a Veteran/Service Member/Spouse event for community members to meet.
- Arrange an open house for military families or provide a packet of resources to share about local landmarks.
- Host a walking tour of downtown shops and restaurants for military families to get connected with local leaders and vendors.
- Have a block party welcoming military families and Veterans to the neighborhood.
BLUE STAR WELCOME WEEK FAQS
WHAT IS BLUE STAR WELCOME WEEK?
Blue Star Welcome Week was created to recognize the 600,000 military families that move to new communities each year. This special week raises awareness and builds support for military families across the country. During Blue Star Welcome Week, it is our goal to proactively improve military families’ sense of belonging to their local communities by forging strong connections between our military family members and their local neighbors.
WHEN IS BLUE STAR WELCOME WEEK 2023?
It takes place from September 23rd — October 1st, 2023.
WHY IS THIS WEEK SO IMPORTANT?
According to the 2022 Military Family Lifestyle Survey, only 33% of active duty respondents feel a sense of belonging to their local civilian community.
The average military family moves three times as often as their civilian peers. The majority of these permanent change of station (PCS) moves take place during the summer in June, July, and August. More than 70% of families live off of the military installation in their local civilian communities and they do not feel a strong sense of belonging to those communities.
WHY ARE BLUE STAR WELCOME WEEK PARTNERS NEEDED?
Blue Star Welcome Week is how we get upstream of the lack-of-belonging problem and help our military and transitioning Veteran families thrive. We know that if you can create a moment of welcome when people move, everything else improves — financial challenges, mental and physical health, and so much more! Together, we can spread this initiative to more communities across the country, empowering more military- and Veteran-connected families to feel a greater sense of belonging.
WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION?
BAH: Basic Allowance for Housing. A financial allowance service members receive toward housing
CONUS/OCONUS: The continental U.S., or CONUS, is the 48 connected states and District of Columbia. OCONUS is outside the continental U.S.
Dependent: A person that a service member is responsible for, legally and financially, such as a spouse or children
Deployment: Temporary relocation of a service member or unit
DITY: Former term for do-it-yourself move. One of three types of military moves
DOD: Department of Defense. The department of the U.S. government responsible for military operations
EFMP: Exceptional Family Member Program
Gold Star Family: Immediate family members of a fallen service member who died while serving in a time of conflict
KIA: Killed in Action
MIA: Missing in Action
MOS: Military occupational specialty. This is a service member’s specific job in the military, from artillery and aviation to engineering and intelligence
NCO: Noncommissioned officer. A military officer who has not received a commission, such as sergeant (Army) and warrant officer (Navy)
OPSEC: Operational Security. The process of identifying and protecting information about military operations
Partial PPM: A combination of assisted and PPM moves, also referred to as Partial DITY. One of three types of military moves
PCS: Permanent Change of Station
PPM: Personally Procured Move, also formerly referred to as DITY move. One of three types of military moves
TDY: Temporary Duty, when a military member is on duty away from their assigned unit
TRICARE: Military health care program. TRICARE provides health benefits to service members, retirees and their families
Veteran: A person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable