Life at the 'Lik - What's a spouse to do?

Spouses and family members are an integral part of team Incirlik in both the work force and volunteer functions at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Facilities such as the child development center, bowling alley, movie theater, library, and many others operate solely on volunteers, and civil service and non-appropriated fund employees. There are various opportunities for spouses at Incirlik to work, volunteer and be involved in the community. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Staff Sgt. Marissa Tucker/Released)

Spouses and family members are an integral part of team Incirlik in both the work force and volunteer functions at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Facilities such as the child development center, bowling alley, movie theater, library, and many others operate solely on volunteers, and civil service and non-appropriated fund employees. There are various opportunities for spouses at Incirlik to work, volunteer and be involved in the community. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Staff Sgt. Marissa Tucker/Released)

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- Editor's note: This article is part of a series designed to provide in-depth information to both current and future members of Team Incirlik about topics specific to Incirlik and Turkey. The goal is to assist Airmen and families in making informed decisions about their move to the area and to provide guidance about local policies, procedures and quality of life matters.

Most newly arriving spouses are looking for the same things when they are fresh off the plane at Incirlik - a shower, food and a place to sleep off the jet lag.

Fast forward a few months ahead, and the kids (if applicable) are enrolled in school or on a steady schedule, the household goods are unpacked and everyone is starting to get adjusted for the next two or so years in Turkey. Now what?

The next step varies for each person, depending on their family's goals. Many decide to pursue educational goals while others volunteer around the base to develop or hone career skills. There are multiple opportunities at Incirlik to become involved in various and unique activities, due to the cultural diversity and close-knit community here. Below are a few ideas to get started to a great tour at Incirlik.

Employment Opportunities
A variety of positions exist on base, but they are in high demand due to the lack of off-base employment opportunities. It is advisable to begin searching for openings sooner rather than later since most positions that open in the summer months due to permanent change of station moves fill quickly. Below are some of the types of jobs available here.

 - Non-appropriated Funds (NAF) positions
NAF employees at Incirlik hold several positions at 39th Force Support Squadron facilities. Because these are not federal civil service (GS) jobs, they are not included in civilian hiring freezes. The salaries from these positions are generated from the revenue of 39th FSS establishments. The possible employment locations for NAF jobs are listed below.

   Bowling Center
   Child Development Center
   Club Complex
   Community Activities Center
   Golf Course
   Library
   Lodging
   Marketing and Design
   NAF Accounting Office
   NAF Human Resources
   Youth Programs

   To learn about available openings, click here and select "Incirlik" in the location tab.

 - Civil Service (GS) positions
While there is currently a civil service hiring freeze, there are several critical positions that open periodically due to permanent change of station moves. The 39th FSS updates their vacancy site weekly. Those seeking employment can access the site here or visit usajobs.org.

 - Home-based businesses
There are some family members who are skilled in certain areas that just don't fit into any base employment opportunity. For those people, a home-based business might be their best choice. From cookies and cakes to dog walking services and tutors, there are many goods and services available at Incirlik through those who have home businesses.
 
Those looking to operate a home business must visit the base housing office and complete a request for approval before operating. Violators of this requirement are subject to fines and judicial actions. Also, check with the Official Document Center before attempting to have business-related goods shipped to an APO address. There are certain restictions on what the military postal service can and cannot be used for, such as items for re-sale, distribution or materials used to construct any item for re-sale or distribution.

Volunteer Opportunities

While there are various employment opportunities here, the "right one" may not be currently available. If the desired job is not available, there are several volunteer opportunities around base to help hone skills, meet new people and support the Incirlik community. The Airman and Family Readiness Center has information on a variety of ways to get involved.

Here are some other ways to get plugged in while in Turkey:

Base Chapel
The base chapel hosts various programs and organizations to fit the spiritual needs of the Incirlik community. Seven different services are held each Sunday, with Catholic Mass and Reconciliation held Monday-Thursday.

In addition to weekly services, the chapel offers hosts groups and organizations which meet throughout the week for bible studies and other social gatherings. Some of the groups are listed below.

Catholic Men of the Chapel
Catholic Women of the Chapel
Protestant Men of the Chapel
Protestant Women of the Chapel
AWANA Kids program
Mothers of Preschoolers

The Airman & Family Readiness Center
The Airman and Family Readiness center exists to support members of the community. Many spouses volunteer regularly at the facility assisting with clerical duties, coordinating events and sorting and distributing coupons to help base families reduce grocery costs.

The staff facilitates various classes and events each month designed to help members of the community learn about the culture of Turkey to help maximize their tour here. Not only do the events help inform participants, such as learning about shopping and transportation opportunities, but they give spouses with common interests a chance to meet. Below are some current programs at the center.

Foreign Born Spouses Group
The group is open to all spouses, but is geared towards those born outside of the U.S. This group holds monthly functions such as trips or lunches to help family members socialize with others who can relate to their journey as foreign-born Air Force spouse.

Hearts Apart Dinner
The A&FRC sponsors a dinner each month for family members whose spouses are currently deployed where they can meet other spouses in similar situations.

Lunch and Learns
New classes are introduced monthly and taught by subject matter experts at the A&FRC. Past class topics include building communication skills, financial readiness, stress/time management and cultural matters. These free classes are open to everyone.

Education opportunities
Looking to start or finish your degree? The base education center currently has three schools which hold 8-week, accelerated classes year-round. The institutions and available degree programs are listed below.

 - University of Maryland
    Associate Degree Programs
    Bachelor's Degree Programs
    Master's Degree Programs

 - Central Texas College
    Associate Degree Programs

 - Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
    Associate Degree Programs
    Bachelor's Degree Programs
    Master's Degree Programs

The education center also offers proctoring services for distance learning exams, SAT/ACT testing and many other services to help members of the base community complete their educational goals. The staff can assist with financial aid questions and provide academic counseling to students.

Whatever the chosen route, there are many opportunities for Incirlik spouses to "bloom where they are planted." Getting out and meeting people and finding something that sparks your interest can be the start to an enjoyable tour at Incirlik. A good way to start right is to get connected early with any of the various spouses groups. Many of them can be found on Facebook or by obtaining points of contact through the A&FRC.

For more information about the Incirlik community, visit the base newcomer's page here.