By Lizann Lightfoot
When you’re a military kid, you may not have many options for a summer job, especially if you’ve just moved to a new base or live in a foreign country. Luckily, military kids have some unique employment opportunities on base, no matter where they are stationed.
These jobs are offered through different departments on base. Start your search by checking availability at your base Human Resources or Family Services Center.
Bagger at the PX/NEX or Commissary
This is a unique position that doesn’t exist at most grocery stores off base. The baggers are responsible for bagging groceries, pushing carts to the car, and loading the bags into the cars. It seems that almost every military kid applies for this job, so it can be competitive. Baggers must be hard-working, careful with food, and reliable. The job does not offer a wage–baggers are paid with tips only–so applicants should have good people skills, too. During a busy day (like military payday), baggers can make good money. But there will also be slow days with bad weather and low tips.
Lifeguard at the pool
Base swimming pools are usually staffed and managed by Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) or the Aquatic Center. To qualify, teens must be at least 15 and certified through Red Cross classes, which can be taken on- or off-base. Lifeguards are paid hourly. If the applicant is certified to teach Red Cross swim lessons, they may receive additional pay to be a swim instructor. This job demands a responsible, serious teen who pays attention and enjoys being around children.
Fast food server
Each base has its own selection of fast food restaurants, as well as a food court dining area. Apply to them and see if they are offering summer positions for servers, busers, or cooks. The fast food industry can be challenging and tedious, but it will keep workers on their toes. Those who pay attention to details and like to be efficient, will do well.
Military kids can start these businesses in their neighborhood
Forget lemonade stands. Military kids can run these businesses from home! Use your neighborhood and base Facebook pages to advertise your work and gain clients. Young entrepreneurs should remember to check with their state tax laws and declare their income if they make more than the minimum.
There are numerous families living on base who don’t have the tools or time to take care of their yards. For people who enjoy being outside, this is a perfect money-making opportunity. The job is available to children of any age, as long as they are old enough to operate machinery in their state. (Check local laws.) Making arrangements to profit-share with parents if their tools or other equipment are being used, or renting lawn care equipment from the base’s Recreation Checkout center are two easy ways to obtain the tools needed for the business. Offer different package rates for lawns that have dog poop, high weeds, or just need a weekly trim. Build up regular clients and stay busy all summer long!
Military families will always need babysitters, since most are far from families. Teens can provide part-time care for a mom who works during the day or evening care for couples who want a date night. First, become certified through the Red Cross Babysitting/CPR class, which is typically offered at the Family Services Center. There is also an advanced class for teens at least 16 years old. Then, register on websites like Care.com or Sittercity. Be sure to charge a reasonable rate for the area and the maximum number of children that will be watched at one time.
Many families on base need someone to let their dogs out or walk them during the day. There are also opportunities to pet sit for longer periods when families travel. Don’t forget, there are plenty of people who will pay a teen to pick up the dog poop in their backyard.
Some base schools of Child Development Centers (CDC) offer tutoring programs that pair teens with struggling younger children. If the base doesn’t have a structured program, considering offering private tutoring services. Strong grades in school and patience with younger children is vital. Before accepting any job, meet with the family and decide where to meet, what subject to study, and how much progress the child is expected to make.
Lizann Lightfoot is an associate editor at Military One Click and a Marine Corps spouse. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.