MacDill Happenings

Things to Do in and around MacDill AFB

Food Truck Rally at MacDill AFB

August 21, 2014 By: Laura Category: Dining, Events, Things to do


MacDill AFB will host a Food Truck Rally today August 21st and Friday August 22nd.

Take your lunch break and enjoy some great food from either the Wicked Wiches, Slow and Low Barbeque or Buddy Brew Coffee.

The trucks will be in the parking lot of the Diner’s Reef Club form 11:00am until 2:00pm.

The menu’s include barbeque sandwiches , gourmet burgers, Cantina bowls, Tacos and a variety of drinks including iced coffee’s and latte’s. For more information you can call 813-828-3055.

This sounds like such a delicious event that I may have to stop by and try it!! If you have a favorite Food Truck in the Tampa Bay area leave us a comment or share it with us on our Facebook page.

Also, don’t forget it is Thursday so that means free movie night at the MacDill AFB theater. Tonight you can see “Rio 2″. The movie starts at 5:30. You can bring in your own snacks and beverages but please clean up after yourselves when you leave.

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The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportuntiy For Military Children

August 20, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, News, Schools


Yesterday marked the first day of school for many children in the MacDill AFB and Tampa Bay area. For a lot of our military children this may have meant the first day in yet another new school. A lot of these students have already started at a new school 5 to 6 times. This can be especially challenging for our middle and high school students who need to meet a certain criteria to graduate. Thankfully the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission was formed to address some of these issues.

The Commission’s goal is to help school districts maintain policies that would help military children with the transition from one school to another. Policies such as placement, attendance, eligibility and graduation requirements are addressed in the Compact. Military children of active duty members, National Guard and Reservist on active duty orders and service members or veterans who are medically discharged or retired for one year can gain assistance under the  Compact.

I recently spoke with Karen who serves as the Deputy Director of Government Relations (Military Family Issues) for MOAA. I asked Karen why this Compact is so important to our military families and her response was “This is a great win for military children! On average a military child will attend 6 to 8 different schools between the grades of kindergarten through 12th grade. These highly mobile military children need legislation that helps level the playing field for seamless transition. We are so pleased to see that all 50 states are now participating with the compact. But, now parents must do their homework and read the legislation and understand who is covered and what is covered. As a parent if you come up against a situation this legislation would cover make sure you armed with the right tools so you can effectively advocate for your children.” If you would like to read more on the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children take a look at Karen’s blog on the this subject. Her blog shares more details of why this legislation is so important to our youngest heroes.

Another great resource when moving to a new school with a military child is your school liaison office. Nelly Richards is the liaison officer for MacDill AFB. She will be able to help you with information on the Compact and how it works with Hillsborough Public Schools.

Tips to Enroll in Hillsborough County Public Schools” is another great resource for information on schools in the MacDill AFB area.

Karen and I have both experienced moving a high school student to a new a school in fact my youngest son attended 3 high schools in 4 years. I was lucky enough to not have to use any of the guarantees the Compact protects. Please share with us your experiences and how moving to a new school has impacted your child’s education.

You can comment here on the blog page or leave a comment on the MacDill Happenings  Facebook page.

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Tips for Employment in the Tampa Bay Area

August 19, 2014 By: Laura Category: News, Self Improvement


If you just moved to MacDill AFB with your spouse and you want to find a job, then there are plenty of resources to help you!

Next week on Thursday the 28th is the Recruit Military Veteran Career Fair, sponsored by USAA. It will take place at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Tampa. This job fair is geared towards veterans and spouses and is scheduled to start at 11am and run until 3pm. This event is being held in partnership with the US Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes program.

Career Source Tampa Bay now located at the MacDill AFB Exchange food court. The center is open to Military personnel who are within a year of leaving the service, retired from the military, and spouses.

The Airman and Family Readiness Center has two locations: MacDill AFB: 8105 Condor St (next to the MacDill Post Office) and Brandon: 710 Oakfield Dr, Suite 153. They can provide assist with looking for employment.

You can share here in our comments section or on our Facebook page. You can also send us a tweet @MacDill Happenin.

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Communities Around MacDill AFB

August 18, 2014 By: Laura Category: Communities

MacDill pic courtesyofAJtrips blogspot

If you’re getting ready to move to the MacDill AFB area, then you will find a large number of communities in buy or rent a house. Because of the relatively central location of the base and traffic patterns, you will find that driving time from most communities is almost similar depending on distance. So if you live north of the base in the Westchase area or east in the Brandon/Valrico area, you will find driving times from either location will be 30 to 40 minutes.

You will find most of Tampa is suburbia as described by the MilitaryByOwner staff writer, Karina, in here recent blog “Are we witnessing the return to Suburbia?” There is thriving downtown in Tampa and St. Pete, but you find that these are primarily targeted for young singles or couples. The majority of active duty families at MacDill AFB live in surrounding suburbs.

MacDill AFB is located in the southern part of Tampa. Main roads into the base are Dale Mabry and Bayshore. Known as “South Tampa” which is usually defined as the part of Tampa south of Kennedy Blvd, this community has homes that are within 5 to 15 minutes of driving time to the base.

West of the base is Pinellas County with the major communities of St. Petersburg, Clearwater and numerous smaller towns in between.

North of the base in Hillsborough County are the communities of Westchase, Citrus Park, Lutz and New Tampa. Access to these communities are aided by the Veterans/Suncoast Expressway and I-275.

East of the base in Hillsborough County are the communities of Brandon, Valrico, Riverview and Lithia. Using the Selmon Expressway aids in travel time from these areas. Hillsborough Area Rapid Transit (HART) has commuter express buses from this part of Hillsborough County.

You can share here in our comments section or on our Facebook page. You can also send us a tweet @MacDill Happenin.

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Swimming Pool Safety Revisited

August 16, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, Communities, Self Improvement

Floating Around

Did you know that Florida is ranked as the state with the highest drowning rate in children? With Summer ending most of the United States will close the pools up and the risk for drowning will go down. But here in the MacDill AFB area we love to swim pretty much year round. With that in mind I though I would share a previous article written about swimming safety.

Take a look at the article Swimming Pool Safety and share it with your family and friends. This also a great article to share with friends who may have just moved or PCS’ed to the Tampa area. These tips can also apply to any bodies of water such as the beach or a lake.

Another water concern we have write now in the MacDill AFB area is the condition of the water at the beaches. Vibrio vulnificus, which is related to the bacterium that causes Cholera, can be found in the waters off of the coast because it thrives in warm saltwater. If ingested, it can cause stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea. But it can also infect open wounds and lead to skin breakdown and ulceration. It’s okay to go in the water, just make sure that you don’t have any open cuts or wounds. If you have a suppressed immune system due to things like cancer, diabetes or cirrhosis of the liver, you are better off just walking on the beach and staying out of the water.

Use this information and stay safe near the water not just during the summer months but all year.

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Things to do in Tampa Bay This Weekend!

August 15, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, Events, Sports, Things to do

YouTube Preview Image

The weekend before school starts in the Tampa Bay area is filled with diverse events for the entire family!  There are always a lot of things to do in the Tampa Bay area.

If you’re a baseball, then you are in luck this weekend!  The Tampa Bay Rays take on the New York Yankees in a 3-game series starting on Friday night.  The first pitch will be thrown at 7:10pm on Friday.  Don’t wait to get your tickets because this is a really popular series!

On Saturday at Al Lang Field in St. Pete, the Tampa Bay Rowdies take on the New York Cosmos.  Start time is 7:30pm.

On Saturday and Sunday, the Humphrey Bogart 1942 classic “Casablanca” will be shown at the historic Tampa Theatre. Showtime each day is 3pm.  Built 1926, the Tampa Theatre is a wonderful example of elaborate movie palaces and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Check out the Florida Aquarium for Shark Week.  Price is included with admission.  Make sure you save on tickets by purchasing Aquarium tickets at the MacDill AFB ITT office.

MOSI is offering free admission to active military members and their families as part of the Blue Star Museum.

You can share here in our comments section or on our Facebook page. You can also send us a tweet @MacDill Happenin.

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Back to School Safety Tips

August 14, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, Schools

Back to school

Schools start next week in the Tampa Bay area.  It can be fun and it can be tough.  Nothing like knowing that the fun easy days of summer are over!  It can exciting if your child is starting kindergarten or starting their senior year of high school!

Since it will be a  change in routine for parents and children, it’s good idea to review some basic safety tips to make everyone gets to school and back safely!

If walking to school, walk on the sidewalk.  If there is no sidewalk, walk so that you are facing traffic.  It’s a good idea to review and practice the route that your child will walk.  Look both ways when crossing a street and near dart out in front of a parked car.

If riding a bike to school, make sure that a helmet always worn.  Know the rules of the road.  Ride on the right side of the road in a single file. Make a complete stop at all stop signs.

If riding the bus, it’s a good idea to take your child to the bus and teach them the proper way to get on and off the bus.  Make sure your child stays 6 feet away from the curb.  If your child has to cross in front of the bus after getting off the bus, make sure that they cross at least 12 feet in front of the bus.  Your child should be able to see the driver and the driver should be able to see your child before crossing in front of the bus.

If you have a teen driver, make sure that they slow down around schools and bus stops. Never text when driving and pay attention to their surroundings.  Don’t let too many children ride to school with your child so that they don’t get distracted!

You can share here in our comments section or on our Facebook page. You can also send us a tweet @MacDill Happenin.

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Kayaking and Standup Paddleboard Lessons on MacDill AFB

August 13, 2014 By: Laura Category: Events, News

Courtesy of Club Kayak

In the Tampa Bay area, we are surrounded by water.  MacDill AFB has water on three sides. You just can’t get away from it. Recreation on the water dominates the area from boating to fishing.

The MacDill AFB Outdoor Recreation office helps you get out and enjoy the water by offering two classes designed for beginners. You can sign up at the Outdoor Recreation office.

The “Into to Kayaking Class” on 23 Aug will teach you the basics of kayaking. You will learn about the kayak, equipment, emergencies, and wet exit. This lesson combines classroom and water time and is for beginners.  The minimum age is 12, but youths ages 12 to 16 must be accompanied by an adult. The class runs from 9am to 1pm and costs $30 per person. The class will meet at the MacDill AFB Marina Activity Room.

The “Stand Up Paddleboard Lessons” on 24 Aug will teach beginners the basics of the stand up paddleboard. Learn about the proper use and care of the equipment along with correct paddling and turning techniques. Then participants will learn the fundamentals of stand up paddling. The cost includes board and safety equipment. The minimum age is 12, but youths ages 12 to 16 must be accompanied by an adult. The class runs from 9am to 11am and costs $30 per person.

The Outdoor Recreation office is located on Marina Bay Drive which the road out the Marina and SeaScapes. After the lessons don’t worry about buying the gear because Outdoor Recreation has kayaks and stand up paddleboards for rent along with a lot of other gear.

You can share here in our comments section or on our Facebook page. You can also send us a tweet @MacDill Happenin.

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Tips for the Last Weekend Before School Starts

August 12, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, Events


The last summer before school starts is this weekend!  Starting on Monday get ready for the hustle and bustle of the first day of school.  The first day of school can be very memorable.  The last weekend of summer can also be memorable especially with all the options in Tampa Bay.

Maybe take a day to have a last day of fun with the kids.

DisneyWorld is still offering specially priced tickets for active, reserve and retired military members.  Tickets purchased now are good until 27 September.  You can purchase vouchers for the tickets at the MacDill ITT office.

LegoLand Florida is offering a free ticket to active duty military members along with discounted tickets for family members.

Busch Gardens in Tampa and Sea World in Orlando are offering free tickets to active duty, drilling reservist or Guardsman and up to 3 dependents.  You can only chose one of the parks for free admission.

Universal Studios in Orlando also has military discount tickets available. The MacDill AFB ITT has the discount tickets.  You can also purchase tickets at the Shades of Green military resort at Walt Disney World.

You can share here in our comments section or on our Facebook page. You can also send us a tweet @MacDill Happenin.

This page is brought to you by your one stop source for Military relocation information.

Moving and Your Spouse’s Career

August 11, 2014 By: Laura Category: Events, News

road-trip courtesyof myclubs worldmarksp

When you’re married to an active duty military member, you realize that those PCS moves can make it difficult on your career. Sometimes you maybe lucky and you can transfer to another location with your company. Sometimes your job is done online and where you work is not an issue. Sometimes your job skills are transferable and it is relatively easy to find a job at a new location. If you are in the latter situation, it can still be stressful to find and interview and start all over again at a new company.

There are resources to help you no matter what employment situation you are in. Your base Family Resource Center as well as the base Transition Center can help you.

MOAA has an excellent online resource center with great sources of information that help you.

Moving can be stressful, but it can also be exciting if you look forward to the new adventures.

You can share here in our comments section or on our Facebook page. You can also send us a tweet @MacDill Happenin.

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