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Compass Kitsap

Empowering Navy spouses for more than 10 years

Compass helps Navy spouses navigate the choppy waters of a new duty station. Photo credit: Jodi M. Ubelhor-Strauch

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From the very first day of boot camp, sailors are told where to be, when to be there, what to wear and how to wear it, and that doesn't change much when they transfer to a school or to their first command. Sailors have a constant resource, a brother and sisterhood of experienced sailors, to ask and learn the "who, what, where and how" of Navy life.

Then they get married and bring a young bride to a strange new duty station. Sadly, many times new spouses receive little more than an ID card, an address, and a single trip to the commissary before a sailor has to return to work, or worse, go out to sea. All too often, new Navy spouses find themselves lost, lonely, and with no one to turn to with the many questions bubbling up inside them about this strange new world they've been dropped into. How does TRICARE work? Who can I talk to about finding a job? How am I going to make it through this deployment when I don't even understand the language my sailor uses half the time?

That's where Compass comes in.

Compass is a mentoring program developed by Navy spouses for Navy spouses to educate and empower with information and resources aimed at leading better Navy lives. This three-day course covers a wide range of topics, from the history and traditions of the Navy to how to thrive through a deployment. In Compass, Navy spouses often find not only a classroom, but also a new peer group - other spouses going through the same life events and wondering about the same questions as them - as well as a safe place to ask those questions and get solid answers.

First created as the S.U.B.S. program for submarine spouses in Hawaii, Compass was redesigned to include all Navy spouses and has been funded through Naval Services Familyline since the implementation of the first chapter in Kings Bay, Georgia in 2001. Since then, more than 15 new chapters have sprung up on Navy bases around the world.

Compass Kitsap has been helping Navy spouses lead better Navy lives for more than a decade. Since its implementation in 2005, the Naval Base Kitsap chapter has helped almost 700 spouses. Each month, a dedicated group of Compass mentors and volunteers comes together to plan and execute a new session of classes, meals and babysitting to ensure that every Navy spouse has the opportunity to attend and focus on learning.  Participants often walk away with much more than just a Navy education.

"Learning about all this was so great and makes me feel more proud to be a Navy spouse," shared a recent Compass Kitsap graduate.

"At Compass, we aren't counselors, money managers or PCS experts," explained a Compass Mentor. "What are we? Experienced Navy spouses who understand what newer spouses are going through and who want to give them the information and tools necessary to find the help they need with any problems they might encounter during their Navy lives."

For more information and to register for classes, visit

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