Program promotes fun, safe activities for single Soldiers
August 1, 2013
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (Aug. 2, 2013) -- The U.S. Army offers vast opportunities to the brave men and women who choose to enlist in its ranks and serve their country.
However, being stationed in an unfamiliar environment, far away from family and friends, can be tough for a young Soldier, especially if he or she is alone.
To help these Soldiers jump in and embrace their new surroundings, the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation's Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program, better known as BOSS, organizes and conducts various activities that allow its members to be active out and about the local community with a group of their peers.
"BOSS is a great program that enables Soldiers to participate in activities on and off post with other Soldiers who they may not meet otherwise and learn about other cultures in the area they may not explore on their own," said Command Sgt. Maj. Philip Brunwald, senior enlisted leader, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, and senior enlisted adviser for the program.
"It's a really good way to meet people and to get to know the island in a safe environment," added Lisa Allen, recreation specialist, Tropics Warrior Zone, and Family and MWR adviser for the program. "We just want to promote fun."
The BOSS is headquartered at the Tropics, here, within walking distance from Soldier barracks, making it convenient for Soldiers to stop by the lounge to watch big-screen TVs, play a game of billiards or just hang out.
And by keeping single Soldiers occupied with positive outlets -- sand volleyball on Mondays, stand-up paddle lessons on the weekend, trips to the outer islands -- there is reduced risk for unhealthy behaviors, both on and off post.
"If they're just sitting in their barracks room, Soldiers can get lonely and depressed, especially if their family isn't here," said BOSS president Spc. Jennifer Coggins. "When they're out of the barracks, they can meet people and establish their own family here."
"Senior leader involvement in their single Soldiers' lives through the BOSS program has a greater impact on Soldiers' lives, both socially and professionally, than they know," Brunwald added.
BOSS offers a little bit of something for everyone -- thrill-seekers can go out on a ledge with skydiving or shark-cage diving, while the more mellow sort can scuba dive with marine life or try Hawaiian food at an authentic island luau.
"Once a month we give people the opportunity to get out and do PT with us," Coggins added. "We team up with Outdoor Recreation and go surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, just something else for PT rather than what they do with their unit."
But the BOSS program isn't limited to social activities only; a large portion of the program is dedicated to community service projects, with Soldiers regularly volunteering with local organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters, March of Dimes and Special Olympics Hawaii.
Volunteers also lend a hand at annual events, such as the NFL Pro Bowl, the PGA Tour and the garrison's Fourth of July Spectacular and End the R-Word Rally.
"We're also thinking about adopting a beach, kind of like how people adopt a highway, and then have a fun activity after … just kick back and enjoy the day," noted Allen.
The BOSS meets at 2 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of the month at the Tropics, and at 11 a.m., on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at the Fort Shafter Bowling Center. Anyone interested in getting involved may attend.
"We want to bring a lot of opportunities for Soldiers to get out of the barracks in a safe environment," Allen said.
"We're in Hawaii," Coggins added, "and we're lucky to offer the Soldiers the chance to get out in the community, rather than being stuck in the barracks."
Who's the BOSS?
The Better Opportunities for Single Solders (BOSS) program is geared toward both male and female geographical bachelors, single parents and single Soldiers ages 18-30, but has no age or rank limit.
Married Soldiers are welcome to join the program as a BOSS representative; however, they will be unable to participate in recreational or community service activities.
Upcoming events this month include the following:
•An ocean outing with Ko Olina Ocean Adventure, Aug. 17; and
•Skydiving with Skydive Hawaii, Aug. 24 or 31 (date to be determined).
Spots are limited; sign-up is on a first-come, first-served basis.
To get involved, contact BOSS president at 655-1130 or "like" Hawaii Boss Strong on Facebook.
For further information on the BOSS program, visit www.himwr.com/recreation-and-leisure/boss.