SAN ANTONIO (October 7, 2015) -- After two weeks of mission essential fitness training, empowering briefs from Army leaders, and life skills activities, the attendees of the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers Future Leader Training forum learned valuable information to bring back to their duty stations.
Sgt. Maj. Michael Hatfield, from the G9 Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation of U.S. Army Installation Management Command, wanted to focus the forum sessions on life skills, a layer in the BOSS program's quality of life pillar.
"If you look at the new Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark A. Milley's message, it is all about readiness," he said.
"We added what we call 'life skills' to the training. If a Soldier has a lot of life skills, then the acts of discipline tend to be lower."
BOSS presidents, Soldiers assigned to lead the program at their duty station, worldwide traveled to attend the two-week forum at the Shades of Green in Orlando, Florida.
Throughout the forum, the Soldiers participated in various life skills activities from mission essential fitness sessions, etiquette classes, cooking lessons, and a "Resiliency Through Art" class -- where Soldiers painted portraits and molded clay sculptures.
During the program's second week, the garrison command sergeant majors and Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation BOSS program advisors joined the Soldiers to cement their in a peer-to-peer leadership relationship.
"This training is about having command sergeant majors, BOSS presidents and the MWR advisors working together, pushing each other and building camaraderie," said Hatfield.
Command sergeant majors and MWR advisors accompanied the Soldiers in team building activities such as early morning mission essential fitness training sessions, conducted by Command Sgt. Maj. John W. Troxell, of U.S. Forces Korea.
"My fitness program is physically, mentally and emotionally hard. It's all about advanced functional fitness," said Troxell. "We wanted to saturate the BOSS representatives with as much total force fitness as we could."
As Troxell challenged the session participants to reach their full potential, he hoped that the Soldiers incorporate his training program at their garrisons. "These Soldiers are coming back to your installations trained and prepared to be an asset to your command so utilize them," he added.
In addition to life skills activities, the forum attendees had the unique opportunity to engage with Army senior leaders. Notable senior leaders at the event included Command Sgt. Maj. Rodney D. Harris, U.S. Army Cyber Command, Command Sgt. Maj. Scott C. Schroeder, of U.S. Army Forces Command, retired Sgt. Maj. of the Army Jack L. Tilley, and current Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey.
For the Soldiers, it was a rare experience to talk one-on-one with the leaders and ask them questions. For the leaders, it was a personal opportunity to express their support for the BOSS program.
"We are cannot do our mission without recognizing the service and sacrifices of our young Soldiers," said SMA Dailey, as he proclaimed in front of the room during the forum's closing day.
As the forum came to an end, Hatfield hoped that his emphasis on life skills and peer-to-peer leadership was conveyed to the attendees. A desired result is the attendees will work together to develop more life skills based program.
The program's new emphasis on life skills is already in effect. Sgt. Jimmy Chavez, BOSS president for the IMCOM Pacific Region, already noticed remarkable changes in the program as he transitioned from a representative to the president.
"When I first joined the program in 2011, it was not what it is today. The program was centrally revolved around the traveling, recreation and leisure. Now that the program encompasses all the pillars [such as quality of life and community service]," he said.
The program has had a positive on his quality of life and morale as well as his Soldiers.
"The biggest impact BOSS had on me is to keep myself motivated and keep myself surrounded by people who I can talk to. It has given me an outlet to communicate with Soldiers across my garrison," he concluded.