By Ms. Azure HallMarch 23, 2018
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- Being stationed overseas offers service members a lot of opportunities, such as travel, experiencing new cultures and stepping outside of your comfort zone. But it may also come with challenges, like distance from loved ones and loneliness. Many of these struggles are often experienced by single service members, and that's where the Kaiserslautern Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation's Better Opportunities for Single Service members program comes in.
The BOSS program aims to enhance the morale and welfare of single military members, to include active duty, guard and reserve capacities, who are unmarried, single parents or geographic bachelors serving in any branch of service from any country. BOSS programs increase retention and sustain combat readiness through its three core components for maintaining a balanced life: leisure and recreation, community service and quality of life.
Tucker Wakefield, Family and MWR BOSS adviser for Kaiserslautern, explained that many Family and MWR programs and services are geared more toward families. BOSS recognizes obstacles faced by single service members can be amplified when they move overseas.
"Aside from just being at a new duty station, there's the language and culture barrier, different customs and just overall adjustment to life in another country. BOSS is here to support its members in all of these areas," he said.
The Kaiserslautern Military Community has a thriving BOSS program and provides its members with a variety of opportunities to enhance their morale, living environment or personal growth and development. Members are invited to share their ideas with the group and bring programs to fruition. Recreation and leisure activities include lifestyle classes, free or low cost excursions, social events and more.
Perhaps one of the most important services offered by BOSS is the chance to give back and make a difference in the community.
"Volunteers are absolutely essential to making the program a success. No one individual could run this program on their own," Wakefield said. "We rely on everyone to pitch in, from single service members all the way up to senior leadership support."
There are numerous community service and volunteer opportunities, including American Legion gravestone beautification projects and special event support. For their time, BOSS members have the chance to receive the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal. Membership also helps to advance service member's promotion packets.
Service member involvement is paramount to the success of the program.
Along with membership, participants also have the opportunity to take on leadership roles. Garrison BOSS programs are led by a senior enlisted adviser, Family and MWR Adviser and BOSS president; each of whom plays an important role in the execution of BOSS missions. Kaiserslautern BOSS recently gained a new president -- Spc. Brian A. Wolford.
As a satellite network controller with the 53rd Signal Battalion at Landstuhl, the BOSS program quickly became an important part of Wolford's life there.
"This is my first duty station, and it's also my first time even being out of the United States," said Wolford, who hails from North Potomac, Md. "When you're living over here, you don't have the direct support that you would stateside. The holiday seasons get rough in particular, so having a program like BOSS helps make those and other times less lonely."
After first becoming his company's BOSS representative, he moved up in the program until recently taking on the role as president.
BOSS affords service members like Wolford with the opportunity to assist in planning and execution of recreational activities for other single service members and provides direction for those interested in performing military and civilian community service-related projects. Serving with BOSS can provide members with valuable experience, skills and a sense of community pride and ownership.
For more information about the program, call Kaiserslautern BOSS at DSN 541-9060/9058 or civilian 0611-143-541-9060/9058 or Baumholder BOSS at DSN 531-2912 or 0611-143-531-2912.