By Fort Sill Tribune staffAugust 31, 2018
FORT SILL, Oklahoma (Aug. 31, 2018) -- Fort Sill's Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers held its annual Single Soldiers Day Aug. 24, at Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area here.
Over 200 single service members of all ranks and their guests participated in free activities that ranged from music to volleyball to archery to watercraft sports, and virtually everything else LETRA has to offer.
A traditional picnic fare was also served; and a hot wings eating contest was new for this year.
"I had fun," said Pfc. Donny Rogers, 69th Forward Support Company, who attended his first BOSS event with some of his co-workers. "If you're a single Soldier and you're new here you should probably come to these events to meet people. I've actually met a couple people."
BOSS president Sgt. Zachary Rogers said the four-hour event was designed to build camaraderie, and boost resiliency and morale.
"I think it's awesome anytime Soldiers can break away for the normal work day and go and enjoy time together, and build relationships," Rogers said. "BOSS fosters a community that Soldiers can rely on. It's a good way to get plugged in, rather than sitting around the barracks."
Recreation and leisure activities and programs are just one of the three pillars of BOSS, Rogers said. It also promotes community service, and addresses quality-of-life concerns of single Soldiers.
About 60 BOSS representatives at every level (battery, battalion, and brigade) inform single Soldiers about its programs, and are available to hear quality-of-life issues. There are about 1,400 single, permanent-party Soldiers and geographic bachelors here, Rogers said.
Spc. Terry Grigg, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 75th Field Artillery Brigade, is his brigade's BOSS rep.
He said some of the quality-of-life concerns he hears involve heating and air conditioning in the barracks. BOSS then works with the garrison to ensure such issues get resolved.
BOSS is receptive to Soldiers' ideas about what recreational activities they want to do. "I tell them BOSS is here for you," Grigg said.
Grigg said he also promotes becoming a BOSS rep because it opens up opportunities for Soldiers. Boss reps work with leaders who see that they are taking on another responsibility, and taking care of Soldiers.
"They see this Soldier went above and beyond," Grigg said.
There are also leadership positions within BOSS to be filled such as vice president, secretary, and treasurer, Rogers said. Subcommittees plan each event.
BOSS partnered with Fort Sill Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation for the Single Soldiers Day, said Tenille Russell, LETRA manager.
"It's going great, everyone is having a good time," she said.
Every Wednesday BOSS volunteers at the Lawton animal shelter at 4 p.m. It also plans to partner with the Lawton-Fort Sill Veterans Center soon.
"Only 30 percent of the veterans have family who regularly visit them," Rogers said.
BOSS meets the first and third Tuesdays of every month at the Fort Sill USO Center at 3 p.m.
"We normally spend about an hour there discussing new events, addressing quality-of-life issues," Rogers said.
A shuttle service was available to get to the Single Soldier Day, but many chose to drive their cars, including Pfc. Joe Estrada, 75th Field Artillery Brigade. It was the first time he attended a BOSS activity. He said he took advantage of the recumbent tricycles, the hamburgers and hot dogs, and listening to the music.
"It was a good day," he said.
Upcoming BOSS events include an auto skills class in September. A future BOSS camping trip to a national park out west will include wilderness survival training.
To learn more about BOSS, Soldiers can talk to their unit BOSS reps, and visit FaceBook's Fort Sill BOSS for upcoming activities.