It’s the voice of single Soldiers, whether they be unmarried, a single parent or just one separated from their Families..
Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers, or more commonly known as BOSS, is not just a program to help those individual unmarried Soldiers in the barracks – it helps others too, like single parents and those geographical separated from their loved ones.
BOSS is aimed at enhancing the morale and welfare of single Soldiers, increase retention and sustain combat readiness. It is aimed at being “the collective voice of single Soldiers through the chain of command” where it helps commanders gauge the quality of life issues of single Soldiers.
Fort Jackson’s BOSS program is trying hard to change the image and enhance the program on post.
Some people just “think like you’re a single it doesn’t include single parents,” said Sgt. Malinda Crummitt, vice president of Jackson’s BOSS program. “They’re not considering the (geographic) bachelors and those bachelors aren’t considering themselves single because they are married – but they are separated from their spouse.”
The program isn’t rank specific either.
“It can be officers too,” she added relaying how they just talked to a sergeant major, and single parent, who is interested in being a part of the program.
One problem the program runs into is getting the word about upcoming events. BOSS general counsel meetings take place at 1:30 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month. Most information about the BOSS program is put out through brigade and battalion unit representatives, but they use social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to spread the message’s reach.
It’s not like we “just mentioned (the events) to some people,” said Staff Sgt. Andrew Navas, the BOSS public affairs representative. “We have all these other channels we use so everybody can keep tracking.”
Their social media presence started out small, but “we have slowly been getting more followers, more people that see it on social media,” Navas added.
The program has gone a “super long way” Crummitt said, “to developing a decent, fun-filled program …”
That program has recently included a concealed weapons permit class and CrossFit physical training. The BOSS team is gearing up for a paintball battle with Fort Gordon in July.
Event planning and publicity goes out further with the Fort Jackson program due to the special nature of the on-post population. The post being made up of a transient military population with the primary permanent party being drill sergeants who are on hectic schedules. Drill sergeants working around a cycle or schedule posed a unique problem.
“So, the biggest part of fighting that is just trying push stuff out as far as possible, so they can put in a pass or coordinate with their sections” to get the time off to attend the functions, she said.
Some drill sergeants can’t be faulted for just wanting to go home and relax when they have a day off.
“It’s not their fault if they don’t want to spend the day doing something with BOSS, but it will be a great help to them, because that day they probably will have a lot of fun.
They have been coming up with a program with a variety of events, not just entertainment or recreational events.
“We don’t just do recreation and leisure, we do community service as well,” Crummitt said. Crummitt knows about community service. She was recently named Fort Jackson’s Active Duty Volunteer of the Year. “We also come up with life skills events, and quality of life. “
This aligns the program with three BOSS core components of quality of life, recreation and leisure and community service.
“If there are any issues, we are voice of single Soldiers,” Crummitt added, noting the issues are addressed at the lower level before being addressed to the garrison command team who oversee the program.
“Let your voices be heard,” Crummitt said to Fort Jackson’s single Soldiers. “If you want video games let us know … Just let you voice be heard and let us know what it is that you want to do. We will do our very best to put it in place ... Let us be the voice for you.”
The BOSS 2nd Annual Battle of the Bases Paintball Tournament pitting Fort Jackson against Fort Gordon, Georgia will take place July 8. To join the fun day of camaraderie, see a unit BOSS representative or visit BOSS’ social media accounts.