Spc. Lourdes Santiago became president of Fort Leonard Wood’s Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program in July. She is using her personal experience as a single Soldier to improve the program at Fort Leonard Wood.
Spc. Lourdes Santiago became president of Fort Leonard Wood’s Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program in July. She is using her personal experience as a single Soldier to improve the program at Fort Leonard Wood. (Photo Credit: Amanda Sullivan, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — The Fort Leonard Wood Better Opportunity for Single Soldiers program has a new president, and she wants the community to know more about the benefits of the program. BOSS is designed to help single service members of all branches, single parents and geo-bachelors – a service member stationed here without their family – to meet new people and learn valuable life skills.

As a single parent from Puerto Rico, BOSS President Spc. Lourdes Santiago knows how challenging it can be to make friends and learn about the local community at a new duty station – Fort Leonard Wood is her first – and she wants to make that transition easier for her brothers and sisters in arms.

“I want all the single servicemembers, all the single parents and all the geo-bachelors to know they are welcome to be part of the program,” she said. “What I want for BOSS is for them to know we have activities available to get out and meet people, have fun and learn basic life skills.”

Since taking on the role in July, Santiago has worked to organize many free events, including paintball, golf lessons and auto skills classes, as well as town halls to discuss BOSS with senior leaders, Spanish classes and mock boards, where Soldiers can practice and increase their chances of promotion.

Fort Leonard Wood Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Danny Castleberry, who oversees the program here, said the mission is to continue to make Fort Leonard Wood somewhere Soldiers want to be.

“The commanding general’s vision for Fort Leonard Wood is to make it the ‘assignment of choice,’” he said. “The BOSS Program is one of these opportunities and our responsibility is to make it a program Soldiers and leaders want to be a part of. Life skills events, like the concealed carry course and auto craft skills classes; volunteer opportunities that help strengthen the relationship between Fort Leonard Wood and local communities; and good old-fashioned fun like paintball, haunted houses and St. Louis Cardinals baseball games provide options for Soldiers to choose their own adventure for a better quality of life.”

In addition to Santiago, many Fort Leonard Wood units have BOSS representatives. Spc. Leslie Baca serves the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 5th Engineer Battalion. Like Santiago, Fort Leonard Wood is Baca’s first duty station, and the BOSS program has helped her get out and meet people, she said.

“The BOSS program has helped me get more involved with the community,” Baca said. “I’ve helped with the animal shelter and different volunteer activities and got to know Missouri a little better. If you’re a single Soldier, and you’re not from Missouri, (the program) helps you just get out of the barracks and learn your surroundings.”

The program hosted a free auto skills class this month, where attendees learned to rotate their tires and change their oil – something Baca said was beneficial to her.

“I didn’t know anything about cars, and they taught me how to change my tires and oil,” she said. “(The class) was helpful in expanding my overall knowledge.”

Santiago said BOSS still has plenty of events scheduled throughout the rest of the year, including a town hall event beginning at 1 p.m. Oct. 14 at the Main Post Chapel. During the event, Soldiers will have the opportunity to ask Castleberry and Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood Command Sgt. Maj. Randolph Delapena about the BOSS program and today’s Army.

Other upcoming BOSS events include:

-         Golf lessons, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Piney Valley Golf Course.

-         BOSS meeting, 3:30 to 4 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation conference room in Bldg. 709, Room 1129.

-         BOSS meeting, 3:30 to 4 p.m. Oct. 20 at the FMWR conference room in Bldg. 709, Room 1129.

-         Haunted house, 7 to 9:30 p.m. Oct. 21-22 and Oct. 28-29. This event is open to anyone with access to Fort Leonard Wood and is appropriate for ages 10 and up. Cost is $2 per person. All proceeds go to the BOSS program.

-         Mock board, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Nov. 2 at the FMWR conference room in Bldg. 709, Room 1129.

-         MixxedFit, 10 to 11 a.m. Nov. 3 at Davidson Fitness Center. Cost is $2 per person.

-         BOSS meeting, 3:30 to 4 p.m. Nov. 3 at the FMWR conference room in Bldg. 709, Room 1129.

-         Spanish class, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Nov. 12 at the FMWR conference room in Bldg. 709, Room 1129.

-         BOSS meeting, 3:30 to 4 p.m. Nov. 17 at the FMWR conference room in Bldg. 709, Room 1129.

There is no rank requirement to participate in the BOSS program, Baca said, and she hopes to see more participation in the future, thanks to some of the newly implemented activities.

“Find out who your BOSS unit representative is and learn more about the events and get involved with the volunteer opportunities and see Missouri,” she said.

For more information about the BOSS program, email the BOSS president at lourdes.m.santiago-mulero.mil@army.mil.