By Kayla Overton, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public AffairsDecember 22, 2009
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Quality of life, recreation and leisure, and community service are the three main pillars that make up the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) program.
BOSS programs assist single Soldiers in coping with the everyday rigors of military life and provide them with activities, supplies and support tailored to their needs.
"Of the recently redeployed 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, approximately 60 percent are single Soldiers; therefore, it is very important for our Soldiers to know that this program is here for them," said Matt Enoch, BOSS program advisor and manager of the Tropics Recreation Center.
The BOSS program is headquartered at the Tropics Recreation Center, a facility that has emerged as a template for the Soldier-preferred "Warrior Zone" entertainment center. BOSS hosts an assortment of events from fashion shows to game nights to parties at the facility, centrally located by C, D, E and F quads.
Regularly partnering with family readiness groups and local organizations, BOSS members collect and distribute welcome home packages to returning single Soldiers at every redeployment. The welcome baskets aim to make Soldiers more comfortable during their first few days home. The packages include basic toiletries, linens and food items that Soldiers don't necessarily have once redeploying.
"Providing amenities to our Soldiers is a great first step at welcoming home our Soldiers," said Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Williamson, senior enlisted adviser, BOSS. "These packages help make a Soldier's room a 'home' and not just a room with furniture."
Although making life a little bit easier for single Soldiers is a major aspect of what BOSSAca,!E+does, the organization works hard to give Soldiers something to do during their time off. BOSS regularly hosts hiking, scuba and paintball trips, and special holiday programs are held each year for Soldiers who are far from their families.
In addition to planning fun, BOSS coordinates volunteer opportunities on a quarterly basis for interested members. One of the Soldiers' favorite places to volunteer is the Fisher House, at Tripler Army Medical Center, which provides "a home away from home" for family members. The Fisher House allows family members to be close to a loved one during hospitalization for an illness, disease or injury, and BOSS representatives volunteer to spend time with residents at the Fisher House, added Enoch.
Across the Army, BOSS programs have partnered with the "I. A.M Strong" sexual abuse prevention campaign. The new peer-to-peer program empowers Soldiers to "Intervene, Act, and Motivate" to prevent sexual assault. BOSS programs help promote the campaign by helping to spread the message to other Soldiers.
In August 2009, U.S. ArmyAca,!E+Garrison-Hawaii's BOSSAca,!E+program took home two awards, second place for both Best Event and Best Installation, among garrisons with more than 10,000 Soldiers.
(Editor's Note: This article ran in the Hawaii Army Weekly's redeployment insert, which was published Nov. 20. To see the entire insert, click here. The insert starts on page 14.)