FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The Fort Rucker Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program won the Army’s Best Installation honors for the third year in a row.

“The competition for the award was between 15 and 20 small installations. It would have been four years in a row, but we got second place in 2008,” said Cpl. Bradley Nolte, BOSS president. “We had over 17 community service events.”

BOSS programs are judged in five categories: extra small, small, medium, large and extra large, Nolte explained.

“It’s based on the number of single Soldiers on the installation. We have around 700 single Soldiers so we fall under the small category,” he said. “A lot of dedicated single Soldiers come out to almost every event and put in countless hours. For our size installation, we compare with an extra large installation based on the amount of community service hours.”

But it’s not all work and no play at BOSS, Nolte said, adding that the fun events, trips and cookouts are really a good way to build camaraderie that makes the volunteer outings more enjoyable.

“If you just have Soldiers come out and work all the time, eventually nobody will come back,” Nolte said. “Also, when a single Soldier participates in a volunteer project, it earns them points toward BOSS covering more of the cost of the trips and fun events.”

Being a part of the award-winning program is easy, Nolte said.

“The best way to get involved with BOSS is to come to a meeting,” he said. “Meetings are where we talk and plan events, discuss quality of life and get to know single Soldiers.”

Usually, 10 to 15 Soldiers show up at meetings, and Nolte would like to see more.

“Everyone is encouraged to put their opinions in, and the council votes on what events we will do,” he said.

BOSS meetings are every Wednesday from 4-5 p.m., he said, adding that “if people can’t make it to a meeting, they can call me and I’ll give them any information they would like.”

He said that out of around 700 single Soldiers on Fort Rucker, only about 200 participate regularly in the BOSS program.

“BOSS is for the single Soldiers " everyone should come out and try it,” Nolte added.

BOSS is open to Soldiers that are at Fort Rucker for training, but he says there are rules against Advanced Individual Training Soldiers mingling with Soldiers stationed at Fort Rucker.

“But anyone from E-1 to general who is single is a BOSS Soldier,” he said.

He encourages single AIT Soldiers to find BOSS at their first duty station.

BOSS is not exclusively for single Soldiers, Nolte said.

“Anybody can volunteer with the program: married, single, civilians. But when it comes to recreation trips like the cruise we went on last year, BOSS offers reduced rates to single Soldiers,” he said.

BOSS is also about the quality of life for single Soldiers.

“We have between eight and 12 quality of life issues a year. They range from how the trees are growing in the parking lots to the building of a recreation center near the barracks,” he said, adding that the new recreation center has a movie theater, game stations and pool tables. “It’s a work in progress, but a lot of Soldiers use it.”

BOSS’ next event is a Foam Party July 16 at Mother Rucker’s.

“It’s basically a party with a foam machine, like you would see at spring break,” Nolte said. “We are going to have a DJ. There will be a big tent behind Mother Rucker’s for the foam and sound system, and there will be games and food. It’s for anybody that happens to be at Mother Rucker’s, but I’m hoping single Soldiers will show up to participate.”

In addition to the Foam Party, a trip to Atlanta and a cruise to the Caribbean are just over the horizon.

For more on BOSS, call Nolte at 255-9018 or 379-4594.