FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- If you are a single Soldier on post, you need to be taking advantage of the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program, if you have not already done so.

The BOSS program not only has a positive effect on its participants, but it affects the surrounding community because of the numerous community service events and projects that BOSS carries out each year. The program is run by single Soldiers to serve the needs of single Soldiers. There are three components to the program: recreational activities, quality of life and community service.

The BOSS program got its start in 1989 to address the recreational needs of single Soldiers between the ages of 18 and 25, a demographic that makes up 35 percent of the Army. The program was subsequently expanded after members expressed an interest to participate in community service.

Our BOSS participants have built a lot of camaraderie while taking trips to Myrtle Beach, Six Flags and Savannah. They also have numerous activities and get-togethers on post, and FMWR deserves a lot of credit in making many of the activities happen. The events can be planned in conjunction with FMWR activities or solely by the BOSS council. Soldiers assume the primary role in planning the events, but FMWR coordinates them through its BOSS adviser.

On Fort Jackson, there are approximately 900 single Soldiers, so we need to make sure that their issues and concerns are heard and addressed. The fact that BOSS offers single Soldiers a platform to voice their concerns to senior leadership is of paramount importance. BOSS holds meetings twice a month on the first and third Wednesdays. At those meetings, Soldiers have an opportunity to raise their issues -- regardless of how small they might seem to others. Our leaders have shown great support for BOSS, which tells the Soldiers that they care and that their welfare and morale are important.

Just last month, Command Sgt. Maj. Benson and I attended a BOSS meeting, where Soldiers shared their issues with us along with the garrison command team, and it was an enlightening experience. Some specific items from single Soldiers that gained attention included snack machines in the barracks, locks on the laundry room in the community center, and Internet and cable provider services for the barracks.

Additionally, our BOSS program has an extremely positive effect on the greater Columbia area through its support of community service events and projects. Some of the most recent projects included food and clothing drives, Adopt-a-School, and assistance with the Exceptional Family Member Program talent show.

It's evident that we have an outstanding BOSS program on post, yet I am told that one of the greatest challenges that we face is getting Soldiers involved in it. I am not sure if I understand that. I would think that single Soldiers would be lined up to participate in a program such as this.

Fort Jackson BOSS president, Sgt. Jessica Garrett, puts it this way:

"BOSS is so vital to the single Soldiers because it truly is Soldiers helping Soldiers and helping to make their community a better place."

I concur wholeheartedly. If you're not involved, check it out.

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