By Sara E. Martin, Army Flier Staff WriterAugust 30, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (August 30, 2012) -- Being a single Soldier at a new duty station in an unfamiliar region can be intimidating, but the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program on Fort Rucker provides events and trips for Soldiers to get involved.
BOSS builds morale for single Soldiers by providing recreational activities and community service opportunities, said Spc. Doris Johnson BOSS president, adding that single Soldiers are not required to participate in BOSS, but are encouraged to.
"BOSS gives Soldiers something to do without the Army having to worry about them going out and getting caught up in drugs or gangs and other foolishness, such as excessive drinking or attending wild parties off post," she said.
Any single Soldier, regardless of rank, Soldiers who are TDY away from their Families or single parents are welcome to join BOSS. Johnson added that single Department of the Army civilians are also welcome to join.
"Coming to a brand new unit in a new state can be exciting, but then once you get settled in most single Soldiers go, 'So, what is there to do here?' We pull Soldiers up out of their beds, get them out of their barracks and get them involved," said Johnson.
There are no fees to join BOSS and the program is based on participation only.
Keeping Soldiers in an environment where they can maintain their military bearing is the large purpose of BOSS, according to Johnson.
"Our three pillars are community service, recreation and quality of life. We go around with the purpose to improve the lives of single Soldiers in all aspects of their lives to promote success. We just recently provided new microwaves for all single Soldier barracks because some Soldiers were having issues with their microwaves not properly working," she said.
BOSS participates in events and programs that are orchestrated by other organizations on post.
"BOSS has helped out with a lot of Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation events. We get involved in events like the 'Sesame Street Experience', the Wounded Warrior program, the haunted house at the Fortenberry-Colton gym and Oktoberfest. We have another event with the Survivor Outreach Services and Hearts Apart where we take the children that are a part of those programs fishing and have a barbeque. We also often go out to veteran homes and listen to their military stories, and we go to the animal shelter and host pet washes for the animals there," said Johnson.
"And just because we do a lot of volunteer work, it doesn't mean that members have to participate in everything. They can volunteer as much or as little as they want," she added.
Helping single Soldiers live a fuller life is something that Johnson said can be done with something as simple as painting a wall at one of the schools.
"It not only betters the community, but motivates single Soldiers to lead, be unit representatives or counselor members. BOSS can help them in becoming better Soldiers," she said.
There are incentives that are associated with being in BOSS that directly benefit Soldier's quality of life, and Johnson says that it can also help them grow as a Soldier.
"BOSS participation can help a Soldier achieve the volunteer service medal award and DFMWR subsidizes a lot of events that take place on post, like dueling pianos and comedy night, to encourage single Soldiers to get out and enjoy post living," said Johnson.
BOSS takes several trips a year, including trips to the beach and to major cities.
"We take a lot of fun trips. We have gone to Atlanta, where we stayed in a five-star hotel, to Panama City Beach for spring break and have gone on cruises," said the BOSS president.
This year's cruise will take members to the Bahamas, and Johnson encourages Soldiers to join so they can partake in the trip.
"We will go on a five-day cruise to the Bahamas. We will provide transportation and subsidize the cost for the participating Soldiers. The cruise this year after subsidization will be $160 per person. Soldiers will also get permissive TDY, so they don't have to use their own leave," she said.
The price of trips also depends on a Soldier's amount of volunteerism.
"If they volunteer then they receive volunteer hours and those hours will cut down the price of a trip. The more Soldiers volunteer with BOSS, the more money Soldiers can get subsidized for future trips we take," said Johnson.
The BOSS building, which recently underwent major renovations, will reopen Oct. 5.
"We got new carpet, computers and furniture," said Johnson. "We put more TVs in the facility and made the building a more welcome place for Soldiers to come and chill," she added.
The facility has a kitchen, a theater room and a common area where Soldiers can play a variety of video games on different consoles, surf the Internet and, according to Johnson, play competitive games like foosball, darts and pool.
Johnson encourages all single Soldiers to break out of their normal routines and be more active in the community.
"You don't want to be a barracks rat. Getting out, meeting new people and going to new places is good for everyone. Come out and see what we are all about," she said.
BOSS meetings are currently held every Wednesday at 4 p.m. at the post library. Soldiers can join by visiting the DFMWR or Spc. Johnson in room 385 in Bldg. 5700.