BOSS program gives reasons to get involved
From those who wear the uniform to family members they support, the Army has a longstanding tradition of taking care of its own through a variety of programs and services. Better Opportunities for Single Service members is one such program.
BOSS was founded in 1989 as a means to support overall quality of life for single Soldiers. And although it was established by the Department of the Army, the program is open to all single service members and their families.
Each installation has its own Soldier-led, garrison-managed chapter and unique opportunities, but they all support the same mission: enhance morale and welfare of single service members, increase retention, and sustain combat readiness. Accomplishing those missions is largely dependent on Soldier participation, and at Fort Gordon, the program’s leadership would like to see more of it.
“One of the biggest challenges we have is Soldiers don’t know that we’re here,” said Spc. Altovise Howard, BOSS president.
The BOSS Headquarters is in Building 36708, behind the Courtyard, and serves as an escape of sorts for service members looking to relax, study, watch movies, shoot a game of pool, or simply bask in quiet.
The building is spacious and equipped with amenities including two pool tables, a movie room cable-ready with reclining seats, large flat screen TVs, individual screens for gaming systems, and a sound room where service members can connect electronics and project music throughout the building. There is also a bar area, drink machine, popcorn machine, microwave, and walk-in refrigerator for units to store food prior to an event.
“I think it’s an awesome location for Soldiers,” Howard said. “It’s a nice escape especially for Soldiers living in barracks where space is hard to come by.”
More importantly, BOSS serves as a tool for addressing many issues the Army faces today by way of its three core components: quality of life, community service, and recreation and leisure activities.
Under quality of life, service members can bring up concerns that affect everyday life such as living quarters, dining facilities, and medical care.
“As long as they have spoken to their chain of command first, and submitted a work order (where applicable) they can request additional assistance from us,” Howard explained.
With community service, service members can volunteer in an array of programs and projects including Habit for Humanity, Youth Challenge Academy, and race events on and off the installation.
“During the Masters Tournament, we have BOSS members out on the course volunteering in various areas, and we also have members out supporting the Augusta Half Marathon,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Charlie Bryant Jr., Fort Gordon Garrison command sergeant major and BOSS senior enlisted advisor. “We are closely connected to our community.”
Bryant and Howard would like to see service members involved in all aspects of BOSS, but recreation and leisure activities is where they tend to have the most influence. One example is a St. Patrick’s Day weekend trip to Savannah the program’s council is planning. The idea came up from a service member attending a recent meeting.
“In order for these trips to happen and programs to continue, they have to participate and bring ideas to the table,” Howard said.
BOSS also has a life skills program that offers service members opportunities to learn how to cook in a barracks setting, perform preventive maintenance on personal vehicles and other life enhancing topics.
“We have great events for all service members, but participation is extremely low,” Bryant said. “I would like for everyone who thinks that the BOSS program is uninspiring and boring to just give it a try.”
BOSS conducts meetings every Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at its headquarters. All ranks are encouraged to attend and provide input on the program.
The headquarters building is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Wednesday through Friday from 5 to 9 p.m., Saturday from noon to 7 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
To learn more about upcoming events, attend a meeting, stop by the BOSS Headquarters, or visit www.facebook.com/fortgordonboss.