About Better Opportunities For Single Soldiers
Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) is a program that helps commanders address the well-being and morale issues of the single and unaccompanied soldiers in their units. It is one of more than 200 Army morale, welfare, and recreation programs delivered by the US Army Community and Family Support Center, a headquarters Department of the Army agency.
Established in 1989 as a balance to the emphasis on increased family-oriented programming, installation BOSS programs are governed by Army Regulation 215-1, Morale, Welfare and Recreation Activities and Nonappropriated Fund Instrumentalities, and Department of the Army Circular 608-01-01, Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers Program. Designed to provide a “voice” for single soldiers, BOSS has three key components: well-being, community service, and recreation/leisure activities.
BOSS has programs at 48 installations in the continental US and 47 installations outside the US. Each installation has an MWR advisor for BOSS programs, who is in the Directorate of Community [and Family] Activities (DCA or DCFA). An elected committee or council of soldier representatives from installation units operate the BOSS program; the command sergeant major approves the committee members who serve for one year. Upon being elected or appointed, BOSS representatives are placed on additional duty orders and are expected to be at all BOSS meetings when the unit mission does not dictate otherwise.
Committee members coordinate single soldier activities and events that fall within two key components of the program: community service and recreation/ leisure activities. They also gather input on well-being issues, input which is worked to resolution at the lowest command level. Empowered with this responsibility, single soldiers feel more respected and bonded into the “Army of One.” Likewise soldiers see that their voice counts and they are heard on issues that affect their well-being.
BOSS representatives must brief their chain-of-command before any program is implemented at the installation. With the aid of the MWR advisor, the soldier representative plans and executes events in tandem with the mission of the command. BOSS works in conjunction with other MWR programs such as entertainment, recreation centers, or outdoor recreation activities. BOSS soldiers assume a lead role in planning special BOSS events that meet the needs and desires of the single soldiers on that installation. BOSS councils have sponsored events such as soldier talent competitions, concerts, dances, and trips.
BOSS further encourages and assists single soldiers in identifying and participating in community service and volunteer opportunities. BOSS representatives contribute to their communities by serving in post organizations and on various councils, such as the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), dining facilities, health promotion, MWR, barracks, Defense Commissary Agency, and Army Family Action Plan.
BOSS members plan and execute community service projects with national programs such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, Adopt-a-Highway and Special Olympics. BOSS representatives coordinate partnerships with recruiters to take delayed entry program recruits on tours of an installation. They have also initiated programs, such as BOSS Against Drunk Drivers (BADD) and Adopt-a-Soldier, that address commanders’ concerns about soldier isolation during holiday periods. BOSS soldiers also support installation programs by volunteering with Child and Youth Services. By partnering with the Army Community Service Installation Volunteer Coordinator, BOSS ensures all soldier volunteer hours are documented, giving soldiers valuable experience for future referrals.