GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — The Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program, or BOSS, is located at 50 Gettysburg Avenue, Tower Barracks and originated in 1989 as a way to counter-balance the strong emphasis the Army placed on family-oriented programming, by giving single Soldiers a platform to address their needs.
BOSS serves all single Soldiers including other branches of the military, geographical bachelors, and foreign service members. There are 74 BOSS affiliates across the globe. BOSS operates directly under Family Moral and Welfare and Recreation, and each installation has a MWR advisor for BOSS.
BOSS impacts the lives of Soldiers serving in southern Germany by encouraging them to make the most of their time on foreign soil. The BOSS program strives to influence three areas that impact a Soldier: quality of life, recreation and leisure, and community service.
Quality of life issues include those aspects of military life a Soldier can influence to enhance their military experience, such as living environment, morale, healthy lifestyle choices or personal growth. BOSS also ensures that single Soldierss – no matter their rank – have a voice in decisions being made that affect their lives, which can help a person feel more empowered, according USAG Bavaria BOSS president, Spc. Robert Nava.
Hiking, dancing, zip lining and exploring medieval towns and local cuisine are some of the activities BOSS members are involved in. Members may also volunteer to help with BOSS events, according to Nava.
“We will never turn down volunteers,” Nava said.
Community service helps BOSS members find and participate in volunteer opportunities both on-post and in the local community. By encouraging Soldiers to become involved in the community where they are stationed, Soldiers may feel less isolated, and be able to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life people in need.
By volunteering on-post, Soldiers can directly influence the programs and outcomes at USAG Bavaria. BOSS members may volunteer individually or as a group. Members who contribute a significant amount of time may be eligible for group or individual recognition, according to BOSS literature.
Nava is committed to furthering BOSS’s mission, by increasing the involvement of as many Soldiers as possible. One way to do this is to help spread the word about BOSS’s mission.
Nava has direct access to the USAG Bavaria Garrison commander. Soldiers may speak to Nava and know he can contact the commander directly, and that they can have an anonymous voice and will be heard.
Spc. Kyle Gipson is USAG Bavaria BOSS Vice-President and works closely with Nava in developing new programs designed to help single Soldiers. He is also involved in informing newly-stationed Soldiers about the BOSS program. Gipson’s advice to new Soldiers is to get a passport and get involved.
Nava feels the most difficult aspect of the BOSS program is getting everyone together at the same time. With so many Soldiers serving across such a wide footprint, BOSS volunteers must work to offer many opportunities geared to the different interests of the Soldiers they serve.
Gipson feels the most difficult part of helping to administrate the BOSS program in Europe is relearning the BOSS program in light of the uniqueness of the European theater.
“BOSS is different in the States. Europe is much more challenging,” Gipson said.
Part of this is due to the dual nature of living in another country. The laws of both the United States and Germany must be taken into consideration when planning events or responding to the needs of members of BOSS. In addition, differences in language and culture can make communication more difficult than it would be in the U.S.
Giving Soldiers an opportunity to see Europe is the favorite part of the BOSS program for Nava.
“So many Soldiers tell me, this is an event I would attend more than once. People volunteer more than once.”
Nava said he would like to see more unit participation, with all ranks of the service involved.
Each unit has a BOSS representative, whose duties entail helping point interested service members to BOSS, and who can answer questions about the organization.
The phone number for BOSS is DSN 475-8822, CIV 09641-83-8822.