Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers members float down the Edisto River during one of the BOSS program outings, June 24. Transportation to and from the river as well as floats were provided for participants. (Courtesy photo)

BOSS provides opportunities for single service members

By Emily Hileman, Fort Jackson Public Affairs


Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program creates opportunities for single Soldiers, single Soldiers with children, geographic bachelor(ette)s, and even single service members of sister branches at Fort Jackson.

For many, joining the military was their first taste of freedom, leaving their hometowns, friends and Families behind for better opportunities such as careers only available to service members and education opportunities.

However, it can also create a sense of isolation and loneliness that many had never experienced prior to joining the military and moving away from the only lives they knew. The BOSS program aims to reduce those components and create a sense of community.

“It starts with the single service members,” said Staff Sgt. Andy Navos, Fort Jackson BOSS president. “Whether you’re a single service member, single parent or geo bachelor. It’s made to get everyone out of the barracks and more involved.”

The BOSS Program was founded in 1989 to respond to the recreational needs of single service members, who make up 35% of the Army.

BOSS also assists to the growing need for suicide prevention, equal opportunity concerns and sexual harassments and assault incidents that single service members may encounter throughout their careers.

“Soldier suicides are a major concern for senior leaders in the Army,” said Fort Jackson Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Cesar Duran. “And the BOSS program is one tool we use to help single Soldiers and service members socialize, get involved, and have fellowship with others and give them a sense of community.”

The activities and events the BOSS program participates in are based on their four pillars of Quality of Life, Community Service, Recreation and Leisure and Life Skills.

BOSS provides opportunities throughout the year for service members to get involved in their community and volunteer in a variety of ways. BOSS members volunteer their time and resources to assist with blood, food and clothing drives on Fort Jackson as well as helping with various on post events such as the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation run series.

Volunteers are always needed and hours can be recorded and can be used to obtain the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, said Duran. Service members at Fort Jackson only need 200 hours for the year to receive the award.

“There’s a little bit of intentional gray area for what is considered a life skill,” said Duran. “Here we look at it as anything a Soldier may need to get through life and those ideas and skills vary from service member to service member.”

“They’ve held cooking classes to teach how to cook healthier in the barracks, wilderness classes and they’re going deep-sea fishing at the end of the month,” Duran added.

Both single parents and geo bachelors might feel that because they have children or they’re married, they can’t attend, but the BOSS program knows they’re isolated and welcomes them.

“We even hold events where single parents can bring their children like bowling at Century Lanes and the upcoming trip to the Eudora Safari Park in Salley, South Carolina,” Navas said.

Although some of the activities such as the safari park and deep-sea fishing, both upcoming events this month, sound expensive, Alec Stoess a recreation assistant and BOSS advisor for the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation said their events are cost effective.

“If you were to do a paint and sip event off post, you’d probably pay between $50-70, but BOSS was able to host the event, provide all materials and even food for $10 per person,” Stoess said. “Deep-sea fishing would normally be about $100, and we’re able to work together to pro-vide it for $35 per person.”

“Every senior leader on Fort Jackson is required to support the BOSS program,” said Duran. “Because it’s not just a ‘check the block’ type of program. People have to be invested in the program as participants and leaders.”

BOSS provides opportunities for all four pillars several times each month. Upcoming activities this month are:

• Eudora Safari Park - Sept. 16

• Conceal Carry Class - Sept 22

• Food Drive at the Fort Jackson Fire Department - Sept. 28-29

Those interested in participating in any of the BOSS activities are encouraged to call (803) 629-9781 or email them at