Bonding with BOSS: Program promotes meaningful connections

| November 7, 2014 | 0 Comments
The Hawaii BOSS program supports single Soldiers by offering opportunities for recreation and leisure, volunteering and improving quality of life. So far this year, Soldiers participating in the program have gone skydiving, toured Kualoa Ranch where scenes from the television show “Lost,” were filmed, volunteered at Hale Kula Elementary School and helped Habitat for Humanity. (Photos courtesy BOSS)

The Hawaii BOSS program supports single Soldiers by offering opportunities for recreation and leisure, volunteering and improving quality of life. So far this year, Soldiers participating in the program have gone skydiving, toured Kualoa Ranch where scenes from the television show “Lost,” were filmed, volunteered at Hale Kula Elementary School and helped Habitat for Humanity. (Photos courtesy BOSS)

Karen A. Iwamoto
Staff Writer
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — For many Soldiers new to Oahu, everything is unfamiliar and change can be overwhelming.

These issues can be compounded for single Soldiers, Soldiers who are not stationed with their families, and single Soldiers who are also single parents.

Some do not have the support and familiarity of a spouse and family to get them through their first days in a new environment. The inclination may be to stick to the barracks and withdraw socially, or to participate in activities that are ultimately unhealthy or dangerous.

BOSS is an alternative
The Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) program was created in 1989 to respond to the needs of single Soldiers between the ages of 18 and 25 by providing opportunities for recreation, volunteering and improving quality of life.

BOSS Soldiers volunteer for Habitat for Humanity on Aug. 30.

BOSS Soldiers volunteer for Habitat for Humanity on Aug. 30.

Soldiers who have participated in Hawaii’s BOSS program recently have gone skydiving, taken a sunset catamaran cruise, ridden dirt bikes through Kualoa Ranch and scuba dived with sharks, all while meeting and befriending Soldiers from other units and backgrounds.

“It was my first time skydiving. I had a fear of heights, so I was kind of nervous about it,” recalled Spc. Victor O’Donnell, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, of his excursion to Skydive Hawaii. “But the BOSS rep who was there reassured me, and I was able to do it. It was something I accomplished, and I can be proud of.

“Now, I can pass that feeling on to someone else,” he added, explaining that he is his battalion’s representative for the Hawaii BOSS program, which means he helps to coordinate activities for the Hawaii BOSS program.

While O’Donnell said he was drawn mostly to the recreational aspects of BOSS, the feeling of accomplishment and the desire to pass it on that he described indicates that skydiving may have been a means to something deeper and more fulfilling: building lasting relationships that matter.

Quality of life support
To that end, Hawaii BOSS supports single Soldiers in ways that go beyond field trips and outdoor adventuring. If a Soldier has trouble resolving a housing issue, she can reach out to BOSS for support.

Spc. Kelsey Miller, president of Hawaii BOSS, described just such a scenario.

A Soldier in the barracks was having trouble with his air-conditioning unit, and BOSS was able to help facilitate a resolution within two days.

“This program is about way more than just going out and having fun,” she said, adding that more Soldiers sign up to volunteer through BOSS than to participate in recreational outings.

Through volunteering, Soldiers can make lasting positive impressions on the organizations they help.

Case in point, Mike Kim, athletics director at Fort Shafter, needed volunteer umpires for a garrison­wide softball game at Schofield Barracks on Oct. 10. The game was part of a week of activities celebrating the birthday of the 25th ID, and the umpires he had scheduled couldn’t make it. He had less than 24 hours to find replacements.

BOSS Soldiers volunteer at Hale Kula Elementary's annual Cardboard Challenge, Oct. 3. They helped students build instruments, catapults and cars out of cardboard. (Photo by Spc. Kelsey Miller, Hawaii BOSS President)

BOSS Soldiers volunteer at Hale Kula Elementary’s annual Cardboard Challenge, Oct. 3. They helped students build instruments, catapults and cars out of cardboard. (Photo by Spc. Kelsey Miller, Hawaii BOSS President)

He emailed Hawaii BOSS, and he said, “They did a miracle for me.”
The BOSS Soldiers showed up, stepped up and the game went on as scheduled.

“They took a lot of heat from some of the softball teams because they didn’t agree with some of the calls (the BOSS volunteers) made,” Kim said. “But, man, they took it like champs. They stood by the calls they made, and they didn’t back down. It was awesome.

“I only wish I had contacted them sooner, but now I know I can depend on them.”

BOSS Meetings
Single Soldiers are encouraged to attend BOSS meetings every Wednesday of the month to discuss community service projects and fun upcoming programs.
Get involved and make a difference.
Schofield Barracks meetings are 3 p.m. at Tropics, every first and third Wednesday of the month.
Fort Shafter/Aliamanu Military Reservation meetings are 10 a.m. at the Fort Shafter Bowling Center, every second and fourth Wednesday of the month.
Call 655-1130 and visit www.himwr.com/recreation-and-leisure/boss.

Hawaii BOSS November Events
Nov. 13 – Line dancing, 6:30-9 p.m., at Tropics Recreation Center, Schofield
Nov. 22 – Paintball, 9:30 a.m., at Hawaii All-Star Paintball, 2475 N. Nimitz Hwy.
Nov. 27 – Line dancing, 6:30-9 p.m., at Tropics Recreation Center, Schofield
Nov. 29 – Comedy Night, 7:30 p.m., at Hale Koa, Waikiki. (Shuttle from Schofield and Fort Shafter leaves at 6 p.m.)

Hawaii BOSS December Events
Dec. 2 – Tree lighting, 5 p.m., at Schofield Barracks
Dec. 4 – Tree lighting, 5 p.m., at Fort Shafter
Dec. 5 – Tree lighting, 5 p.m., at Tripler Army Medical Center
Dec. 10 – BOSS Car Wash, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., at Schofield Barracks
Dec. 11 – Line dancing, 6:30-9 p.m., at Tropics Recreation Center, Schofield
Dec. 16 – Wakeboarding, time and place TBA
Dec. 18 – Line dancing, 6:30-9 p.m., at Tropics Recreation Center, Schofield
Dec. 20 – Single Soldier Holiday Party, starts 6 p.m., at Tropics Recreation Center, Schofield

BOSS Soldiers meet at Schofield’s Tropics, 4-7 p.m., every Sunday, for volunteering opportunities. For more information and to participate, call 808-655-1130.

BOSS Soldiers tour Kualoa Ranch, recently, and got to visit places where scenes from the television series  “Lost” and the movie “Jurassic Park”were filmed. (Photo by Spc. Kelsey Miller, Hawaii BOSS President)

BOSS Soldiers tour Kualoa Ranch, recently, and got to visit places where scenes from the television series “Lost” and the movie “Jurassic Park”were filmed. (Photo by Spc. Kelsey Miller, Hawaii BOSS President)

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Category: Community, Community Relations, Single Soldiers

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