Sgt. Douglas Winter
Family and MWR Marketing Division
Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers hosts a quality of life conference every year to enhance service members’ well-being and to help improve their time and experience in the 10th Mountain Division (LI).
BOSS Executive Council members, 115 BOSS representatives from all brigades, Fort Drum Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Geddings and several subject-matter experts gathered April 2 and 3 at the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton to tackle some of the major issues facing single Soldiers on post.
Michelle Roden, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation BOSS adviser, said she felt the location was a great choice for this conference.
“The Antique Boat Museum is a large supporter of Fort Drum, and holding this conference there gives our single Soldiers an opportunity to get off the installation and be visible to the Clayton community," Roden said.
Like the Fort Drum Army Family Action Plan Conference, the annual BOSS Conference divides Soldier delegates into five working groups, with each assigned to work a different topic. As a group, delegates identify and prioritize Soldier issues and suggest a solution on how to resolve the problem or better enhance the quality of life within the Fort Drum community.
Members of the BOSS Executive Council decided the major topics that affect single Fort Drum Soldiers are single Soldier housing, dining facilities, personnel education, Soldier sponsorship and Sexual Harassment / Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP). The Executive Council chose these topics bearing in mind that these were the most sensitive and broadest range of services on Fort Drum.
On Day 1, Soldiers in each of the focus groups gathered to get to know each other and to receive an introduction to the AFAP-style conference. BOSS representatives then started prioritizing and tackling the scope of the chosen issues in the respective topics.
Day 2 of the BOSS Conference began a bit differently. Soldiers traveled to the conference site a little earlier than the previous day and gathered under the Fort Drum BOSS 5K Archway to enjoy a scenic fun run through downtown Clayton. Command sergeants major from many Fort Drum units also attended the 5K fun run to show support for their Soldiers and the BOSS program.
After the fun run, the BOSS delegates returned to their working groups to finalize their issues and prepare for their briefing to the Fort Drum command group.
Organizing a huge event like this can be difficult, but once it has begun, other challenges arise.
"Making sure Soldiers stay on topic and coming up with a solution to the issues is one of the most difficult challenges of a conference like this," said Spc. Michelle Holland, BOSS president.
In the afternoon, each group’s representative gave recommendations to Col. Gary A. Rosenberg, Fort Drum garrison commander.
Unit command sergeants major and first sergeants also were present to hear what issues and recommendations had been decided. After the briefing, command sergeants majors gave their feedback on what they could do to participate in those recommendations.
At the outbriefing, Geddings announced that each of the issues and the solution status will be discussed at the monthly BOSS meetings.
The annual BOSS Conference is designed to enable single Soldiers on Fort Drum to have a voice in their daily needs and an outlet to resolve issues. This yearly conference allows each Soldier’s voice be heard to make a change. One of the BOSS Programs pillars is quality of life, and once again, the BOSS Program has done its part to help Soldiers improve their experience within the Fort Drum community.
To get involved with the BOSS Program or to help out single Soldiers, individuals can attend the BOSS meetings held at 1 p.m. on the first Monday of each month at the BOSS center located at 2190 Nash Blvd. For more information, contact the BOSS Program at 772-7807.