Area I’s Boss program thriving
CAMP RED CLOUD – Area I leaders are encouraging single and unaccompanied Soldiers, including KATUSAs, to make the most of the Area I BOSS program, which offers them a broad array of recreation and community volunteerism opportunities as well as a chance to voice suggestions on quality-of-life matters.
BOSS, or Better Opportunities for Single (and unaccompanied) Soldiers, serves Soldiers at Camps Casey, Hovey, Stanley and Red Cloud.
BOSS organizers keep up a steady offering of activities and events and see more than 1,000 Soldiers take part each year.
“One of the aspects of BOSS is taking them out, showing them the community, it gets them involved in all the activities Korea has to offer,” said Command Sgt. Michael L. Hatfield, the U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud and Area I’s senior enlisted leader.
Area I BOSS hosts sports competitions, beach trips, ski trips, mountain hikes, visits to points of historical and cultural interest, chances to do charitable volunteer work, and such thrill-seeking challenges as bungee jumping, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, zip-lines, and All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) rides.
“We average about nine events in a month,” said Sally S. Hall, Area I’s BOSS advisor. “So we keep very busy.”
In July, for example, BOSS arranged a trip to Korea’s internationally famous Boryeong Mud Festival. Soldiers paid $140, a sum that covered hotel, transportation, and an English-speaking guide.
In June, BOSS took 80 Soldiers hiking the scenic slopes of Area I’s Soyo Mountain, known by its Korean name as Soyosan. They took on the challenge of climbing Soyosan’s second-highest peak, and got a look at nearby Buddhist monasteries.
Also in June, BOSS took 169 Soldiers to the annual BOSS Beach Blast at Daecheon Beach in Korea’s South Chungcheong Province. Along with a chance to swim in the Yellow Sea, BOSS organizers set up other fun activities: limbo, hula hoop, tug-of-war, and a watermelon-eating contest, among others.
Each of Area I’s BOSS Councils – at Casey, Stanley and Red Cloud – have one or two trips each weekend, said Hatfield.
Program organizers also keep a focus on building good relations with the local Korean community, a major emphasis of the BOSS program.
For the past year BOSS volunteers have been teaching weekly English classes to members of the Korean community, usually at a local library. But BOSS volunteers have also taught English at local schools and universities.
“The students have been improving every week,” said Staff Sgt. Gheorghe Banaduc, Area I BOSS coordinator. “We started the year with four students and now we have 10 that attend regularly.”
And BOSS volunteers help out at a soup kitchen set up at Ganeung Station in Uijeongbu that feeds about 300 members of the Korean community, according to Hall.
In addition, BOSS volunteers give their time at some of the garrison’s biggest annual community recreational events, including the Independence Day celebration and Labor Day Festival.
Another critical element of the BOSS program is that it affords Soldiers a chance to bring to the attention of the senior enlisted leader their suggestions and concerns, Hatfield said.
Members of the Area I BOSS Council provide leaders at USAG Red Cloud and Area I with weekly reports on Soldiers’ quality-of-life concerns.
Those suggestions or questions may be about fitness facilities, cable television, or other matters that bear on Soldier quality of life, Hatfield said.
As senior enlisted leader, Hatfield can then take steps to see that to the extent possible those needs are met.
Besides the good it does in building good relations with the Korean community and giving Soldiers a voice, Area I’s BOSS program can also make their Korea tour fun, broadening, and memorable, Hatfield said.
“Our calendar is packed,” said Hatfield. “If there’s something that you want in the community, bring it up to a BOSS member. They know an avenue to go out and find another activity. You want to go snowboarding? C’mon. We gotchya. You want to go bungee jumping? We got anything you want to do. I really do think Area I has the best BOSS program in the Army.”