News: BOSS changes name to reflect all-service member program
Story by Sgt. Mark Miranda
JOINT BASE LEWIS McCHORD, Wash. - Strapped into the globe-shaped cage, and initially standing upright, Spc. Jennifer Humphreys grinned from ear-to-ear as the ride operator spun the frame around.
“Whoa - oh, this is really cool!” Humphreys shouted as the gyrosphere took her for a dizzying ride that flipped, rolled and twisted her while suspended in the center as her friends watched, amused.
A few yards away, a crowd comprised mostly of soldiers with a few sailors, airmen and Marines cheered on as a Bungee Bull managed to topple its rider in less than eight seconds courtesy of four service members pulling on the suspension ropes.
Across the field, stage performers filled Cowan stadium with music.
More than a dozen attractions entertained over a thousand service members at Joint Base Lewis-McChord during the Single Service Member Day events at Memorial and Cowan Stadiums July 14.
The Better Opportunities for Single Service Members Program at JBLM, recently recognized as “Best in the Army,” organized the event.
The JBLM BOSS organization is the first to extend the program to members of other service branches stationed here.
“It’s going to be a base-dependant guideline; aside from us here at JBLM, the option was extended to [Fort Wainwright] Alaska,” said Spc. Monique Miranda, president of the JBLM BOSS Program.
“The key reason we decided to go and tie the two programs together was to reflect the joint nature of the installation. This is equally both programs that were in place at Lewis and McChord. The Air Force is completely welcome to all the Army’s BOSS programs and events,” said Miranda.
The BOSS programs are built on what it calls their Core Pillars: quality of life, community service, and recreation/leisure.
The Air Force has organized dorm councils to address many of their quality-of-life issues. They’re currently beginning to structure programs for BOSS.
“We’re really excited to kick things off and organize events ourselves, such as our upcoming rodeo. We had a bus for airmen here at McChord who wanted to go to Fort Lewis to take part in Single Service Member Day. This is very new to us, so it’s really exciting,” said Air Force Staff Sgt. Michelle Welp.
Welp aided in the organization of McChord Base’s program. Sixteen units there each have two representatives promoting BOSS to approximately 3,000 airmen.
“What we’re trying to do with BOSS is to take away some of the connotations the program has had in the past. We’re not an organization that holds events that are babysat or supervised. Everyone that gets involved is active duty; you’re not talking to someone who can’t relate,” said Miranda.
The Single Service Member Day is the biggest event the JBLM BOSS program organizes. This year featured host and Baywatch actress Traci Bingham, recording artist Somaya Reece, American Idol’s Jessica Sierra and freestyle sport bike rider Aaron Colton.
The event is one of the ways BOSS promotes its program, which participates in projects that give back to the surrounding community.
“We’re always looking for volunteers. Aside from the recreation events, we like to promote community service. Some of the volunteer programs we get involved in include Boy Scouts, the Headstone Volunteer Project, and Veterans Home Visits,” said Miranda.
“We want to give soldiers the opportunity to reach out to their community. We track volunteer hours with Volunteer Information Management System,” said Miranda.
Through VIP: Volunteer Incentive Program, BOSS logs those volunteer hours. At 200 hours, soldiers can earn the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, which is worth promotion points.
“Through BOSS, soldiers have the opportunity to speak up on barracks, DFAC – any quality of life issues. It’s a way for soldiers to take part in their own progression where we empower them with a voice,” said Miranda.