Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers hosted their annual Single Soldiers Festival Friday at Hood Stadium. 

The festival had free pizza, beverages, more than 15 different games and activities, prizes and food trucks. Smart TVs, Fitbits, jerseys and portable speakers were also given away.

“The purpose of today’s event is to get Soldiers to know about BOSS,” Spc. Zackary Smiley, BOSS president, said. “The opportunities that we have – the events that we do and also just to get them out of the barracks, get them away from work for the day, give them a chance to relax, and meet Soldiers from other units.”

The BOSS program is built off of three pillars: enhancing quality of life, community service and recreation and leisure. It not only provides opportunities to network and travel, but the program gives single Soldiers a sense of pride in their community.

“Also, we provide community service opportunities so that we can give back to Fort Hood and the community around us, which give the Soldiers a feeling of accomplishment,” Smiley said.

Smiley shared that the BOSS program has greatly enhanced his quality of life.

“Before I joined the BOSS program, I would literally just go back to my barracks every day and eat pizza and play video games. That’s what I did for about eight months straight and I got really fat – got up to like 280 pounds” Smiley said. “Then, I started getting involved with BOSS, I started to go to the activities, go on the trips, I started to meet people and I started to get active.”

Smiley said being alone in the barracks can be depressing for single Soldiers, who are usually between the ages of 18 and 27. Originally from Arkansas, Smiley knows the challenge of moving away from home at a young age, and trying to make new friends. As the BOSS President, Smiley’s goal is for every unit on Fort Hood to have a BOSS representative.

“The biggest thing we are trying to do right now, is trying to make sure that every single unit on post has a BOSS representative, so that the information that we have and all the events that we have, are being pushed out to every single Soldier on post,” Smiley said. “So right now, I know that we have some units that don’t have representatives, so those single Soldiers don’t get the information that we have.”

Spc. William Johnson, the BOSS representative for Special Troops Battalion, 1st Cavalry Sustainment Brigade, said when he got to his unit, there was not a BOSS representative.

“As soon as I heard word of it, I wanted to make sure that everyone else knew what it was, to help all my other fellow single Soldiers actually get out of work and do fun things instead of being stuck in the barracks,” Johnson said.

Johnson noted that even off duty he enjoys volunteering his time to help out the program.

“That’s how much I like BOSS. I’ve been on leave since the third, and I’m still doing all this stuff,” Johnson said. “It’s my leave and I do what I like on my time and this is something I like.”

Johnson said he has made a lot of friends through the BOSS program.

“I like that it has given me the opportunity to speak to different ranking officials,” Johnson said. “I’ve gotten to know the other Soldiers who are out there and it gives me some more leadership experience.”

BOSS representatives are liaisons between the BOSS program and the units.

“You just need to recognize the importance of having a BOSS representative because the BOSS program helps with all kinds of things, to include the resiliency of our troops and that’s another tool to put in the kit bag for all of our units to help in that aspect,” Command Sgt. Major Adam Nash, senior enlisted advisor for Task Force Phantom, said.

Nash said that he came out to the event to show the BOSS program some support.

“I just came out today because one, I wanted to make sure that we had good support from our single Soldiers, units were affording these Soldiers to come out and enjoy themselves,” Nash said, “and also I just wanted to thank some our sponsors, especially everybody that’s wrapped around the BOSS program for support and putting this event together.”

Nash, and more than 3,500 single Soldiers attended the festival.

“The BOSS program is one of my top priorities. I was honored today to see the Fort Hood BOSS program provide ‘quality of life’ to our single Soldiers with this spectacular event,” Command Sgt. Maj. Byron Larsen, Fort Hood garrison command sergeant major, said. “We had 3,525 single Soldiers attend. This is why our team is the best BOSS program in the Department of the Army.”

For more information about the BOSS program, follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FortHoodBOSSProgram/.