BOSS helps soldiers learn, cope and adapt – Fort Carson Mountaineer

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FORT CARSON, Colo. – Fort Carson’s Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) has partnered with the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare, and Outdoor Recreation to teach Soldiers rock climbing skills during a BOSS class this summer. (Courtesy picture)

By Scott Prater

mountaineer staff
FORT CARSON, Colo. – Soldiers from Fort Carson maneuver through a ropes course at the U.S. Air Force Academy during a BOSS (Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers) course this summer.  (Courtesy picture)

FORT CARSON, Colo. – Soldiers from Fort Carson maneuver through a ropes course at the U.S. Air Force Academy during a BOSS (Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers) course this summer. (Courtesy picture)

FORT CARSON, Colo. — A group of young single soldiers recently returned from a weekend camping trip. The weekend before, they had been rafting in the canyons of the Arkansas River. Last winter of 2021, they swept down some of Colorado’s most scenic ski runs.

These are the scenarios that many people envision when they think of Fort Carson’s Better Opportunities For Single Soldiers activities – social events, fun and games, and lots of relaxation. What people don’t realize, however, is that these same soldiers are also learning valuable skills through the BOSS program.

Prior to 2016, the Army-wide program was structured around three main areas: quality of life, recreation and community services. But in 2016, the Office of the Secretary of Defense added a fourth pillar to the organization’s mission: life skills. It may seem like a trivial addition, but it’s crucial, according to Staff Sgt. Governor Y Hurtado.

Hurtado, a single father, started participating in BOSS activities a few years ago and was so impressed with the program that he sought a leadership position within the organization. He took over as President of BOSS of Fort Carson last April and is now focused on helping produce more impactful programming.

“The problem for some soldiers is that they don’t feel like they belong on the weekends,” he said. “Let’s take for example the soldier who works from Monday to Friday and who finds it difficult to adapt to military life. On weekends, he or she may go back to their room and question their career decision. The army is not what they expected. They thought they wanted to be a soldier, but now they doubt themselves. Well, we’re working to make sure those military don’t go that route. We want them to come to us, decompress, socialize, connect; learn more about Colorado and the region.”

FORT CARSON, Colo. – Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) of Fort Carson learn cooking tips and tricks at a BOSS-sponsored cooking class this summer.  (Courtesy picture)

FORT CARSON, Colo. – Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) of Fort Carson learn cooking tips and tricks at a BOSS-sponsored cooking class this summer. (Courtesy picture)

He explained that BOSS staff and participants strive to help fellow soldiers avoid feelings of isolation, loneliness and depression.

“It’s important because come Monday, that member can go back to his unit ready to work because over the weekend he was distracted…in a healthy way,” he said. .

Likewise, the program’s focus on life skills helps soldiers learn valuable new abilities. Fort Carson BOSS program administrator Gia Gillote-Taylor said the program partners with incumbent organizations like Army Community Service, to offer finance courses, while also partnering with the Automotive Skills Center. of Fort Carson to provide instruction on car maintenance and repair.

“We have partnered with a local culinary organization and now offer cooking classes, specifically tailored to single soldiers,” she said. “We also have a military family life consultant who teaches a variety of classes on relationships, coping strategies, and other resilience-type concepts.”

FORT CARSON, Colo. – Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) students learn automotive repair and maintenance techniques during a course at the Auto Skills Center in January 2022. (Photo courtesy)

FORT CARSON, Colo. – Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) students learn automotive repair and maintenance techniques during a course at the Auto Skills Center in January 2022. (Photo courtesy)

Even when it comes to the recreational aspect of the program, the facilitators strive to include a learning aspect in their activities. BOSS soldiers learned to scuba dive in open water, for example. They’ll complete class work at the HUB, use the pool at the Ivy Fitness Center for training, and then take a trip to New Mexico to earn their open-water diving certifications.

“Learning life skills is crucial,” Hurtado said. “Let’s say, for example, that a soldier considers a career in the army, but changes his mind after four years. They can learn these life skills through BOSS and be better prepared for civilian life. In my case, I didn’t know how much fun working on cars was until I took the auto repair course through BOSS at the Auto Skills Center. Now it’s a real passion for me and maybe I could pursue a career in auto mechanics.

To learn more about BOSS programs and activities, call 719-524-0126 or visit https://carson.armymwr.com/, click on the recreation tab and select BOSS.

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