FORT LEE, Va. (April 15, 2010) – Members of the Fort Lee Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program may find themselves the focus of a national television audience on Friday.
About 40 installation Soldiers will be seated in the studio audience for a live taping of the “106th and Park” music video show that broadcasts on the Black Entertainment Television network.
BOSS, an Army-wide advocate organization that seeks to improve single Soldiers’ quality of life, participates in leisure and recreational activities and community service projects.
Cpl. Rojelio Taylor, the BOSS president, said the trip to BET studios in New York was planned months ago as a leisure outing and later, an offering of gratitude to members who have logged hundreds of volunteer hours to support community projects.
“It’s one of our biggest trips,” said the 148th Quartermaster Company, 240th QM Battalion, 49th QM Group Soldier. “This trip is basically me saying ‘thank you’ for all the people who volunteered for the various events we have been involved with.”
Since the beginning of the year, Taylor said BOSS program members have logged more than 1,500 hours helping out various installation activities and organizations on post.
As members of the “106th and Park” studio audience, BOSS participants get the opportunity to spread the word about the organization. Taylor said BOSS members will sport T-shirts with the distinctive BOSS logos and will have a shot at getting interviewed by the roaming show hosts.
“I just want to inspire people,” said Taylor, “to let them know that there are various other outlets for doing things in the military.”
Once the show is concluded, Soldiers will have free time to visit the Big Apple’s famous points of interest, go shopping and dine at restaurants, said Taylor. Roughly 10 Soldiers assigned to Fort Hamilton, N.Y., will join them. The group will return Saturday.
“I’m hoping everyone enjoys their time in New York for the few days they are there,” said Taylor.
The BOSS leisure trips won’t end with New York. Taylor said he is pursuing a trip to Miami – specifically South Beach – later in the spring.
“It’s going to be just a fun trip,” said Taylor. “We’ll barbecue, enjoy the people, enjoy the different cultures and different foods.”
Taylor said the trips don’t cost Soldiers anything; the rooms and transportation are funded.
“All they have to do is bring food and clothes, have a good time, and be open-minded about having a good time,” said Taylor.
Around the end of May, BOSS members will show its serious side about a serious subject. They will stage a play at the Fort Lee Theater to educate the community on sexual harassment/sexual assault.
“We will put together various scenes (on sexual assault/sexual harassment prevention); things that happen in the Army but we’re going to show it from a Soldier’s perspective rather than an NCO’s or officer’s,” said Taylor.
The BOSS play is part of a larger initiative, called “I.A.M Strong,” emphasized by the Army leadership to deal with a somewhat persistent problem.
Other BOSS projects include a trip to one of the Veterans Affairs hospitals, one that aims to help those who have served and to learn about their sacrifices.
“That’ll be an opportunity to learn about our history,” said Taylor. “I think that will help us understand why we’re here and why we’re at war.”
Taylor said he is actively seeking to increase Soldiers’ participation in BOSS. Unit deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan and Haiti have made that a difficult endeavor. However, he said he is open to ideas from potential participants and is exploring new ways to enrich participation. One of those is a summer concert series based on the “American Idol” television show.
“We’re going to ask Soldiers to come out, participate and compete,” said Taylor. “The winner gets to perform in a summer concert series.”
Taylor said the series will also feature Soldiers who performed in the Soldier’s Show and the “I.A.M. Strong” tour.