CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea -- The U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program earned the title of best large installation BOSS program for 2021 from Installation Management Command (IMCOM) Pacific in October.
The IMCOM-Pacific competition rated performance based on the BOSS program’s community service, quality of life, life skills, and virtual and social distancing programming from August 2020 to September 2021. The Camp Humphreys program earned a near-perfect score across all areas.
“It’s pretty amazing to receive this particular award, especially in Korea, since the program here is focused on single Soldiers and geo bachelors,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Benjamin Lemon, the U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys senior enlisted advisor. “To be the best in the Pacific fills me with pride, just to know I am part of a program which is helping people 8,000 miles away from the life they are accustomed to. The two junior Soldiers along with Mr. [Lorenzo] Ranches are amazing. They take care of 15,000 people at any given time. It is really a testament to the dedication and leadership they show.”
The Camp Humphreys team distinguished itself across the three pillars of the BOSS program: quality of life, recreation and leisure, and community service.
“We’re all about bringing Soldiers together,” said Spc. Ian Holmes, the U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys BOSS president and member of Headquarters and Headquarters Company. “We try to put on as many events that are going to bring people together, allow them to meet new friends, get them out of the barracks, be able to get them more of a social life here in Korea.”
Along with trips and activities, the BOSS program teaches both traditional and recreational life skills to encourage Soldiers to get out and enjoy life to the fullest.
“We see the skill as something that is functional, such as cooking, woodworking or three-dimensional printing,” said Holmes, an Athens, Georgia, native. “On top of those, we consider other life skills as rec and leisure activities you can do for the rest of your life.”
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BOSS program could not host in-person events, but still needed to support the single and unaccompanied Soldiers of Camp Humphreys.
“We got creative. We made virtual life skill videos, how-to videos, posted them on our Facebook page and our YouTube page for anyone to see,” said Holmes.
Some topics the program covered included how to set up an “I love me” book, how to put together a dress uniform, how to read a Leave and Earnings Statement, and how to read a Soldier Record Brief, Holmes added. The videos all provided important instruction for junior enlisted Soldiers to learn. This virtual effort was one of the areas that elevated the Humphreys BOSS program above the competition.
“The other thing that set us apart was the inclusion cup. It was a year-long event competition at brigade level,” said Holmes. “We do team events, and like our haunted house event, the most volunteers win. It’s everyone from the installation coming together to make an event happen.”
The BOSS team prides itself on making things happen with the community and for the community. This includes getting Soldiers and their Families off the installation and into the surrounding Korean community.
“We have an event where we go out into the Ville and clean up. This is where a lot of accompanied Soldiers and their Families get involved,” said Holmes. “We also work with Pyeongtaek International Exchange Foundation. They take our BOSS representatives on tours through Korea, exploring museums, food and entertainment. We record them and post them on Facebook.”
The BOSS team’s social media and video production efforts earned particular praise from IMCOM-Pacific. Another area that gained Holmes and the team the attention of senior leaders was their efforts to support the Army’s Equal Opportunity and Sexual Harassment and Assault Prevention Programs.
“For three months we walked around post identifying down streetlights and dark spots which are considered a point of risk,” explained Holmes. “Dark spots are areas where if someone were to get injured or attacked no one would see them.”
Lt. Gen. Willard M. Burleson, the Eighth Army commanding general, recognized Holmes with a SHARP Hero award for his work.
“They put the work orders to the forefront as a priority work through. It helped a lot,” said Lemon. “We identified some areas on the Sentry Village side, where Soldiers go to hang. There was absolutely no lighting, so we were able to get some lighting put around that area so Soldiers feel safer as they walk through at night.”
Innovative initiatives and a community-focused drive were key to the program’s success.
“To hear about them and what they do consistently is what separates them,” said Spc. Dominique Crittenden, an active BOSS participant from 20th Public Affairs Detachment, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, Eighth Army. “It is how they go about channeling all those different avenues to reach out. They have the band app, Facebook, they are working on an Instagram page, and they never stop trying to engage the Soldiers and the Families.”
The Humphreys BOSS program has built an active and welcoming community that feels like a second home, added Crittenden.
“Being part of Humphreys BOSS program is like being part of one big, winning family,” said Crittenden.
The Humphreys BOSS program supports single Soldiers and geographical bachelors stationed at Camp Humphreys. There are two representatives from each brigade advocating for their respective community to create a more enjoyable and memorable tour of duty.