Story and photo by Kerstin Lopez
Nearly 60 single Soldiers from across the Mountain Post gathered Tuesday to discuss issues during the Better Opportunity for Single Soldiers Army Family Action Plan conference at the Elkhorn Conference Center.
The annual BOSS AFAP event is designed to capture the concerns and issues of single Soldiers, geographical bachelors and single parents for inclusion in the upcoming installation AFAP, which will occur Sept. 7-9, said Sgt. Curtis Bartlett, installation BOSS president.
“Soldiers from many units were asked to participate so a cross-section of the single Soldier population is represented,” said Toni Savino, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation BOSS representative.
Some issues discussed during the event included dining facility food choices, maintenance of barracks, transportation on post, entertainment options and increasing security in barracks.
Savino said single Soldier issues can be diluted and overwhelmed by the numbers of married participants in the installation AFAP conference.
“What we’re doing … is ensuring the single Soldiers are heard by doing our own AFAP conference,” she said. “The single Soldier BOSS AFAP was started because a lot of the single Soldier issues that were brought up during the installation AFAPs were drowned out. This is our way of making sure single Soldiers are able to have a voice at the installation AFAP.”
The Soldiers discussed and agreed on five core concerns during the conference. The top five issues will be given to the installation AFAP coordinator to be included in the upcoming conference in September, while all other issues and concerns will be given to the appropriate division and garrison command sergeants major and directorates to be reviewed and responded to, Bartlett said. Along with the issues being presented, the Soldiers were also asked to come up with solutions or ideas on how to correct the problems they addressed.
“It’s always a process of coming up with solutions and recommendations because, honestly, the command wants to see options and ideas,” Bartlett said.
Pfc. Jordan McBride, Forward Support Company, 52nd Engineer Battalion, said some of the topics have been brought up in the past, but new recommendations are being presented. She said a big part of the conference is not just making complaints, but coming up with solutions.
“The biggest thing is if you have an issue, let’s talk about how we can fix it and not just sit in here and gripe and complain,” McBride said.
Spc. Austin Banks, 3rd Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, said it’s important for Soldiers to voice their opinion about quality-of-life issues that affect themselves and those they represent in the unit.
Top Five Issues
1. Dining Facility — request healthier food choices, portion limitations be removed and lines move quicker so there is adequate time to eat
2. Entertainment — request night club facilities similar to downtown Colorado Springs with extended hours, first-run movies on post
3. Barracks — request better security measures and quicker maintenance
4. Transportation — request on-post transit system and flat-rate taxi fees similar to other installations
5. Outdoor Recreation Center — request conflict of trip times and unit missions be resolved so Soldiers can participate