HEIDELBERG, Germany - The year of 2010 was notable for the U.S. Army Garrison Baden-Wurttemberg Better Opportunity for Single Soldiers program, and nowhere is that more evident than in the national recognition of the BOSS programs in all three communities.
Heidelberg and Kaiserslautern's programs won the Presidential Volunteer Gold Service Awards and Mannheim won the Silver Service Award.
In addition, Heidelberg won first place in the Installation Management Command-Europe competition for best BOSS installation program and first place for best BOSS event.
Community service is defined as voluntarily participating in community programs or projects that make a difference in the lives of others, in the community and ultimately in the volunteers themselves.
The Heidelberg BOSS program clocked in more than 2,000 volunteer hours in 2010.
Throughout the year, Heidelberg BOSS program was involved at locations such as Frankfurt, area schools, Landstuhl and the German Englisches Institut Grundschule.
"Single Soldiers get involved with community service through BOSS in order to help others, but they are also helping themselves," said Spc. William Perkins, BOSS President.
The Heidelberg BOSS Incentive Program recognizes those who make a commitment to volunteer in the community.
The program is tiered to motivate Soldiers to volunteer to achieve awards ranging from BOSS coins to Army Achievement Medals to a Meritorious Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.
"While there were many outstanding events through the year, a few stand out as truly exemplary community service opportunities," Perkins said.
One was Make A Difference Day when soldiers traveled to the Kinderfeld Children's Cemetery in Frankfurt. They cleaned the graves of the children lost to service members years ago.
"Make a Difference Day is different from all our other community service events because these are headstones of family members of Soldiers who paved the way for us young Soldiers today. They deserve nothing less," said Spc. Andrea Robinson of the Heidelberg Medical and Dental Activity.
Another event brought a class of young German students to Tompkins Barracks to spend the day on team-building exercises and to experience the ropes course tower. "I really enjoyed the chance to be there and get the children involved in the ropes course. I could tell the children had a lot of fun. I hope to have more programs similar to this in 2011," Pfc. Albert Hutson said.
"2010 was a milestone year and 2011 will be just as great. Look for events geared towards Germans, such as helping out at a special needs institute, spending time at a retirement center, volunteering at homeless shelters, and spending the day at the local children's cancer foundation," Perkins said.
One of the ways to enhance the morale of Soldiers is to provide recreation and leisure programs.Paint balling, skydiving, scuba diving, snowboarding and skiing were some recreation events made possible by BOSS.
Throughout 2010, Heidelberg BOSS organized more than 35 recreation events to 10 countries in Europe.
The largest excursion was the annual escape to Lloret de Mar, Spain, which took Soldiers to the beaches of Spain as well the cobblestone streets of Barcelona. BOSS also enjoyed a trip to Normandy, France, during the D-Day anniversary. Other visits included Italy, Belgium, Ireland and Switzerland.
Partnerships with Family and MWR, Heidelberg Outdoor Recreation and United European Airline "Great Days Out Bus Tours" made the experiences possible.
Planned trips for 2011 are to Egypt, Denmark, Poland and Switzerland.