Best Buddies takes Spring trip

In late April, 25 participants in the Colby Best Buddies program took a trip to a Portland Sea Dogs game. The event marked the final “big” outing of the year for volunteers and their friends.

The campus organization is part of Best Buddies International, a nonprofit organization “dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” according to its website. The organization was founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver and has been a consistently popular mode of community service on campus for many years.

Program leader Lily Holland ’15 said in an email that there are about 40 students who regularly participate in the program, and “dedication and reliability” are the most important qualities in a volunteer. Since Best Buddies is fundamentally about creating strong relationships, Holland noted “the more time that buddy pairs spend together, the closer they will be.”

Another program leader, Sarah Boland ’15, said that students are encouraged to see their buddy at least once a week.
Seven Colby students and three staff members from Quarry Road, where the buddies live, joined 15 buddies to the Sea Dogs game. While the 25 attendees made for a large group outing, Holland said logistics were not hard to plan. “We don’t even buy the tickets in advance because it’s so early in the season…[and] it went smoothly.” There was also a significant amount of assistance from the Quarry Road staff in transporting the group, and they “wouldn’t have been able to do it without their help.”

The game appealed to both the sports lovers and food lovers of the group, who enjoyed their annual fix of fried dough. Some of the highlights included Slugger, the team’s mascot, trekking up the bleachers to give each buddy a hug, and also when a Quarry Road buddy caught a foul ball and gave it to the “biggest sports fan of the group.”

The Best Buddies program is expected to continue its legacy of enriching students’ time on the Hill and providing guidance for their buddies. Holland cites leaving her buddy as “one of the hardest things about graduating Colby.”

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