Uniting Leaders at annual Best Buddies Leadership Conference
On July 22nd, more than 100 participants from Best Buddies Illinois traveled to Bloomington, Indiana to join over 2,300 student leaders from around the world for the 27th Annual Best Buddies Leadership Conference. The weekend offered leaders an opportunity to come together to learn how to further the mission of Best Buddies and collaborate with other likeminded individuals about how to propel social change.
This year’s theme was “All In” for Best Buddies emphasizing our commitment to one-to-one friendships, leadership development, and integrated employment. From opening ceremonies to final farewells, our students and Jobs participants embraced the opportunity to learn, network, and build lasting friendships.
A highlight of the weekend was opening ceremonies where excitement was ignited with performances by Lisa Smith, Marlana VanHoose, and Brittany Maier – all of whom are Best Buddies supporters and individuals with IDD. The next two days, students spent time learning from speakers, staff and peers about how to strengthen local chapters and friendships, increase fundraising efforts, and brainstorm ways to spread the Best Buddies mission.
Another exciting part of the weekend was the Best Buddies Friendship Walk where Stevenson High School and Illinois State University were recognized for raising over $10,000 for their local walk events.
As the conference came to an end, the excitement and enthusiasm continued to grow. Our students left Indiana prepared to use their talents and leadership skills to motivate their chapters to reach their full potential. We look forward to watching our student leaders embrace the mission and create a more inclusive community!