Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why is the Best Buddies Leadership Conference (BBLC) important?
A: Student and community leaders for Best Buddies commit to change the lives of people with and without disabilities. Best Buddies International is 100% dedicated to fulfilling all the commitments we make. The best way we have found to improve the odds of our chapters and community leaders fulfilling this commitment is by offering high quality personalized training.
Q: When and where is 2017 BBLC?
A: Best Buddies Leadership Conference is held annually at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Conference attendees use the campus facilities for trainings and events; attendees stay in the dorms on campus and participate in education forums and lectures in the campus classrooms and auditorium. This year, Leadership Conference will be held from July 21-24, 2017.
Q: Where do I register to attend conference?
A: Registration for the 28th Annual Best Buddies Leadership Conference available on the Best Buddies Online registration site. For more information on registration, please reach out to your Best Buddies staff contact.
Q: How much does it cost to attend LC?
A: College, high school, and promoter chapter presidents have the cost of their registration fee included with their chapter dues of $350, due on June 1, 2017. All other registrants are required to pay a $350 registration fee to attend BBLC*. Late registration fees will apply to anyone registering after the June 1st deadline. The conference registration fee covers your stay at Indiana University, meals throughout the conference, and events on campus. For more details please visit the Conference Fees webpage.
*The fee schedule above does not apply to international participants. For the international participant fee schedule, please contact Jennifer Allen at JenniferAllen@bestbuddies.org. Advisory board and walk committee chairs should refer to the state director regarding their cost for attending leadership conference.
Q: How am I going to get to Indiana?
A: All attendees are responsible for securing their travel arrangements to and from Indiana. All modes of transportation should be explored to find the most efficient and cost effective means to arrive at the conference. Your Best Buddies staff contact is available to assist you with booking your travel and has helpful travel resources available.
Q: When should I arrive in and depart from Indiana?
For information on arrival and departure parameters, please visit the Travel page.
Please consult with your program manager or other Best Buddies state staff contact prior to booking your flight or making other travel plans to confirm your approved departure time, as this is at the discretion of each state. You may be asked by your state Best Buddies staff to fly out later in the day in order to attend a state meeting on Monday morning.
Q: What if I am raising my travel costs through BBLC Online Fundraising?
A: Once you raise enough money to cover the cost of your travel, you will work with your Best Buddies staff contact to find and book your travel for you.
Q: If I use BBLC Online Fundraising or have a fundraiser with my chapter to secure my travel costs, what happens to any extra money raised?
A: Any extra funds raised will be used to support Best Buddies in your state or country. Your additional fundraising efforts can be used to help support another officer or chapter in your state/region to attend the conference. Funds cannot be carried over to cover costs for future conferences.
Q: If I am not using BBLC Online Fundraising, what do I do after I book my flight?
A: After booking your travel, you must send your travel itinerary to your Best Buddies staff contact within one week. This is to ensure you get picked up from the airport by Best Buddies staff and are transported by bus to Indiana University.
Q: How will I find Best Buddies staff and get to the conference once I land at the Indianapolis International Airport (IND)?
A: Best Buddies will have over 50 staff members and volunteers that will greet you at the airport in Indianapolis. Attendees are encouraged to wear Best Buddies apparel as this will identify you as a conference participant to our staff members and airport personnel. Staff will be waiting directly outside security to meet each flight. They will escort all participants from security to baggage claim and then onto one of our charter buses. The charter buses will bring our participants to the Indiana University campus, which is approximately one hour from the airport.
Q: Where do I park if I am driving myself to the conference?
A: If you are driving to Indiana University, you need to inform your Best Buddies staff contact upon registering for the conference. All attendees who will drive to leadership conference will receive a parking pass and campus map via e-mail from Best Buddies. Attendees’ cars, with the parking pass displayed, will be parked in a campus lot two blocks from the dormitory.
Q: What should I expect at the dorms?
A: Conference attendees will be staying at the Briscoe, McNutt and Foster Residence Quads. Best Buddies participants will be separated by program type (college, high school, or middle school) and by gender. Everyone will have a roommate, and most likely you will be rooming with someone from your state/region. Please note any exceptional rooming needs you may have on your registration form, and notify your Best Buddies staff contact as well to arrangements can be made in advance for your specific needs.
Q: What should I pack for my stay at conference?
A: Each student will be provided with a set of sheets, a pillow, a pillow case, and a towel. Please remember to bring a blanket as it is not provided and the rooms can get cold. The restrooms are communal and there are approximately three showers and bathroom stalls per every 10 rooms. We recommend you bring any additional comforts that will make your stay more pleasant. Some suggestions are: shower shoes, bathrobes, blankets, picture from home, alarm clock, and an iPod. Please note that the weather in Indiana is hot and humid during the day and can be cool at night. The Indiana University dorms and buildings are air-conditioned so blankets and jackets are highly advised.
Q: Where do we eat, and what do I do if I have a dietary concern?
A: All meals are served in the Gresham or McNutt dining halls or the Indiana Student Union and include a buffet where hot food options such as pizza, pasta, and usually a protein such as chicken or fish. There is also a salad bar area where students can create their own options. The dining services staff are able to accommodate special dietary needs. Please note your dietary restrictions on your registration form, and notify your Best Buddies staff contact as well to ensure meals can be prepared in advance for your specific needs.
Q: Will I need to bring any money?
A: There will be an official Best Buddies store that will sell a variety of items from our merchandise website, including limited edition items only sold at conference. Merchandise prices range from $0.50 to $50 per item.
Q: Who should I contact if I have questions about BBLC?
A: We encourage you to contact your Best Buddies staff contact or local state or regional office for questions about the conference. For more general conference information contact the Best Buddies Leadership Conference Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Can individuals besides the chapter president attend Best Buddies Leadership Conference (BBLC)?
A: Chapter leaders, in addition to the chapter president, are invited to attend BBLC. Training tracks created to meet the needs and goals of chapter officers, chapter advisors, and buddy ambassadors have been developed for these specific leadership roles. Details on these training tracks, and more information on the curriculum, is available in the training section.
Q: What are the costs?
A: The $350 chapter dues, which all college, high school, and promoter chapters are required to submit to the Best Buddies state office by June 1, 2017, covers the registration cost of the attending chapter president. Additional registrants, such as chapter officers, advisors, ambassadors, jobs participants, and middle school attendees, have a registration fee of $350*. These registration fees do not cover the cost of travel to Indiana University; attendees are responsible for these raising these travel costs additionally.
*Please visit the conference fees page for more information on late registration fees.
Q: How do I register?
A: Conference registration is available on the Best Buddies Leadership Conference registration site; the deadline to register is June 1, 2017. Each attendee must first select their registration type (general registration, board members, or conference staff); they will then will be prompted to select the specific track they will be attending (ambassadors, colleges, high schools, jobs, or middle schools). In addition to completing the registration, attendees must also complete their consent form which appears on the screen immediately following the registration form.
Q: When is the registration deadline?
A: All attendees must register no later than June 1, 2017. Attendees participating in the ambassador or jobs tracks will need to first complete an application for their training, which is due May 1; after the application has been approved, the ambassador or jobs track attendee must register by the deadline of June 1, 2017.
Q: What if I miss the registration and payment deadlines?
A: For the safety and logistical planning purposes of conference, registration will close on June 1, 2017. All interested attendees must meet this deadline and work closely with Best Buddies staff to ensure their registration is complete by this date. Any additional registrant who registers AFTER the June 1 will be responsible for a late registration fee; please visit the conference fees page for more information on late registration and fees.
Q: Will the attendee have to pay for travel to the conference?
A: Yes; Best Buddies asks conference attendees to cover the cost of their travel to the conference. Chapters are encouraged to work throughout the academic year to raise money to support the chapter leader’s attendance at BBLC.
Q: What resources to support fundraising efforts are offered to conference attendees?
A: All attending participants are encouraged to use the BBLC Fundraising Hub developed specifically to support BBLC attendees raise transportation funds needed for travel. This site allows participants to develop their own fundraising page to share their stories and email links to friends and family to solicit donations for BBLC.
The funds raised on BBLC Online Fundraising may not be applied to the chapter’s $350 dues, but can be used for additional registrants’ conference registration fees and toward all participant’s travel costs. Conference attendees with a FAF site should invite as many of their friends and family to share their BBLC Online Fundraising site to help in raising any needed travel funds. You can access the BBLC Online Fundraising site and get started on your own fundraising efforts by visiting the BBLC Fundraising Hub.
Q: Which middle school (MS) leaders are invited to attend Best Buddies Leadership Conference (BBLC)?
A: Any leader from a MS chapter is invited to attend; the training is specifically designed to be inclusive of each leader’s role and learning style. Chapter presidents, officers (including buddy directors), and advisors are encouraged to attend.
Q: Will advisors and MS officers receive the same training at BBLC?
A: No; in order to provide an independent leadership experience for MS attendees, MS students will participate in a very specific training designed to educate and empower their role as young leaders. Advisors that attend conference from a middle school will participate in a training designed for their leadership role with other Best Buddies advisors. There will be opportunities for advisors and MS students to engage in educational sessions together; however, for the majority of the conference, attendees will participate in specific training tracks developed to meet their specific needs and goals. All MS attendees will have opportunities to attend large-group sessions and learn with Best Buddies ambassadors and guest speakers.
Middle School Chaperones
Q: Do attending MS student leaders need a chaperone at BBLC?
A: All middle school registrants must attend LC with a chaperone. This chaperone must be an approved adult who is registered with the district as an administration or faculty member, or the student leader’s parent.
Q: Can multiple MS students have the same chaperone (i.e. can one teacher from the district travel with several student leaders)?
A: Yes; one adult may serve as the chaperone for up to three student leaders as long as the chaperone is approved by Best Buddies staff and understands their role and expectations as a chaperone. It is also necessary that the student leaders and chaperone travel to and from Indiana University together (either by car or on the same flight).
Q: What if our school would like to send a parent as a chaperone instead of an advisor; what will be their role at Leadership Conference?
A: All MS chaperones are encouraged to attend conference with a specific goal in mind to ensure they get the most out of their conference experience. It is encouraged that advisors attend as chaperones so that they may participate in specialized training designed for their leadership role.
If chapters choose to send a parent as a chaperone, parents must have a clear goal in mind as to how they would like to participate in conference. There are many volunteer opportunities, such as serving as a speech coach to attending buddy ambassadors or supporting conference logistics efforts. Like advisors, parents should not plan on attending MS sessions with their student leader in order to provide an independent training for students. Parents who wish to attend as chaperones should speak with their student’s Best Buddies program manager about volunteer options; if parents do not wish to volunteer, there are opportunities to explore Bloomington while their student leader is in education sessions.
Q: What is the role of the chaperone once MS attendees arrive at Indiana University?
A: The role of the MS chaperone is to ensure safety to and from conference as well as throughout the weekend at all meals and evening events for their student leaders. Chaperones should work closely with Best Buddies staff to identify the expectations and goals of their role at conference and how they will work together with Best Buddies staff to support MS attendee. There are several volunteer opportunities for chaperones to support the Leadership Conference while MS participants are in education sessions.
Logistics: Housing and Events
Q: Is there a registration fee for MS student leaders and chaperones to attend BBLC?
A: Yes; the registration fee for all MS attendees is $350. This fee covers a number of benefits including lodging, meals, trainings, and events for four days. Chaperones attending with the student leaders are responsible for a $350 registration fee. In addition, Best Buddies asks conference attendees to cover the cost of their travel to the conference. For more information on registration and travel policies, please visit the Registration and Travel pages.
Q: What are the housing accommodations for MS attendees and chaperones?
A: MS attendees and their chaperones will be housed in dorms on the Indiana University campus with the Best Buddies conference group. Best Buddies staff will be housed in the dorms and will be available on the floor with MS attendees, in addition to chaperones, to monitor students and host nightly meetings with MS participants. There will be one floor designated for middle school attendees and chaperones only; the students and chaperones on the MS floor will be housed in single rooms or suites that connect through a common area and shared bathroom. Student leaders will have one roommate; chaperones will have an adjoining room in the suite with a private door.
Q: What are the expectations of the chaperone in the dorms?
A: Chaperones will work in tandem with Best Buddies staff to ensure MS students are in their rooms by the nightly curfew and up and ready for breakfast and morning sessions. Best Buddies staff will be responsible for dorm floor meetings to discuss safety logistics and will perform nightly room checks; chaperones should be prepared to partner with Best Buddies staff in support of these safety procedures.
Q: What events are available for MS attendees to participate in during conference?
A: Middle school attendees will participate in the Best Buddies Opening Ceremonies with all global leaders upon arrival to the Indiana University campus on Friday. On Saturday night, after the day’s training sessions, high school and college leaders will attend events specifically designed for their age group; MS attendees will participate in events that cater to their interests and needs, such as group outings, pizza parties, movies and bowling. Chaperones should be prepared to assist with the oversight and management of MS attendee participation in these events, though Best Buddies staff will be responsible for planning and hosting these events.