Providing quality training that can help you advance our mission of inclusion and friendship is paramount to our organization. We understand that our volunteers are the catalyst for impact around the globe, and without effective, clear tools to help you achieve our mission, the success of our work is challenged.
We hope that you find the trainings provided by Best Buddies International to be thoughtful, engaging, and supportive in guiding your work as a leader for this mission. Our priority is to ensure all involved participants feel empowered and prepared to partake in our mission and contribute to a world that is more accepting and understanding.
Here are some trainings we hope will support you on your journey to making the world a more inclusive place for all:
Global Volunteer Training
The Best Buddies Global Volunteer Training (GVT) provides all participating chapter members the opportunity to gather, learn, and discuss what it means to be involved in Best Buddies and what to expect when they join. The goal of this training is to introduce members to our language, goals, and opportunities. It also addresses ways to resolve any challenges members might face when being matched in the Best Buddies program. It’s a fun, fast way to guarantee all members in your chapter understand what Best Buddies is all about; that is why we recommend all volunteers join the chapter leadership team in this training before becoming a member.
As a leader, we want you to run this training. It is especially good practice to have the Special Education Advisor or Host Site Coordinator involved in leading this training, as well. When sharing this training with volunteers, two videos will explain the program and best practices. A supplemental facilitation guide will help you in leading an engaging conversation around the themes of the videos. Here are the resources for the training:
Video: What to expect when you join Best Buddies
Video: Que esperar de Best Buddies
Video: How to be the Best Best Buddy
Documents and Downloads
Global Volunteer Training
Local Leadership Training Day
Kicking off your school year with a great team of empowered leaders is the first step to success. We think it’s important to provide all the chapter officers and advisors the opportunity to connect, learn best practices, and understand the tools that are available to them as leaders.
There are many ways this can happen:
- You can attend a regional training in your area to connect leaders in the state. Agendas and materials are available for this day-long training. This training may be led by staff or a lead volunteer. This setting provides a fantastic environment for networking, problem solving, and friendship building.
- You can participate in short webinars and/or conference calls hosted by your state staff. This will provide you with information on the expectations and goals of chapter management and ensure you know the resources you have available to lead with confidence.
- You can connect with small group learning sessions, hosted by lead volunteers in your region, which take place either one-on-one or in small groups at the start of the school year. These small group sessions provide an opportunity to connect with other Best Buddies leaders in your community and prepare for your year.
Your Best Buddies state contact – staff or volunteer – will provide you with details on the types of training available to you at the start of the year. The most important thing is that you and your fellow chapter leaders carve out time at the start of the school year to understand your roles and feel prepared to carry our the goals of your chapter.
Documents and Downloads
Back to Best Buddies
Each year, chapters are faced with the challenge of keeping members enthusiastic and engaged following the winter break. When students return after the New Year, there are often new club opportunities, academic commitments, and graduation related activities. We want to ensure that members feel connected, engaged, and valued by their Best Buddies chapter. Recognizing members, thanking them for their involvement, and sharing with them how much fun the second semester is going to be will re-energize members for a great spring with Best Buddies.
There are many different activities and ideas that chapters can participate in to celebrate the start of a new year and get motivated for a great spring. Make your meeting fun, festive, and creative. Hold an event in an unusual place, offer refreshments, plan age-appropriate games, and/or invite a guest speaker. Have chapter members wear Best Buddies gear that whole week of the meeting! Here are some tips and ideas to host a dynamic return to the chapter after the winter break:
Why: B2BB are a perfect time for buddy pairs to reconnect following the break and stay on track with their one-to-one commitment.
When: A B2BB activity should be held within the first few weeks of returning from winter break. It is important to get everyone together soon after returning so members can reconnect, share stories about their break, and make plans for a fun spring. You should plan and advertise your meeting before winter break so that members have the event to look forward to and are excited and free to attend in January
Who: All members should attend to celebrate their friendships and fun, but this is also a great time to invite new students who may want to learn about Best Buddies and join for the spring semester. B2BB is a great recruitment opportunity!
What: Planning engaging, inspiring, and fun events that remind people why they joined Best Buddies can energize and motivate them – and your entire chapter – for a fun spring semester. Your Back to Best Buddies event does not have to be long, hard to plan, or expensive. Just providing members with a chance to meet up, connect, and get back into the routine can establish a strong foundation for the rest of the year. What inspires, excites, and motivates you? How can you share this energy with your chapter for committed membership throughout the coming year? Work with your chapter to plan an exciting event that is unique to your chapter and captivates your members’ attention, energy, and commitment to the mission!
Start planning your Back to Best Buddies event early. Communication about goals, needs, and ideas for the event in advance of the spring semester – and before things get too busy with mid-terms and the holidays – can provide you with the time and focus to plan an engaging, exciting event. Use your chapter meetings in November to collect ideas; what would members like to do when they return in the spring? What activities, food, or games will engage them in Best Buddies events right at the start of the spring semester? Promoting the event – and reminding members throughout the break via social media – will incite excitement, give members something to look forward to, and ensure a strong turnout to the B2BB event. Once you’ve planned your event, be sure to share pictures and updates on social media using the hashtag #Back2BB.
- Back to Best Buddies Potluck
- Invite members to bring their favorite dish enjoyed over the holiday break to share with the chapter.
- Coffee Catch Up
- Provide a space and coffee, tea, or small snacks for members to gather and chat about their break and what they are most looking forward to in the New Year.
- Spring Fling
- Hold a spring fling first thing upon returning to campus after the holidays to keep those lousy winter blues at bay; play members’ favorite songs, provide light refreshments, and get members up and dancing for a great second semester.
- Sharing is Caring
- Use the first get-together as a planning opportunity. Share exciting updates, plans for the spring semester, and ways to get more involved with members.
- Provide information on Leadership Conference, share details on leadership opportunities available in the chapter for the coming year, and talk about coming events, fundraisers, and activities planned for the spring semester.
- Awareness Activities
- Use the B2BB event to remind members – and your campus – what Best Buddies is all about and how to get or stay involved. Host an activity with members to showcase their friendships at campus-friendly events, like attending the school play together or working the concession booth at a sporting event.
- B2BB provides invaluable time for members to learn more about their work in the disability rights movement and their commitment to our mission of inclusion, friendship, and leadership.
- Back to Best Buddies events can serve as a more focused training opportunity to share details and information on nuances of disabilities, goals of the international organization, or leadership opportunities that may not have been further discussed at the start of the school year.
For more ideas, download the document below & remember to share pictures and updates on social media using the hashtag #Back2BB.
Documents and Downloads
BACK TO BEST BUDDIES GUIDE
Activity ideas to host within your school or community as a Back to Best Buddies event
Best Buddies Leadership Conference
The Best Buddies Leadership Conference (BBLC) is our organization’s largest, most exciting event! This global conference brings together leaders with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities from middle schools, high schools, colleges, and communities worldwide, providing chapter leaders and ambassadors personalized training that develops the leadership skills needed to organize a Best Buddies chapter and share the Best Buddies mission.
We expect that all chapter presidents attend this incredible event, held annually at the end of July in Bloomington, Indiana. All chapter leaders, advisors, and ambassadors are invited. At BBLC, you will meet leaders from every state and dozens of international countries who share your passion for an inclusive world. Throughout a weekend of workshops, training sessions, performances, and presentations by experts in the disability field, you are sure to learn all the skills needed to successfully guide your chapter in meeting the mission. You are also guaranteed to make life-long friends!
Learn more about the event – and save the date – by visiting the Best Buddies Leadership Conference website and watching some video highlights: