20th Annual Best Buddies Leadership Conference 2023
OKLAHOMA SENDS 10 REPRESENTATIVES TO THE 2023 BEST BUDDIES LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE IN BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA
Tulsa, Oklahoma – August 24, 2023 – Ten Best Buddies representatives from Oklahoma attended the 2023 Best Buddies Leadership Conference: Reunited for Inclusion in Bloomington, Indiana, from July 21-July 24, 2023.
Best Buddies International is a groundbreaking nonprofit founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver, dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development and inclusive living for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). After two years of virtual Best Buddies Leadership Conference (BBLC) and one year of localized leadership conferences, BBLC returned to Indiana University, with this year’s event theme being Reunited for Inclusion. The leadership conference prepared student leaders to operate the Best Buddies chapters at their schools, which involves recruiting new members, planning group activities for their chapters and promoting social integration for people with IDD.
The Oklahoma office, which has approximately 92 participants across its eight programs, was opened in 2020. Oklahoma sent 10 representatives to BBLC, which consisted of two staff members, seven students and one Ambassador.
“BBLC was an incredibly influential conference that profoundly impacted my mindset, and it exceeded my expectations in ways I never thought possible,” Antonio Pastrana, the chapter president at Tulsa University, said. “The sessions offered throughout the conference equipped me with invaluable tools that I will use to be successful as the president of my chapter. Attending this conference gave me a unique perspective on the vastness of the Best Buddies community. It reinforced the idea that everyone is willing to support one another, regardless of our challenges. I sincerely hope that everyone with the opportunity to attend this conference seizes it wholeheartedly.”
Nearly 2,000 students, leaders, volunteers and staff members, representing Canada, Chile, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey and the United States traveled to participate in the conference. Students, selected to participate in the conference for their active leadership roles within Best Buddies, attended a series of interactive workshops focusing on leadership development, community service, civic responsibility, IDD and volunteerism. The leadership conference was live-streamed and showcased the amazing performances, speakers and education sessions that took place this year.Learn More About Best Buddies