20th Annual Best Buddies Leadership Conference 2023
SOUTH DAKOTA SENDS 5 REPRESENTATIVES TO THE 2023 BEST BUDDIES LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE IN BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA
Sioux Falls, South Dakota – August 25, 2023 – Five Best Buddies representatives from South Dakota 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.
South Dakota programs, which have approximately 35 participants across its 14 programs, were opened in 2016. South Dakota sent five representatives to BBLC, which consisted of one staff member, one faculty advisor, and three students.
“BBLC was the best weekend of my life,” Denay Reid, the chapter president at Brandon Valley High School, said. “I learned so much and it truly felt opened my eyes to what Best Buddies has to offer. I made so many new friendships and I cannot wait to go back next year!”
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