This year, the Marblehead High School Best Buddies Chapter had a great year filled with fun and new activities. However, the year did not end the way we planned. Due to the Coronavirus, all of the spring events we had planned and were excited for came to a quick halt. But as a club, our members are staying in touch with their buddies and as a big group. We have been doing weekly Zooms. Though we didn’t have the spring we wanted to, we did have a great fall and winter, in which our club tried out new activities and participated in our classic events that everyone loves.
This fall, we wanted to try something new, so we set up a day where a group of students from Marblehead’s chapter went to Connors Farm. People were able to do multiple activities from going on a hayride, looking at animals, to eating yummy food from the farm! Everyone loved this event and we hope they do it again next year. A big hit every year is our Friendsgiving Potluck. We do this every year, but this year we decided to add in a movie. After learning about The Peanut Butter Falcon film at the Leadership Conference, we thought it would be a great movie to show the club. It was an enjoyable night for everyone.
Many Best Buddies members also joined our unified basketball team where we played against other schools and practiced a few times a week. The team was made up of students who weren’t originally in our chapter but ultimately joined after playing with the team. This was a fun way for the buddies to be active, meet new people, and have interactions with students from other schools.
This season continued into winter, where we also had some other enjoyable events. We had our annual scarf sale at our town’s Christmas tree lighting. This is always a fan favorite as our members get to enjoy all of the festive activities and help raise money for our club. There are always friendly faces, music, and delicious food and drink, so everyone has a good time! Another club favorite is playing during halftime at a home high school varsity basketball game. One Friday every year we have a group dinner then we go support our high school’s team! This year we had a build-your-own taco night. We also had coloring stations where our members were able to color in printed out stencils or make posters for our team. Then, a few members and buddies went out to the court to play for the crowd where everyone cheered. It was a super fun night!
In February, we had our annual Valentine’s Day luncheon during all three lunchtimes so we could have as many people come as possible. We set up coloring stencils and scrap paper so people could make valentines. We had pizza, salad, and treats made by our club members, while we listened to Valentine’s Day themed music. We also did our annual bowling trip to Metro Bowl on a Saturday morning and had lunch together after bowling! This was right before Coronavirus hit Massachusetts hard.
This spring has been crazy with school closing and not being able to run our events. We are so sad we won’t have the closure with the club that we planned, but we are continuing to do virtual activities. Every Friday, we do two group Zooms. This is a wonderful way for the buddies to have interactions with multiple people, yet keep the size of the meeting controlled so everyone can speak and converse. Members are also holding individualized Zoom meetings with buddies, which has been great! As a club, we made a video for one of our buddies, saying ‘Hi,’ showing our pets, and giving uplifting messages to keep her spirits high, which we heard she loved and greatly appreciated. We are hoping to have members join a virtual Best Buddies Prom soon. Overall, despite the recent challenges, we had a great year as a chapter. We will continue to do our best to ensure that all members feel connected through these challenging times and hopefully be able to reconnect with some of the buddies come summer.