BBLC 2013- Our Inspiring Moments

LC 2013 may have been two months ago, but the memories have stuck with us! We were astounded by the amazing ideas shared and the immense number of student leaders in Indiana this year. As your chapters get back into the swing of things, make sure to keep the momentum strong and share the knowledge you learned at LC.

The YLC shares below their most inspirational moments from the conference:

“This year’s LC included a new session, the World Cafe, which allowed student leaders from around the world to join together in small groups to discuss the disability rights movement and our place as advocates and leaders in the movement.  I had the pleasure of facilitating two separate sessions, one with high school leaders and one with college leaders, and I was so incredibly inspired by the meaningful discussions that took place during each hour and a half session.  I don’t think there’s anything more inspiring than to take part in a conversation with 10 complete strangers from around the world who share the exact same passion and have so many wonderful insights and ideas of how to bring the disability rights movement to our local schools, communities, and the world.  I truly believe we will one day see a world where all people are accepted and included regardless of (dis)ability, and I know this because of the young leaders who inspired me so much during those sessions and throughout all of LC.” – Elizabeth Klinepeter


Elizabeth leading a World Cafe session.

“When I saw Zach Curtis speak in front of the thousands of LC participants I felt proud and inspired by my fellow YLC member. He went on the stage with such confidence and told his story in a way that really resonated with me. His speech reminded me how great of an effect everyone’s time spent with Best Buddies can have.”  – Sophie Frank

“I always feel especially inspired when talking to my peers who share my same passion for Best Buddies. This year I was able to lead a session with my fellow YLC member, Kaley Still. The amount of enthusiasm our student leaders generated in our session inspired me in many ways. I can’t wait to begin channeling that positive energy into my own chapter!”  Fiona Hayden

“My most inspirational moment at LC this past year was getting to see my state’s leader attendance grow. Kentucky is a state that is just getting started with Best Buddies and to see such a growth in one year is such an amazing thing! Best Buddies Kentucky is starting to reach areas of our state where people were not previously in the know about Best Buddies and our empowerment mission to provide inclusion in the community for those who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. This is a huge milestone and I can’t wait to see how much more growth our state makes in the upcoming years!” – Ashley Knowling

Nowling Picture

Ashley and BBKY

“Walking into Opening Ceremonies at LC 2013, I was truly blown away by the sheer number of attendees this year – over 1,700 chapter leaders from around the world, a new LC record! Every individual was just one representative of a chapter of many and, in that moment, I realized the global reach of Best Buddies. Across the Indiana University Auditorium, representatives from California, my home state, to New York, like my roommate, Fiona, to far away countries like Korea and Brazil filled the seats, waving glow sticks and chanting their Best Buddies cheer. Standing in that sea of excitement, I was truly inspired by the dedication and magnitude of our efforts. Language barriers and miles may try and get in our way, but I know that the Best Buddies mission unifies us all and, with our numbers, we are truly unstoppable!” – Caitlin Tran


Caitlin and the YLC entering Opening Ceremonies

“My most inspirational moment from LC13 would have to be welcoming all of the new YLC members!  While ambassador speeches are always a highlight for me, welcoming all the new YLCers sticks out to me as my most inspirational moment because it’s just so exciting for me to see the enthusiasm and passion for Best Buddies and the mission.” – Connor Regan 

“The Best Buddies Leadership Conference is always an inspirational time.  There’s just a feeling in the air that connects everyone in attendance.  This year, I was blessed with the opportunity to facilitate one of the tables at the World Café, a series of round table discussions about the mission and our places as leaders.  During my high school session, the conversation just fell into this wonderful groove.  Within minutes, all the leaders had become comfortable and were opening up about their experiences in their chapters.  There was quality brainstorming, and for ever story of difficulty, there was a story of success.  The table became a place of open learning, and everyone, including myself, seemed to come out of the discussion a more confident and capable leader and champion of the Best Buddies mission.  I was beyond inspired by the lovely ladies at my table, and I cannot be more thankful.” – Julie Estrada

“While I found every waking moment of Leadership Conference to be extremely inspirational, I do have to say that seeing all of the New Year’s resolutions on the wall at the dance was particularly touching. Only a few hours prior to the dance, I had worked with others to make the New Year’s resolution wall. Upon leaving the ballroom to attend closing ceremonies, the wall appeared bare. With only 3 or 4 resolutions displayed, the wall seemed empty and uninviting. The moment I re-entered the ballroom for the dance, my eyes were immediately drawn to the wall, exploding with resolutions for the upcoming Best Buddies year! It was so heartwarming to see so many resolutions and know that there were so many other people like me who work for inclusion of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.” – Dani Warmund

“One of my favorite memories from Leadership Conference was the staff dinner since I got see all of the staff members from Best Buddies Arizona including my amazing Senior Program Manager, McKenzie Rosser.  During the dinner, our Deputy Director of Development, Sam Mason asked me if I’d like to accept our Pacesetter Award for our Friendship Walk during Opening Ceremonies and I excitedly said “YES!”” – Lindsey Eaton


Lindsey and her BBAZ PM, McKenzie Rosser

“I was most inspired by the World Cafe. It was so amazing to see Best Buddies chapter leaders from all over America- and the world- come together to talk about the challenges and successes they’ve had with inclusion. It really gave me a look at the Best Buddies movement and showed that each person involved in the mission can make a difference to change attitudes and minds. We are the future of the movement.” – Amanda Carroll

“My most memorable moment was seeing the one and only best performance of Whitney Houston’s “I will always love you!” She was absolutely amazing, brought me to tears!” –Kayla Fox

We hope these memories help you remember the enthusiasm YOU felt at LC and you share that, at home, with your chapters! Tell us your favorite moments by tweeting us @BestBuddiesYLC!


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