Chapter Highlight of the Month: Chaparral High School

Whenever I’m at LC, I repeatedly hear one thing all weekend- “I wish we knew more about how other chapters run!” I couldn’t agree more and our answer to this request was Chapter Highlights! Each month, the YLC will be featuring one of our members on our blog to talk about their respective chapters.

This month, my good friend and Buddy Ambassador, Lindsey Eaton, shared with us some details on her chapter:

The Best Buddies chapter at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, AZ, is truly all about inclusion and acceptance towards our students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We have football players, baseball players and student government representatives’ register to join our chapter during our schools Club Rush club involvement fair.

This year, Trent Waller will lead our chapter. Trent is a junior at Chaparral, where he has been involved in Best Buddies since his freshman year of high school. He has been an officer every year, but his biggest hope was to become Chapter President one year. That dream came true last year when our former Chapter President, Meaghan Tracey, asked him if he’d like to be Chapter President this year. He was matched with his buddy, and our Co-Buddy Director, Blake Sykes, last year. The two of them found enjoyment in going to the movies, going out to eat, attending Best Buddies officer meetings, and events.

Lindsey and Trent

Lindsey and Trent

Our chapter recently kicked off the year with an outstanding info meeting during which I shared a speech about how Best Buddies has changed my life. The speech brought many peer buddies and associate members to tears!

This year, our chapter will have a total of 105 members. We will have a total of 33 buddy pairs. While many of our buddy pairs will be matched for only one year, a few of our buddy pairs will be matched for their second or third year. One exemplary buddy pair who truly embodies the definition of a Best Buddies friendship is our incoming Vice President, Dylan Treger and his buddy, Connor Birch!  Connor and Dylan went to amusement parks, went to the movies and went out to eat. This buddy pair will be paired this year and it will be their third year being a match.  Connor performed the national anthem during the 2012 Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle as a result of his Best Buddies International Buddy Talent video submission for the 22nd Annual Best Buddies Leadership Conference.

Chaparral Buddy Pair - Dylan and Connor

Chaparral Buddy Pair – Dylan and Connor

Arizona Senior PM, McKenzie Rosser says the following about the chapter: “Working with Chaparral has been amazing! The Chaparral chapter has grown immensely in size since I started working with them three years ago. I have had several opportunities to visit with buddy pairs and get to know their incredible friendships. Chaparral is one of the biggest chapters in Arizona and I am lucky to be able to work with them!”

Lindsey and her BBAZ PM, McKenzie

Lindsey and her BBAZ PM, McKenzie

The chapter hosts many unique events to encourage our buddy pairs to grow their friendships. Last year, we hosted a pajama movie night as one of our events. Our buddy pairs came to the event dressed in pajamas and brought a blanket to sit on and a pillow to lay on while we watched “Monster’s Incorporated!” We had a blast during the event and enjoyed each other’s company!

Lindsey and her Buddy, Meaghan

Lindsey and her Buddy, Meaghan

In addition to our unique chapter activities, we encourage buddy pairs to participate in Best Buddies Arizona events including the Friendship Walk or Buddy Prom! We took buses to Buddy Prom at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Marriott.

Chaparral High School has been recognized many years in a row from Best Buddies Arizona. The chapter won an Outstanding Chapter Award from Best Buddies International in July 2010 and  Top High School in 2011 from Best Buddies Arizona. We have had a buddy pair receive Outstanding Buddy Pair since 2011 and we’ve taken home Overall Best Events High School in 2011 and 2013.

Lindsey’s Top Tips for Other Chapters:

1. Utilize your Buddy Director by having him or her speak during your info meeting, match party, or any event where you think it’d be good to have a guest speaker!

2. Complete friendship updates, mid-year, and end-year reports on time! Start thinking about the reports a month ahead of when they are due.

3. Plan creative events that allow buddy pairs to form strong friendships and develop them!

I always think it’s interesting to hear about how other chapters run and Lindsey’s did a great job of showing us a bit about Chaparral High School. Stay tuned for Chapter Highlights from all around the US. We have YLC members from California (like me!) to across the nation in New York – and a ton in between like our capital city of Washington DC, Nashville, and Orlando, just to name a few! What’s something unique about YOUR chapter? Tweet us @BestBuddiesYLC!

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About Caitlin Tran

Student leader from sunny SoCal. Get in contact with me @BestBuddiesYLC!

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