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Best Buddies Friendship Walks: Innovative Walks That Excite! By:Lindsey Eaton

The Best Buddies Friendship Walk is the biggest fundraiser for many of our state programs. Thousands of students, families, schools and volunteers come together each year in cities across the United States to fundraise for their states and spread awareness about the Best Buddies mission.  The Best Buddies Young Leaders Council had the opportunity to help set up for the 2014 Best Buddies Leadership Conference Friendship Walk at Indiana University by chalking the walk path with phrases such as “I walk for inclusion” and “You can do it” and by setting up cones along the walk course.

Best Buddies Friendship Walks are something I hold VERY close to my heart since I have been on Best Buddies AZ’s Friendship Walk Committee for the past few years and I have been able to experience the drive and determination our committee has had to make the walk succeed above average in Arizona.  In July 2013, our Friendship Walk received a “Pacesetter” award from Best Buddies International at the Leadership Conference along with many other states. This year is exceptional. We are driven to raise over $57,000 for the walk and so far we’ve raised $9,224. We’ve hosted two “give back nights” with the Phoenix Coyotes Hockey team and we have hosted our first annual Buddy Dash 5k run in partnership with Roadrunner Sports in Tempe, AZ.

With my experiences in mind, I decided to set out on a mission to collect highlights from a phenomenal group of student leaders who are passionate about Best Buddies at their schools and in their states. Below are statements from a few student leaders who share insights about experiences relating to Friendship Walks:

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October Fundraising Idea: Eat for a Cause!

The following post is brought to you by my fellow YLC member and good friend, Sophie Frank:

Fundraising is one of the hardest parts of developing your Best Buddies chapter, but it is also one of the most important, especially so when starting a new chapter. Many of us have pondered how to pay annual chapter dues, buy food for events, and find activities that our chapter can afford to do. The YLC wants to make this burden a bit easier by giving you fun, efficient, and profitable ideas each month on how you and your chapter can raise money!

Our October fundraising idea is to host a local restaurant night.


Hosting a local restaurant night is an often overlooked but really accessible way to get both your community involved and make the big bucks.

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September Event Idea: 3 Easy Steps to Hosting a Successful Event

Now that your school year is off to a great start, recruitment for your Best Buddies chapter was super successful, you hosted a fabulous call out meeting, and the matching process is in full swing – it’s time to talk about EVENT PLANNING!

Whether you’re days or weeks away from your match party, it’s never too early to start planning and making sure everything is in line for the first event (or better yet, all the events for the semester)!  Nothing is more exciting than being a part of and watching Best Buddies friendships that grow and flourish throughout the year, and hosting a successful event is a key way to make sure that happens.

So that brings us to our 3 easy steps to hosting a successful event:

Step #1 – The Pre-Event Phase:

  • Meet with your officer team to come up with an event idea (be on the lookout for specific monthly event ideas on our blog throughout the year!).  At this meeting set up a date and time for the event, make sure the event fits in your budget, reserve the location for the event, discuss supplies (food, games, crafts, etc.) that need to be purchased for and/or brought to the event, discuss specific activities that will take place at the event, and discuss any other logistical issues surrounding the event.

  • If your school requires it, make sure to communicate with your student activities board or administration to have the event approved ahead of time.

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September Fundraising Idea: Letter Drives

From the YLC to your chapter: welcome back to school! Now that we have all gotten through our first few days or weeks and have begun our plans for what this year holds for our Best Buddies chapters, it’s time to consider something very, very important –FUNDRAISING!

We know LC 2014 seems like ages away, but the sooner you start raising money for chapter dues, the less you will have to worry as the summer approaches!
With so much on your plate in the very beginning of the year, think about doing a simpler fundraiser that does not involve a lot of prep-work. With that being said, the fundraiser suggestion for September is a LETTER DRIVE!

Who doesn't love getting mail?!

Who doesn’t love getting mail?!

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Best Buddies Friendship Walk: Experiences From The YLC


Ashley and Westfield High School, Best Buddies Indiana

The Best Buddies Friendship Walk (BBFW) is the biggest fundraiser of the year for many of our State Programs. Thousands of students, families, schools, and volunteers come together each year in cities all across the United States to raise awareness, fundraise for their states, and spread the mission of Best Buddies. As a member of the Young Leaders Council, I hold the position of the BBFW Liaison.

As the YLC starts to develop over its first year, I have begun to set goals to implement over the next year. One goal that I am currently working on is getting statements from the other YLC members about their experiences at their BBFW from the 2012-2013 school year. This is an event that means a lot to student leaders across the country. Each friendship walk has the same mission but the events held are different everywhere. Read More…

Three Ways To Celebrate Best Buddies Month


Best Buddies Month is a time for Best Buddies participants to reflect on the importance of friendship, jobs, and the development of future leaders. Most importantly, it is a time to show the world the significance of these essentials in every individual’s life.

What began in 1993 as a one-day event has become a month-long celebration of the Best Buddies mission.

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Growing Your Friendships Outside Of Structured Chapter Activities

Hi everybody!

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the amazing friendships I have with my best buddy, and with all of the friends I’ve made through Best Buddies. I want others to share in this amazing and rewarding experience , so I figured I’d share some advice for all the buddy pairs out there!

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