Best Buddies Picnic Palooza 2009: "You’ve Got a Friend in Me"

The cloudy weather did not stop Bloomsburg students and their buddies from participating in this year’s Best Buddies Picnic Palooza event. The event, usually held outside, was moved into the Rec Center on Sunday after a poor weather forecast. The picnic was held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and featured food, drinks, and numerous activities, such as basketball and sack throws, that students and their buddies could participate in.

Best Buddies is a non-profit organization that enables Bloomsburg University student volunteers to connect with adults 18 or over with intellectual disabilities. The program sparks friendships that might not otherwise exist. The program was started in 1989 by Anthony Shriver and now has extended to more than 1,400 colleges, high schools, and middle schools, even internationally.

Vice President of the Bloomsburg chapter, Andrea Stine, enjoys all of the events that Best buddies hosts but likes the fact that the Picnic Palooza was one of their more active events with the numerous games that were available in the Rec.

“I think it’s good that we’re doing an event that’s active because most our events aren’t.”

Maggie O'Neil with buddy Lori Morgan
Maggie O'Neil with buddy Lori Morgan (photo by Alison Scott)

Some of Best Buddies past events include a matching party, where the buddy pairs connect and get to know each other, a Thanksgiving Dinner, Halloween Costume Party, a Buddy Ball, Bowl-a-Thon, Talent Show, and coming up in April an “Everybody’s Birthday Party.”

One of Best Buddies goals as stated in their brochure is “by the year 2010, Best Buddies hopes to continue successfully on it’s volunteer base in all 50 states as well as to expand its accredited international programs and engage 500,000 people worldwide.”

Bloomsburg’s chapter has already seen much growth even in just the past two years. Maggie O’Niel, Activities Coordinator for the Organization, is impressed with the increased amount of student volunteers in the program and hopes that the picnic will help increase participation furthermore.

“The organization has tripled since 2006 and we want today to get more people involved and aware.”

If you’d like to get involved with the program or would just like to know more about it, feel free to contact Best Buddies President, Jaclyn Brown, at jmbrow2@bloomu.edu

Andrea Stine, Larry Gibble, Shealei Williams, and Alyssa Palladino pose in their Best Buddies shirts
Andrea Stine, Larry Gibble, Shealei Williams, and Alyssa Palladino pose in their Best Buddies shirts. (photo by Alison Scott)
Alan Resnick sets up food for the students and their buddies
Alan Resnick sets up food for the students and their buddies. (Photo by Alison Scott)

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