Our community is where we live. It’s where we grow. It’s who we see in line at Chick-fil-a each morning and it who we run into at the park. It’s who we laugh with, cry with, compete with, live with, thrive with, drive with, and jive with. Let’s do something about our communities bond. Let’s actually host events that will be an encouragement to all. Let’s support causes we are passionate about.

Step 1: Form A Committee: Formulate a list of those you believe could help you in hosting an event (in this case a Basketball Camp for Children with Special Needs)

Step 2: Meet a Few Months Ahead of When You Want to Host the Event: At the first meeting, lay out your idea before the group, let them know as to why you have invited them to help, and lay out any all ideas that you have concerning the camp. (This way you can have a little while to advertise and rule out any ideas that wouldn’t help make the camp better or be possible this time.)

Step 3: Write down Ideas and Get Contacts: During the time of the first meeting and the second it is an incredible time to keep a notebook of ideas that you have expounded upon–T-Shirt Designs, Food Ideas, Date of Event, etc. Then make contacts with the schools, organizations, etc. in your area who will have students or adults with Special Needs that you would want to invite to the camp. Many communities will have a Special Olympics program or SNA or some sort of sports league already in place. Being able to have a basketball camp right before the season or in the off season helps! I have been in the schools as a practicum student, and was able to make contacts with different Special Education teachers and principals. This helped me get flyers sent home and support from the school administration as well.

Step 4: Meet Back Up and Divide Up Jobs: Set a date, time, and location. We stuck to Saturday mornings until 2:00. This gave us time to work, play, eat, and perform (play the games). If you have a tech savvy person in your group that would be good at making an esthetically pleasing poster/brochure get them the information and ideas and let them get to work.  Who is the creative one in the group? Have them design t-shirts. Is there a money manager around? Get them formulating a budget of costs and funds needed to be raised in order to meet the cost. What about food? Who is going to plan what we are eating and pick it up? (We did a 1 hour lunch break and had pizza picked up. It was cheap. It was Yummy. It wasn’t a big deal that it was a little heavy for an athletic camp because none of us did serious running. (I am not a sandwich girl.)

Side Note: Things That We Considered in Cost:

T-shirts, food, drink mix, posters, print cost, plus additional fundraiser items. We made and sold hair ties for pretty cheap and were able to cover the cost of some of t-shirts and food. Then we sold t-shirts to the fans in order to help cover the rest of the cost. (We made sure all the campers would have a t-shirt for free as well as any family member.) 

Step 5: Get the Ball Rolling: Who ever the advertising dude was, check in on his progress towards a poster/brochure. Make sure all the information is correct and the pictures are catchy. Who volunteered to get the food? Make sure they are formulating a list and saving a date to be able to go buy it. Are they doing the best with the money they are given? (We are supposed to be good stewards right?) Reserve tables, get table clothes, napkins, paper plates, etc.

And you are going to want volunteers for the day of. The first time I hosted this event we offered free shirts to all the volunteers and ended up with 60 volunteers and 8 campers. It was hilarious to see me try to divide up jobs, I’m sure. But, you really will need the help. (Registration table workers, t-shirt table, people to pick up the food and distribute, coaches, buddies, a DJ, poster makers, etc.) A whole tribe, right?

Another Side note: Something we did the last time, that was a big hit was I bought water bottles with the money left over for each of the campers to have at camp. We wrote their names on them to be able to keep up with them and it also helped limit the waste of cups(!!) Go green! 

Step 6: Just Do it! Read over all your flyers. Then just go meet with teachers, organizations, families you may know and let them know about the event. Formulate a game plan for the day (a schedule) and print it off. Get your volunteers information about the day and a schedule. Make sure they know their job (and that their main job is to have fun). Get the t-shirts ordered, the Facebook Event made, the flyers sent out, the schools and churches invited, and the food in line to be picked up.

Step 7: Show Time: It’s game day! Rise, shine, eat that breakfast bar and get to the gym. Make sure you have the tables set up, the registration forms ready, and the smiles on. You are about to have the best day of your life. You may have 15 campers show up!! Or there may be one camper and 28 volunteers. Either way you can make a huge difference in someones life and in your community.

Giving free lunch and shirts to the families let them know you care about them. Dancing along with their children to the music, allowing them to make the post move on you, and laughing to all their jokes lets them know that you care about their family. Not taking any credit for the day and just thanking the family for letting you enjoy the presence of their children and their abilities will let them know you care about the communities growth. And thats how you make a difference. Its in the details and effort you put into making a special day for extraordinary people. Its in the cheesy grin that you will wear until you fall asleep that night (or afternoon right after dinner if you did it right.)

Please message me with any ideas, concerns, or questions about hosting an event like Buddy Ball.

I didn’t mention safety in the steps, but that is always a concern. We had wrist bands with the parents numbers and any allergies on the children. We fortunately never had to use this, but it is a safety feature we chose.

That is my husband in the picture on the left. I swoon.