Contributed by Connor Desharnais, Special Projects Worker
What does it mean to be a buddy? The Buddy Club, through posAbilities’ Supported Living Network, is a way for people with various abilities to get out and do fun activities, while at the same time meet new people and make friends. Getting the Buddy Club to where it is today was actually quite the lengthy process. At the beginning it took months to spread the word and increase awareness about the Club, and it was nearly a year before there were any regular attendees. It may have been a slow start at the gate, but all that patience paid off in the end. The Buddy Club now has a lot of interest. Right now some of the most popular activities are going to eat at the Old Spaghetti Factory, taking a trip up to Grouse Mountain, or going out for a game of bowling.
I had the pleasure of joining the Buddy Club on their most recent excursion: the Surrey Fusion Festival. The delicious aromas of the various ethnic foods could be smelled before we even reached the gate. As we entered the festival, we soon encountered “Snack Time Sumo Wrestling”. Naturally, we had to take part in wrestling as giant food. Soon after that, everyone started to disperse and explore the festival. There were dozens of tents selling food, clothing, knick knacks, and some were giving out free stuff! A couple of us even got free turban wraps! There were also live performances featuring music and dances from various cultural backgrounds and a mini carnival complete with rides.
As I was walking around and taking pictures of the Buddy Club, it quickly became obvious to me that it didn’t really matter what everyone was doing, but rather that they were doing it together as friends. Even if it was simply walking around and taking in all the sights and smells, everyone was having fun because they were in good company. That’s really what the Buddy Club is all about, and it can be summed up perfectly with its tagline: “Meet a Buddy, Bring a Buddy, Be a Buddy”. The main reason why the Buddy Club’s activities are so much fun is because everyone is sharing their experiences with the people they care about and enjoy being around. The great thing about the Buddy Club is that, while the staff organize and plan for the various activities, the “buddies” who come to the events are the real ones in charge; they’re the ones who decide what to do. Many even end up meeting outside of the club to do their own fun activities together.
The Buddy Club’s next adventure will be a trip to the North Vancouver Shipyards Night Market on August 25, for more info, see the poster. After that, they’ll be going bowling on September 27. If you’re interested in tagging along, give them a call at 778-945-1430 ext. 333.