What Are Buddies?
The Role of the Buddy
Buddies are non-disabled persons who assist VIP players on the field. Buddies who assist VIP players on the field have a life-changing experience. For the first time, perhaps, they are interacting with a player with disabilities. They witness the effort and determination as many players struggle with physical limitations but never give up. They learn to see and appreciate them as people, and form friendships with them. They will most likely never view people with disabilities in the same way again. What an education…and it’s free!
It is essential to have a number of buddies on hand for beginning VIP players who will need them. The best buddies are peers of the players—not parents. Some nervous parents will find it hard to “let go.” This is why it is essential for buddies to introduce themselves at the pre-season parent meeting and to let parents know that their preferred role is a supportive – not active – one.
The best buddies are peers of the players: older elementary, middle school, high school, and even college students. As there will likely be a wider age range when just getting started—unless there are enough players to divide into age groups—recruit an age range of buddies to facilitate appropriate pairing. There are several reasons why peers make good buddies:
The players may respond better to peers.
Peer buddies begin to form friendships with the players.
Peer buddies learn and grow from performing a positive, affirming service.
Buddies, as with all volunteers in AYSO, must be registered before they participate with the VIP players at practices or games. Each year, volunteers must complete the Volunteer Application Form, register with and be accepted by the Region where they plan to participate. Buddies under the age of 18 years old must register using the AYSO Youth Volunteer Application.
Be sure to submit your buddy information sheet along with your volunteer application form.
Training and certification is required by AYSO for all volunteers for their own protection and for the protection of the players. VIP buddies have two choices – they can attend a one-hour special VIP Buddy Training & Certification workshop, or if possible, attend the 2.5 hour VIP Volunteer Training. Contact your local Region to find out what training is taking place and when and where.