The Closing Ceremonies of the 24th Annual Best Buddies International Leadership Conference: Buddies Without Borders
This year’s Leadership Conference ended in a fun, groovy way making this one of the most enthusiastic closing ceremonies Best Buddies has ever had. With a rendition of “I’ve Had the Time of my Life” playing in the auditorium and guests wearing everything from Hawaiian Lei’s to funky hats, members were ready to go out in style. Anthony K. Shriver even took photos with members of Best Buddies seated in the front row.
The closing ceremony then proceeded with a performance by a Best Buddies group singing their version of “Home” by Phillip Phillips. People started to wave their arms in the air and sing along, which brought a positive and optimistic vibe to the event. Following this moment, a video montage of all the Best Buddies chapters from around the world took center stage, with countries ranging from Argentina, Russia, and even Pakistan taking part in this important global movement. It definitely brought this year’s theme of “Buddies without Borders” into perspective.
After a quick introduction, Tessa, a member of Best Buddies Netherlands, presented a video showcasing the “Kroonappels” award they won for being named the top social initiative for youth in the Netherlands. Following this presentation, another video was shown that featured the graduation ceremony of Karen Gaffney from the University of Portland, the first living person with Down syndrome to receive an honorary doctorate degree. After the video was shown, Dr. Gaffney made a surprise appearance behind the podium on stage. The crowd went wild and Gaffney proceeded with an uplifting speech.
Following Dr. Gaffney’s speech, Michael Carlo, 2013 Best Buddies participant from Las Vegas, Nev. took the stage to sing one of his songs to the audience. Afterwards, Best Buddies Ambassadors went on stage to give their speeches. To close out the 2013 Leadership Conference, there was a performance by the 89ers, a group that included members from different Best Buddies chapters. A nice little twist the group gave to the song they were performing was “Call Me Buddy,” a spinoff from Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me, Maybe.” It was a positive and fun conclusion to the 24th Annual Best Buddies Leadership Conference.
For more photos of the 24th Annual Best Buddies International Leadership Conference: Buddies Without Borders, visit our Flickr page at www.flickr.com/bestbuddieshq.