Parkland Buddy Sports offers programs that create friendships among its participants from the special needs and typical populations. Our special needs players and student volunteers are matched together for the entire season.
The programs service all special needs children regardless of physical or mental diagnosis. Through the shared encouragement of all Buddies, the special needs players, who range in age from 4 to 22 and their families, are able to experience the joys of their athletic endeavors. Through positive reinforcement and a message of never quitting and always trying your best and always having fun doing so, the special needs players achieve new levels of success each time they come out to the field or court. The majority of student volunteers are area high school students.We also register mature middle school and elementary school students, and there is always a need for adult volunteers as well. The number of players the program is able to enroll is dependent upon the number of volunteers who sign up for the program. As a result, this is not a casual commitment by our volunteers who are required to attend at least 80% of the game days. This is critical because it is important to the player that his or her buddy will be there for them. Through their interaction with their special needs players, ignorance and stereotypes are overcome and our volunteers learn patience, understanding, tolerance and the ability of one person to change the life of another person.
Each game day is divided into specific parts. The first part is one on one time between players and volunteers. The second part is a group stretch and warm up. The third part is devoted to the game. While a more typical game is player on one field or court, there are also non typical games where each player has the opportunity to control the play. In Parkland Buddy Sports, winning occurs when a player steps on the field or court, overcomes his or her perceived limitations through their hard work and effort and does so with smiles, laughter and friendship. The motto of Parkland Buddy Sports is “No Limits”. The end of the season is celebrated with a picnic and awards ceremony.
The goals of Program Buddies are:
- to create a safe and happy environment for our players to have fun playing sports;
- to establish a bond between players and their Buddies;
- to promote the message that we are all differently abled and to create an awareness and sensitivity among our Buddies as to the needs of the players in our Program and to extend that message, awareness and understanding in their everyday lives;
- to provide a respite for the families of our players so that they can enjoy their children’s accomplishments on the field; and
- through patience, understanding and love each Buddy will encourage and motivate our players to overcome their own perceived fears or limitations. The motto of Parkland Buddy Sports is “NO LIMITS”.
Weather Events and Game Cancellation
The City of Parkland is in charge of and determines if the fields will close due to inclement weather. The City has provided a field condition hotline number. That phone number is 954-757-4110. Please call that number if you have a question about whether the fields will be open for play. However, even if the City indicates that the fields are open, if in the opinion of our Board, conditions are not safe for play due to a weather event, we will contact you. Please do not call us if there is threatening weather. If we cancel, we will call you. If you do not receive a call from us then we are playing.