Kicking Off for Fall


On October 2nd, Purgatory Mountain Resort hosted the kick-off for the Big Brothers Big Sisters programs, including the sports buddies program that helps wait-listed children find a mentor. Interview with Caleb Speas, Program Manager. Sponsored by San Juan Basin Public Health and Whole Health Family Medicine Clinic

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[Wendy Graham Settle] The weather cleared up and blue skies were all around as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Colorado celebrated their fall kickoff at Purgatory Mountain Resort. Unlimited rides on the Inferno Mountain Coaster and the Alpine Slide made for a fun-filled morning. You're watching the local news network brought to you by San Juan Basin Public Health and Whole Health Family Medicine. I'm Wendy Graham Settle. In the summer of 2021, Big Brothers Big Sisters launched a new program called Sports Buddies in an effort to help address the issue of long wait lists.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a mentoring organization where we match kids who need an adult relationship in their life that's positive with mentors in the hopes that they build a relationship and can gain support, and then go on and be more successful in life. We've been in Durango since the early eighties. And yeah, it's a great organization, started nationally in 1904 back east.

With the way that COVID impacted the ability for many to meet in person, Big Brothers Big Sisters had to come up with new ways to meet and keep their littles in touch with their bigs. One of the ways they worked to address the issue was to create a new program called Sports Buddies.

Kind of in a response to COVID, and, and seeing that a lot of our kids weren't getting the support they needed because we couldn't be at the schools, thankfully we're back in the schools this year, which is awesome, so we're building that, but we're going to keep Sports Buddies going and, and we're really, really encouraged that over the summer, it was well over 120 people attended our events. So that to us kind of indicated, yeah, we should keep doing this. The community needs it and supports it.

[Wendy Graham Settle] Sports buddies is an opportunity for wait-listed littles to participate in events without a big. While open to everyone participating in a Big Brothers Big Sisters program, the activities tend to be more group-based, which allows for everyone to get involved. Sports Buddies launched in Southwest Colorado this past summer, and will continue into the fall alongside the two other main programs offered by Big Brothers Big Sisters.

So we have a community-based program, which is like the traditional program people think of when they hear about us, which is where we, we enroll kids and mentors and then based on the needs of the kids and the personalities of both, we make a match. Once they're matched, they get to hang out in the community so they can go for hikes, they can go to the movies, you know, go fishing, whatever they feel like doing during their hangout, and they hang out either every week or every other week for two to four hours and it's, it's a really nice program in that it meets year round. So the kids are engaged for the full year. It's a year minimum commitment in the hopes that it's a very long term match. And it's a great way to give back and a lot of fun. Then we have our school-based program, which is similar in the enrollment, enrollment process to community, except once the match is made, then they hang out at the child's school for an hour a week, typically in the library, just for the school year. So it's a nice way for a lot of younger people like Fort Lewis students to start volunteering, 'cause the commitments just for the school year, one hour a week. Someone like me or another case manager is there to provide snacks, games, and offer support and other matches meet there too. And that's a really fun way to start. I've, I've been a big for eight years now and that's how I started. So it's a great way to build the relationship and then maybe transition into the community-based program.

[Wendy Graham Settle] Sports Buddies offers one to two events a month for mentors to take part in like the kickoff event on October 2nd, the events are supervised by other Big Brother Big Sister staff members, and give everyone a chance to try something fun and new. At Purgatory, many of the attendees enjoyed sifting for gold, as well as riding the mountain coaster and alpine slide until they couldn't ride anymore.

It's a lot of little steps that lead to something big, but it's not one big thing. So it's, it's a marathon and not a sprint. So what I mean by that is it not every outing is going to be going on a roller coaster. You know, at this point with me, I have a lot of work to do so sometimes me and my little brother just go to a coffee shop, he does his homework and I do my work. The point is consistency in the relationship and less of what you do as time goes on. But yeah, a lot of little things that lead to something big and it's really fun.

To learn more about Sports Buddies and other Big Brother Big Sister programs, to sign up to volunteer, or to sign up a child for the programs, visit be Thanks for watching this edition of the local news network. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.


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