What is All Buddy Camp?

 All Buddy Camp 2016 is a unique volunteer opportunity for rising juniors and seniors attending Charlottesville High School or an Albemarle County public or private high school. A “Big Buddy” at All Buddy Camp is paired with a preschool age student with special needs and works cooperatively with our professional program staff. Buddies work one-on-one with each other for the entire week of All Buddy Camp. The camp is a tribute to Robin and Mani Aldridge, who were committed to children with disabilities, art, and fun! 

The Buddy Program experience often satisfies a student’s community service requirements for graduation. In addition, because of this experience, many Buddies have expressed interest in pursuing a career in a related field, including special education, occupational or speech therapy, art and music therapy, etc., as they enter college. 

My favorite things about Buddy Camp were the great sense of community, the introduction of new and fun adventures, and the arts and crafts.
— 2015 Big Buddy

An application process is required for those interested in becoming a Big Buddy. Volunteers who previously served as a Big Buddy during the 2015 camp may re-apply, however there are limited positions for returning Big Buddies. Students accepted into the program will participate in an all-day mandatory orientation session in order to prepare for the experience. 

Volunteer requirements: 

  • Completed application and parent permission 
  • Must be a rising junior or senior attending an Albemarle County or Charlottesville City High School 
  • Must have a desire to work with preschool age students with disabilities in a fun, structured environment 
  • Must be able to commit to attending camp at Johnson Elementary School (June 13 – 17, 2016 from 8:30 – 1:00 pm) and the orientation on Sunday, June 12th at Triple C Camp 
  • Two letters of recommendation from teachers or other community partnerships 
  • Must be able to provide transportation to and from orientation and service week 
  • Agree to criminal record/background check/drug screen (at no cost to volunteer)

What it takes to be a good Buddy: 

Patience, laughter, respect, enthusiasm, interest in art or music, friendliness, playfulness, and a positive attitude! 

For more information about Robin and Mani’s All Buddy Camp contact Sarah Blech at (434) 970-3264 or blechs@charlottesville.org.