This was a great weekend. I was invited to speak at the Best Buddies, Intl. Leadership Conference. Best Buddies was founded by Anthony Kennedy-Shriver to create one-to-one friendships with individuals who have intellectual disabilities. Student leaders, who run the Best Buddies Chapter at their high school or college throughout the United States, gathered for their Annual Student Leadership Conference. I love student audiences … so speaking with over 1200 student leaders was a real privilege this weekend.
But the defining experience of the weekend was having the opportunity to work with two different groups of intellectually disabled participants on helping them develop their presentation skills. It is hard walking away from this weekend without truly wondering who in this world really has a disability. I don’t know if I have ever been in front of a group that has paid more attention, asked better questions, shown endless enthusiasm and tireless participation. I don’t know if I have ever had the privilege to work with a group of participants that had such respect for each other and who have given such honest, yet encouraging feedback.
The sudden bursts of joy and enthusiasm left you defenseless in deeply filling your mind, heart and soul with complete joy. Love came in unconditional doses … so you receive it even if you don’t deserve it. We laughed a lot and as I presented I learned to ride our experience together like a surf-board.
I departed feeling completely filled … wanting to love more and judge less. I also left wondering how the average person, including me, could fall so short of the real qualities of life … and turn-around and consider these wonderful people disabled. If you want to learn more about a Best Buddies Chapter in your area, just go to