A new opportunity provided through the Big Buddies program, the Big Buddies Booster Club, is exposing youth to school activities beyond what they do in the classroom.

The Western Community Action Redwood County Big Buddies program serves 55 youth across the county, and many of those youth have not been provided many opportunities to be part of school activities beyond what they do in the classroom.

A new opportunity provided through the Big Buddies program, in conjunction with the Redwood Area School District and private individuals, is exposing youth to those activities. The program is called the Big Buddies Booster Club.

According to Mark Trefry, the Big Buddies Booster Club acquired five adult passes and 12 student passes for events that charge an admission fee at Redwood Area School District events.

“We found out only seven of our 55 Little Buddies had season passes before the program was launched,” he said.

Cindy Labrie, one of the Big Buddies advisory board members, came up with the idea for the booster club, he added.

“We encourage our Big Buddies, advisory board members, volunteers, Little Buddies and their families to use the free activity passes on a per event check out basis,” said Trefry. “The only stipulation is that one of our Little Buddies has to be in the group of people checking out the passes. This allows our Little Buddies to host their friends, family, relatives and/or neighbors to the events of their choosing.”

Some of the participants in the Big Buddies program are involved in school activities, said Trefry, including volleyball, cheerleading and band, and seeing those students involved becomes an incentive for others to try them, too.

“The program has been an overwhelming success,” said Trefry. “During the fall and winter season we had 153 free passes checked out which amounts to well over 300 hours of valuable community activity time.

“Every sport which charges an entry fee during the fall and winter was attended by at least one of our Big Buddies Booster Club groups.”

Some of the Little Buddies had never been to an activity like this before, added Trefry.