Bay Buddies Program

Bay Buddies serves 80 students with special needs, ages 5-21, with a unique summer enrichment program.The primary goal of the program is to provide students with opportunities to engage and maintain knowledge in fun and positive learning environments. The program uses hands-on learning experiences while students explore Baltimore to reinforce standards and life skills measured by the Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA) for special needs students as required by the Maryland State Department of Education. Bay Buddies is a collaborative project supported jointly by The Arc Baltimore, Baltimore City Public Schools, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Living Classrooms Foundation.

During the program, students participate in a wide variety of hands-on experiences. Activities from previous summers have included arts and crafts and the use of digital pictures, model paddle boat construction and racing, outdoor games, a banner project, field trip to the MD Council for Special Equestrians to go therapeutic horseback riding, sand art, sailing aboard Living Classrooms’ Skipjack Sigsbee and Pungy Schooner Lady Maryland, mosaic frame mirror art, a gardening project during which students learn and practice landscaping skills and utilize adaptive gardening tools to plant a perennial garden as part of a career exploration component, and a field trip to the National Aquarium or the Maryland Science Center.

In addition to involving students in community life, all activities are geared to maintain individuals’ skills outcomes and prevent summer learning loss. As a result of Bay Buddies’ enormous success, the program has received two awards: the Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties and the Innovative Program Award from the Maryland Recreation and Parks Association.

Contact: Lorraine Andrews