For the fourth time in the last seven years, BBBSKC was recognized as the large market Agency of the Year. This award, voted on by a committee of our peers, recognizes an agency that met high standards of performance for program and fund development, while demonstrating an innovative approach to program building in their community. We are exceptionally proud of this award. It reflects Kansas City’s commitment to mentoring and our city—every parent, Big, Little, Board Member, donor, corporate, foundation, program partner, or any other stakeholder—embraces mentoring like no other community in the country.
The focus of the conference was building the future of BBBS. Our national network continues to move forward with a strategic plan that calls for major improvements in organizational infrastructure and technology, a fresh new brand and marketing campaign, and increased efficiencies that support safe and quality programming. There were several amazing moments during the conference. NFL Hall of Famer Darrell Green spoke on the importance leadership and character development. Non-profit blogger and advocate Vu Le (www.nonprofitaf.com) gave a rousing keynote that highlighted the role our sector plays in creating opportunities for the vulnerable in our community. The family of Konrad Reuland, a former NFL player who died tragically in 2016, presented the first endowed scholarship in his memory to a BBBS Little with ambitions to play football at the college level.
As with every conference, the highlight was the closing Gala. This year’s event, hosted by BBBS supporter and former National Board Member Kate Snow, celebrated our Big Brother and Big Sister of the year. Each of these individuals gave memorable acceptance speeches that highlighted the impact that BBBS provides. In addition, the gala highlighted another match that created funny YouTube videos together, which led to the Little Brother getting cast in a highly anticipated independent film coming out later this year (Morris from America).
BBBSKC was a consistent presence throughout the conference. Micheal Lawrence and Kristi Hutchison opened the Strategic Planning meeting with a detailed proposal on building a new brand for BBBS on the national stage. Erica Ostroski shared BBBSKC’s secret to Bowl for Kids’ Sake success. I had the opportunity to present during two sessions. The first focused on creating agency success through quality, sustainable growth and the second highlighted our successful implementation of our ACES program for high school and college-aged Littles.
Just as the conference was a great time to celebrate what we’ve achieved together, it was also a reminder of the strength of our network. Across our country, there are great BBBS agencies doing amazing work. From Orange County to Omaha and from Central Indiana to Central Texas, there are bright, innovative leaders developing new and exciting ways to serve children. The conference, more than anything else, is a reminder that the strength of Big Brothers Big Sisters lies in the national scope of the mission, the amazing work of our volunteers, and the incredible talent within our network. We return from San Diego refocused, refreshed, and ready to continue creating more life-changing friendship in Kansas City.