The cornerstone of Buddy Up Tennis Programming is the relationship built between Athlete and Buddy. In an effort to keep this foundation intact in these challenging times, the Buddy Up Summer Pals program launched in Summer 2020. The program provided that all-important connection between local Athletes and Buddies by enabling them to participate in engaging one-on-one virtual or in-person activities each week. Through Buddy Up Summer Pals, our Athletes developed relationships and socialization skills via ongoing, natural communication with a Buddy. Over 100 Athlete-Buddy pairs nationwide connected this summer and built meaningful friendships.

The effects of Covid-19 are particularly challenging for our Athletes, and are dampening the social opportunities that are essential to their development and wellbeing. Enter Buddy Up Summer Pals: From collaborative science experiments to arts and crafts to tennis and fitness, Athletes and Buddies strengthened friendships that began on the court. 

One Columbus duo, Athlete David Sutton and Buddy Viraj Bajoria, met each week for a variety of fun activities, such as playing Pictionary and going for bike rides. David’s mom Sandy warmly shared, “This program has been a lifeline during this time when our folks have been even more isolated. It has become evident that David’s current programming will not be returning as we know it. But Buddy Up Summer Pals has kept him active and engaged. All week, David looked forward to his time with Viraj, who was always upbeat and engaging!” 

The Summer Pals program was the answer to a call to action: We needed a program that would successfully continue to foster the newfound friendships and positive social interactions that were established on the courts. Inspired by the success of Buddy Up Summer Pals, this Fall, Buddy Up Tennis will be launching Buddy Up Connections, an enhanced version of the Summer Pals program that focuses on the entire Athlete. The holistic program will include weekly meetings that center around conversation skills, core strengthening, jump roping, and participation in activities based on fun and educational themes. 

Created by a unique and dedicated group of Buddies, Buddy Up Summer Pals successfully filled a void this summer and beyond. A special thank-you to the Summer Pals Committee for developing the program from the ground up after learning of the urgent need from our Athlete families: Lauren Motta, Emily Motta, Viraj Bajoria, and Spandana Amirneni. Read more about the Summer Pals Committee HERE.

Learn more about our Buddy Up Summer Pals’ experiences this summer HERE.