Providing sports and leisure opportunities for individuals with special needs is not a new concept, but localizing the opportunities in our area is what MS Gulf Coast Buddy Sports (MGCBS) is about.
MS Gulf Coast Buddy Sports was established by Mike and Representative Carolyn Crawford within the Long Beach Youth Baseball league in 2010 so youths and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and other special needs would have the opportunity to enjoy the sport of baseball. Mike and Carolyn's daughter, Emily, had always been active in sports, just like her siblings. Unfortunately, after playing in the t-ball league, she could not play in the more competitive leagues. Buddy Ball was started so Emily and her friends could continue to play ball, just like everyone else. After nine years of playing in Long Beach, the Buddy Ball program moved to the new synthetic turf fields at the Gulfport Sportsplex.
Buddy Ball started in 2010 with about 30 players and a handful of volunteers. It has since grown to have over 150 players and 200 volunteers registered with the program.
In 2015, the well known Buddy Ball program officially organized into MS Gulf Coast Buddy Sports, Inc., a 501(c)(3) public charity. The organization, often refered to as Buddy Sports, now offers individuals with special needs the opportunity to particiapte in kickball, near-shore charter boat fishing, pond fishing, walking, dance class, painting, horseback riding, and other social activites.
Through grants and many fabulous sponsors, MGCBS provides all these recreational sports and leisure opportunities at no cost to the participants or their families.
ART OF T
Founder - Executive Director
Mike Crawford - Founder, Executive Director
Keith "Sparky" Clark
Our Board and Officers