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.
Our Buddy Sports program started in 2010 with about 30 players and a handful of volunteers playing Buddy Ball Baseball. It has since grown to have over 200 families with special needs members and 300 volunteers participating in a variety of activities.
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, canvas painting, horseback riding, and a variety of social events.
Through grants and many wonderful sponsors, MGCBS provides all these recreational sports and leisure opportunities at no cost to the participants or their families.
Our Board and Officers
Mike Crawford - Founder, Executive Director
ART OF T
Founder - Executive Director
Keith "Sparky" Clark