On Thursday, March 22, the University of Maine lost a proud member of the Black Bear community. Daniel Scott was an active member of Best Buddies at UMaine.
Best Buddies is a student organization that is found on the UMaine campus as well as nationally. According to their website, their mission reads: “Best Buddies International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-on-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership developed for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).”
“I joined UMaine’s Best Buddies program my first year at UMaine back in 2014. Also, I have an older sister who did Best Buddies at Emerson College when she was an undergraduate student. She loved it, and after discovering it here on campus, it was something that I should try,” Adya Plourde, the UMaine Best Buddies Chapter President, said.
Scott was a peer buddy for the club, meaning that he was directly paired up with a student through the organization. The buddy and student spend the school year building a one-on-one friendship through monthly group meetings and additional meeting times outside of these group gatherings. “We ask the students to spend time with their peer buddies at least once a month in order to keep the friendships going strong. However, once a month ‘hangouts’ outside of our planned events turn into twice, bi-weekly or even weekly friendship dates,” Plourde added.
“On behalf of Best Buddies UMaine, I think we’d all want Dan to be remembered as the bright light of our chapter. Dan’s energy, commitment, and love for Best Buddies was something unique and lovely. He brought sass, laughter, love and endless hugs every time he walked into our events. If there was empty space, Dan would find some way to keep the party going. He never forgot birthdays, Valentine’s flowers or Halloween costumes. Not only was he the life of the party, but he did his best to encourage others to enjoy life with him. In addition, Daniel was our biggest mascot, cheerleader and Best Buddies dance team member. He absolutely loved any occasion to celebrate UMaine and our events will not be the same without him. His bright blue wig, Best Buddies cutout and face paint will always be kept in our hearts,” Plourde said.
Each year, Best Buddies holds their Friendship Walk, an event that is open to the community. This year, the event will be called, “The Daniel Scott Best Buddies Friendship Walk,” in memory of Scott. The goal of the walk is to spread awareness to the community that people with IDDs deserve friendship, love, and equal rights and opportunities. This year, UMaine will have guest speaker Matthew Maxey, founder of Deafinitely Dope and an American Sign Language interpreter, at the event. The event is free, but it is recommended that those who attend donate $5 toward sending members of the organization to the mandatory Best Buddies Leadership Conference that happens in July.
“The legacy of Daniel Scott is something to be cherished. Although he left our world in a short amount of time, Daniel accomplished so many incredible things. He usually occupied his time doing something fun and participated in all kinds of events. He made sure to spread our Best Buddies love wherever he went. The legacy of Daniel Scott is his unapologetic smile, his upbeat tone and his magnificent desire to do what he loved. Daniel was proud of himself, and he loved himself, and his immense love allowed others to see their own inner beauty,” Plourde said