Five Ultimate is teaming up with Aria Discs to help raise funds for local Ultimate non-profits like Boston Ultimate Disc Alliance (BUDA). These organizations have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, being forced to cancel all their spring programs and events, and potentially their summer ones as well. These events are not only important to their local Ultimate communities but are critical for raising necessary funds that allow them to operate.
During these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever for us to come together as a community and make sure we all come out the other side of this stronger than before. Five Ultimate’s Quaranteam partnerships and limited-edition line of products is our way of giving back to these amazing organizations that do so much for their communities.
We spoke with Jonah Guerin, the Operations Manager for BUDA, to learn more about how the global pandemic has affected their organization and community and how they’re weathering the storm. Read on below to learn more about the wonderful work they do and how joining the BUDA Quaranteam can help.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic been affecting you and BUDA?
Jonah Guerin: When the COVID-19 pandemic started to become a major issue, we were in the middle of two winter leagues and finishing registration for all our spring leagues. We made the decision to cancel the remainder of our winter leagues right away, and after gathering more information, we canceled our spring leagues as well. Just last week we made the decision to cancel our two biggest club tournaments, Mixed Easterns and Boston Invite, which would have been in late May and early June. Since running events is core to our mission of providing opportunities to learn, play, and teach spirited Ultimate, we were disappointed to not be able to provide those opportunities. Without those traditional avenues for supporting the community, we've had to get creative.
Other than not being able to get on the field and play, what’s been the biggest challenge during this?
JG: Staying in touch with the community. BUDA has an incredible community of players, from our U8 leagues to our Grandmasters leagues, and everything in between. We try to emphasize the social aspects of the game by encouraging players to go out after games and by hosting events like BUDA Prom. In an effort to stay engaged with the community, we partnered with DiscNY and created our Remote Community Calendar. This calendar contains a variety of online events that anyone can attend, including yoga, workouts, game nights, and more. While we can't get together on a field for now, we wanted to give people the opportunity to stay connected virtually.
How are you and the rest of the organization getting through this difficult time?
JG: We're hanging in there. It's been challenging to adjust to our new normal, but we're working hard to stay positive, keep in touch with the community, and practice kindness. One benefit I've seen is more communication amongst everyone within BUDA. We're holding more regular board meetings, and staying in touch more often to ensure that BUDA makes it through this pandemic.
What’s the vibe in your city/community like?
JG: I think people understand the importance of staying home, so it's pretty quiet right now. No one was planning on spring 2020 going this way, but it's great to see how people have adapted! One of our winter leagues which ended early has held regular Zoom hangouts to stay in touch. One of our Grandmasters teams created a "Remote Ultimate" video and we’ve challenged others to do the same. When we hosted our remote captain's meeting for summer league, I wasn't sure how many people to expect, but 86 people showed up ready to talk about Ultimate! It's clear that people are excited to get back on the field whenever we can safely do so, and that Ultimate is still high on people's minds. It can be a great distraction!
What are you looking forward to most right now?
JG: Personally, there are a handful of things: being able to hug my family, getting to travel, and eating a burrito at Tenoch or ribs at Red Bones. For BUDA, I'm looking forward to getting back on the field, playing with friends, getting to be outdoors with other people, and the camaraderie of a team sport.
How are you hoping to use the funds raised through the Quaranteam fundraiser?
JG: BUDA relies on income from our leagues and tournaments to survive. Without any spring events, and with summer events on hold, we haven't had much money coming in for a while. We plan to use the funds raised through the Quaranteam fundraiser to pay our basic costs such as employee salary, insurance costs, and website fees. Anything extra, we would store away for future use by our youth program. We were so excited to be expanding our initiative with the Boston Centers for Youth & Families this spring, and we will use any extra funds towards growing that program in the future.
What does being a part of a Quaranteam mean to you?
JG: To me, it's about being a part of the larger Ultimate community. While BUDA is a local organization, we love working with other local organizations and companies like XII Brands who share our mission. Being a part of a Quaranteam means supporting each other through this crisis and making sure we all come out on the other side.
What else can folks do during this time to support the Ultimate community?
Keep in touch! We love to hear from folks about their experiences and ideas to improve. And stay engaged with your community. Attend online events, post on social media, watch old footage of games, read interesting articles. And if you have the ability to donate, please do so. Most orgs like BUDA are non-profits who rely on the community for support. Donations help us stay afloat until we can get back on the fields!
If you’d like to join the BUDA Quaranteam and help support the Boston Ultimate community, you can order your official gear in the BUDA Quaranteam shop. Hurry — the store closes May 10. If you’re involved with a local Ultimate non-profit organization and want to find out more about partnering with us for your own Quaranteam fundraiser, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.