Backyard Players & Friends programs go virtual


Backyard Players & Friends, a Rockville Centre-based non-profit that hosts programs for teens and young adults with special needs, is trying to keep social connections strong among participants despite social distancing.

For over a month now, the four directors and staff of about nine instructors have been working social media and posting video lessons for participants to access for free in the following categories:

  • Fitness
  • Zumba
  • Hip Hop Dance
  • Theater
  • Creative Writing
  • Art
  • Yoga
  • “Movie Bites”
  • Community and Recreational Enrichment (C.A.R.E.)

“Our [instructors] will film something at home in [their] backyards, send it to us, and we put it on our website and social media,” Ryan Delaney, one of the directors, explained.

Every activity that the group previously offered in person is now online, Delaney noted. The first virtual program was posted March 19, just about a week after in-person classes halted on March 11.

Some of BYP’s interactive programs, such as Movie Bites and game show nights, are a bit more involved than a video posted on YouTube. With “movie bites,” participants are encouraged to film themselves talking about a movie they recently watched. The critique gets posted to BYP’s social media channels, creating an online community around the activity.

BYP also hosts virtual trivia, called “Game Show at Home,” via Instagram Live. Many participants have posted photos of themselves playing along, “to keep the connection alive,” Delaney said. The next trivia night is tomorrow, April 17, at 7 p.m. The live stream will be hosted on @BYPandFriends on Instagram.

“We want to make sure everyone has a chance to express their openness, joy and creativity,” Delaney said, “We’re doing that online for the time being, and it’s really coming together right now.”

For all Backyard Players & Friends’ virtual activities, click here.