They walked into the coffee shop and it was clear they were a Big Brother Little Brother match. They looked nothing alike and the age difference was obvious, yet they acted like brothers. From across the room, one could tell they were making jokes and easily carrying on a conversation about whatever was around them. It’s hard not to smile when you see a pair like Ryan and Sammy. Ryan is confident and outgoing and Sammy is a quiet and reserved, but they meet in the middle naturally when they’re together.
We sat down with Ryan and Sammy to hear about their match and get tips for anyone considering becoming a Big.
Can you tell us about yourselves?
Ryan: I’m a combination between outgoing and pretty techy and innovative. I’m a perpetual rule breaker, and I enjoy music and being creative. Currently, I work for Cintas in outside sales.
(Sammy seemed a little shy, so Ryan answered for him). Any my buddy Sammy here likes being outside, playing basketball, and we’ve both got a newfound love of badminton.
How long have you guys been matched?
Sammy: Since October or September.
What things do you guys do together?
Ryan: We’ve done a whole bunch of stuff. Laser tag, board game café, driving around, soccer, basketball, corn maize, bowling, mini golf, Oil Kings game, badminton. I’m new to Edmonton so getting out with Sammy I get to see more of Edmonton than I would otherwise. Sammy wants to try swimming, going to the lake this summer, and visiting a sweat lodge.
Sammy: And I’m going to teach Ryan how to snowboard.
Why did you want to be a Big Brother?
Ryan: When I lived in Kelowna I was matched for a couple years. I wanted to take the time and do something better than sitting around and watching TV. I knew a young girl who was removed from her family and she wasn’t allowed to communicate with them. But she was allowed to write to my girlfriend and I. It was during that period that I realized how important it was for kids to have more than just their parents in their lives. Plus, I wanted the excuse to act like a kid.
Why did you want a Big Brother?
Sammy: I wanted to do something after school. Ryan does a good job keeping me busy.
Why do you think so many boys want Big Brothers?
Sammy: It’s fun because you get to do stuff with your Big Brother and go anywhere you want if it’s okay with them. And you can try new experiences. I did some stuff with Ryan that I didn’t do before – like laser tag and badminton. He taught me how to play real badminton.
Ryan: I also taught you how a wedding worked. We spent a whole hour talking about weddings and watching proposal videos.
How would you describe your relationship?
Sammy: We’re bros. Ryan is funny. Ryan, remember in Costco, when you were supposed to sit on one of those exercise machines and you almost fell backwards?
Ryan: (laughing) Oh yeah. It was one of those ones where you lean back and bring your legs up, so I laid in it and I went flying. Sammy just ran away. He was too embarrassed to be around me. But being serious, my favourite part about hanging out with Sammy is his urge to learn; he’s always asking questions. Plus he’s got a great attitude about things. Like his basketball tryouts. He told me: “I didn’t make the team but I got 6th place!” He’s optimistic about everything.
What is the biggest barrier to guys becoming Big Brothers?
Ryan: I think people worry a lot about commitment. It’s a matter of guys changing their mindset. You can work being a Big Brother into your lifestyle rather than needing to completely changing your lifestyle. Just give it a shot!
To learn how you can become a Big Brother (or Sister), click here.