When Crispin Boney first started as a Big Brother he was at least a foot taller than his Little Tremayne Bean.
Two-and-a-half years later Tremayne, 14, gleefully towers over him.
Such are the joys of being a Big in the long-term.
“I had a friend who was a Big Sister,” said Mr. Boney, who works in the Government Statistics Department. “She talked to me about it.”
Mr. Boney was also inspired by a talk given by Esme Williams, executive director of Big Brothers and Big Sisters in Bermuda (BBBS).
“I read the papers,” he said. “I am concerned about what is happening in the community. ”
Mr. Boney and Tremayne enjoy fishing and nature.
“We go to the beach,” he said. “I share his interest in nature quite a bit. We visit historic sites like St. David’s Lighthouse and the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. We go to the movies sometimes.”
He encourages Tremayne in his homework, and recently gave him some advice on a project about the Solar System.
“We used styrofoam balls to make the planets,” said Mr. Boney. “I went to look for the materials. Then I asked him to describe the concept for me. He put it together himself. I just showed an interest in his idea, and tried to encourage him.”
Since being matched with Tremayne, Mr. Boney’s family has grown.
“I now have a daughter who is two years and seven months old,” he said.
“It is not really more difficult to be a Big with children. Tremayne likes my daughter and she likes him so it is not a problem. When you have children you have to manage your time better.
“You still have to find time for the Little. You just need to plan properly.”
He said although he has been to the BBBS Christmas luncheon before, this year he almost didn’t attend.
“He said Tremayne said, ‘you have to be there, you have to be there. Make plans to be there’.
“So I made arrangements to be there. When they started reading one of the Big of the Year nomination letters, some of the things in it sounded familiar.
“It talked about how we go fishing a lot, sometimes when it was inappropriate (weather-wise). He always caught something, but most of the times I came up blank. There were references to that in the letter.”
And the advantages for Mr. Boney haven’t all been spiritual. Tremayne has worked very hard to get his Big technologically up-to-date.
“Tremayne is very tech-minded,” said Mr. Boney. “He has taken me off of dial-up. He said it was ancient. He is getting me DSL now. He brought me a modem and router. He is a pretty sharp guy.”
But besides faster Internet, Mr. Boney has also found friendship out of the deal.
“It is good to feel appreciated for your efforts,” said Mr. Boney.
But he said being a Big wasn’t a privilege to be taken lightly.
“The first time we went bowling, Tremayne’s friends were at the bowling alley. He proudly introduced me to all of them saying ‘this is my Big Brother’.
“So I realised this is a big responsibility. He is listening to what I say. I can see progress being made daily.”
To other men who are considering becoming a Big Brother, Mr. Boney said: “It is worth a try.
“So little can have such a great impact on a child. If each man in the community positively impacted the life of one individual it would have a good effect on society.
“I would encourage others to join BBBS. It is not demanding of your time, as one would imagine.
“You do have to plan your time. But with planning it can be done. The Littles have things to do too, so it is not that they are sitting waiting. It is important that the Big is there to offer guidance and some kind of counselling for lack of a better word.”
Tremayne Bean’s letter nominating his Big Brother Crispin Boney as Big Brother of the Year.
The day that I was told I had been matched with a Big, I was shocked and excited. I could not even talk. I was asked questions and I took a long time to answer some of them. We shared information about each other and we realised we enjoyed the same things.
We both like to fish and we’ve been going often. Some days are not fishing days at all.
I have attended church with him and his family on a few occasions.
He is a very interesting guy. He has helped me with my schoolwork and told me anytime I need help just call. Saturdays you can guarantee he will call to see how I am and what I am doing.
My Big and I have done quite a bit together — we took part in the outward bound activity, been to a Gospel Concert, been out to lunch and practiced golf at the driving range. During the summer we also did a lot of swimming.
I love to bowl and I taught him a few tricks. Sometimes he has watched me bowl in my league. My Big and I are good pals. We have a lot of fun together.
I met my Big about two and a half years ago and I was a little shorter than him. Today I am over his head but he is still my Big and I know if I have a problem he would be there to help me out. We have helped each other out on different things. I think my Big and I are a great match.