Proceeds from this event directly support the professionally guided mentoring programs of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region.


Ryan Smithson, T Mobile

Ryan Smithson_HS for web

Ryan Smithson was an engineer in the Army Reserve and served in Iraq from 2004-2005. He fortified military posts, repaired roads, and convoyed supplies across northern and western Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Upon returning, and for therapeutic reasons, he wrote his memoir, “Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-Year-Old GI” (HarperCollins, 2009), which is read in high schools and colleges around the country. He holds an MA in English from UAlbany and was a Big Brother for years during college.


Ryan currently volunteers on the advisory board for Best Buddies Albany as well as his local fire department, and he works in technology sales to support himself and his two amazing kids. Wanting to try some new art during the pandemic, he created a dancer from butterfly wings for his daughter and instantly knew it was something special.  As he made more pieces, he dubbed the art Frankenflies and now teaches his technique to children and adults of ALL ages and abilities!


Little Adam and Big Stuart

Little Adam and Big Stuart

The wonderful relationship of Little Adam and Big Stuart proves that age isn’t a barrier to building a strong mentorship. Little Adam and Big Stuart go on lots of adventures, many of which are outdoors. They enjoy experiencing nature together. They’ve explored Thatcher Park and have even completed a 25-mile bike ride! Little Adam was impressed by Stuart’s stamina on the ride and shared that he out-did him.