Lifelong Connections Made through Willmar Sports Camp

“Whoa!”  Ziham learns the command to say to slow down the horse she’s riding.

Ziham and her siblings are taking their first spin on horseback, while their mom Madina proudly films each of their rides; all the while laughing and cheering her kids on.

Madina has been able to expose her kids to a new life in Willmar ever since meeting the Scheele family at their summer youth sports camp. The sports camp is run by Melissa and Nathan Scheele, the Arrive Ministries’ SALT coordinators in Willmar.

The sports summer camp was held from July 15-19, 2019 near an apartment complex in Willmar where a lot of Somalis live.

Every evening around 50 Somali kids meet up in the open field between the apartments to play team sports and do arts and crafts.

We are making relationships with the Somali moms and Somali elders who come to the camp to supervise
“In addition to making relationships with Somali kids through our week-long summer camp. We are making relationships with the Somali moms and Somali elders who come to the camp to supervise,” said Nathan Scheele.

“My kids love to play with other kids, they love basketball, soccer and playing with play-doh. It is very convenient for me to attend, and my kids enjoy it,” said Madina, a Somali mother of four.

But the greatest joy came to Madina in the form of her friendship with Melissa, whom she met the first year her kids attended the camp.

I am a single mother, I don’t have family here. Melissa is my second family, she is more than a best friend. I don’t know what I’d do without Melissa
“I am a single mother, I don’t have family here. Melissa is my second family, she is more than a best friend. I don’t know what I’d do without Melissa,” said Madina.

“It has been such a blessing to do life with Madina and her children. My family loves them! We spend a lot of time together: cooking, laughing, eating, doing homework, reading, talking, and celebrating our life events together,” said Melissa.

Madina says she relies on Melissa to talk to her kids’ teachers about their grades, and to help her learn to read and write English through the Somali Adult Literacy Training program.

They have become like family to us… I am grateful that soccer camp brought us together
“They have become like family to us. Madina talks about moving and I tell her she’s not allowed to ever move away! I am grateful the soccer camp brought us together,” said Melissa.

“Relationships with Somali families are forming as a result of this camp. You get connected, and stay connected and do life stuff together. If there are needs, we can love and serve them practically. That’s what we do,” said Nathan.

And sometimes, doing the “life stuff” together means getting to ride a horse for the first time.

 

Video of Zihem Horseback Riding

The Somali Adult Literacy Training program is all about sharing Jesus with our Somali neighbors through literacy and friendship. Teams of teachers and tutors are led by site coordinators in multiple Twin Cities and greater Minnesota locations (including in Willmar). Learn more about SALT here.