Soccer Camp: Day 1 w/ Soccer Without Borders

Photojournalist of the Day: Jolien Roelens (Belgium)

This morning we had our first day of camp, so we had to get up early. This time we were all on time and could grab breakfast together. Once we finished, we immediately took the metro. After a short walk, we arrived at the soccer field. The day didn’t start good for Yassin, Marie-Sophie and me because our baggage still didn’t get to us and we had nothing to wear. Luckily a couple of other participants had some clothes for us that we could borrow. In Alewife, we met the team of Soccer Without Borders, they were all so friendly and kind and starts to play soccer with us. Then the director of the program told us about the four rules: be positive, speak English, respect each other and the material and try everything. After his speech, the girls and boys were separated, and we started with some warming up games.

Step by step (and you can take that very literally), I learned new names and I could match them with all the new faces. Our first lesson was about passing a ball. There are three things that you must remember: first, COMMUNICATION you need to speak, shout out names, ask for a pass… Next you have THE BANANA; it’s the arch of your foot and you must use this to pass the ball. And the third step is PLANT AND POINT. Your not dominant foot has to point in the direction you want to pass. I really enjoyed practising this and every coach was really nice. At the end we played a little game. I met a lot of new girls, but I want to say thanks to Vanessa and her sister Rachel, because they made me feel comfortable, they askes me questions about Belgium and my family and I really made me feel welcome. They Rock! GRLPWR. IN the afternoon we had free time and could choose what to do. I went to the Public Library, a Protestant Church and we sav the finish line of the Boston Marathon. I found I chocking to be at a place and see the two monuments were a couple of years ago, people died. It gave me goose bumps, especially because there were a man and his wife, right at the finish, who gave food the homeless people. And they were really grateful. After dinner, we went to the Charles River to see the sunset. It was like a kind of double date: Lars and the two girls. We really had fun and were almost attacked by a group of gooses, but luckily we could escape. The date and evening went well and we can conclude that there wasn’t a third wheel 😊. Today was really incredible, when we played soccer I felt really strong and powerful and the finish line made me realize that life can end any moment and you should just enjoy! Ps: some more good news: our luggage arrived and now we all have fresh clothes and a pyjama. I’m ready for tomorrow, another great day.

Bears, Wolves and Dragons!

Photojournalist of the Day: Darya

Today was a very busy day! In the morning, we went to the soccer field, where we practiced our skills. We learned the three main points that make a good pass. It was very interesting and exciting.

Next, we played football. Between the girls there were three teams called Bears, Wolves and Dragons. We had the opportunity to choose a name for our teams and introduce them! Our coaches supported us and this made us stronger. I am very pleased with our game! I really believe that football brings people together and makes them happier!

Darya Photo.jpeg

Storytelling Day 2

Photojournalists of the Day: Aarti, Sunita, Jolina, Sandhya, and Smartdini (India)

 Today we did many things like sharing our story with group of people with different country. We have to tell about sport how have impacted in my life and leadership. We have to discuss about our story with our team and everyone have to say their story and we have to give feedback for everyone. I told my story to everyone and I like story telling. My best moment was giving the speech in front of so many people.

 We had game also.  This game I really like because this game shows unity which I show and did. I learnt that team work is very important to get success in your goal. Teamwork makes a hard task into easy task because everyone gives efforts to do the task. Helping each other is sportsman spirit.

My favourite activity was team building activity because it was about communication and working together in all sports. We are come here to learn from different countries and we should do that in team. I learnt something new which is to forget scary things which confines us from mixing with others. Confidence is important tor because it helps me to succeed in my life and build my leadership skills.

Storytelling Day 1


Photojournalists of the Day: Elene R., Mariam T., Natela T. (Georgia)

Today was had training in the development of leadership skills. Then we looked at semi-final USA vs. ENGLAND, in the evening we played football. My favourite moment was when we watched semi-final with everyone because of all the emotions that we had during the match and when we played football because football is my life. We learned leadership features. This is so important because this is a camp, and we try to learn everything well and develop. I discovered many things about leadership and teamwork. I learn that leadership is more than just a skill. I learn how to make a good speech and as a storyteller I grow up. I always had a troubles with storytelling and this workshop helped me to improve my skills. All good leaders need to be good storytellers.


The Future of Wheelchair Basketball

Photojournalist of the Day: Saowalak N. (Thailand)

Hello! My name is Saowalak but my nickname is ‘Mook’. Today is the final day of camp and I have learned so much about wheelchair basketball here in Illinois. I learned new skills, especially in the shooting position, and the importance of teamwork.

The camp also gave me new friends from other countries! Today was a very good day playing wheelchair basketball with my teammates. I’m also glad I was able to score for our team!

I hope that in future I can help my team grow and teach the new generation of wheelchair basketball athletes in Thailand. Thank you for this opportunity!


The Sports Visitor Program entitled, "Youth Wheelchair Basketball, Disability Rights, and Inclusion", brings 14 participants from Kazakhstan and Thailand to the U.S. for a fast-paced short-term sports cultural exchange.

Team-building and new lessons

Photojournalists of the Day: Leona A., Sara I., Karla K., Melani M., and Mara S. (Croatia)

Today, we have visited Adventure Tree2Tree park, and we did lot of activities there. We had unforgettable moments there!  It was really fun and educating. We had two parts of it. The first one was team building. It was very challenging, and we had to work together to finish our tasks.  The second part of our program was the actual adventure park. We climbed the trees and had ziplines and ropes to go from one to the other tree. My favourite moment was zipline, because I was little bit scared and I figured it out that zipline is really great. It was challenging and I think lot of us defeated out fears. We laughed throughout the whole course and it was great.


Every one of us was part of one team and all of us need to take the same responsibility to achieve team goaI. I have learned a lot of things, but most important one for me was team work. Without team support everything is more difficult. For example now we know that one person alone can't do a lot but if you help each other and work together we can do everything. We learned how much communication and focus is important. It is interesting how much we can learn just in one game and in general in sports. I also learned that you can make goals by yourself, but it's a lot easier when you have someone to help you and you work as a team. I'm very honored to be a part of an amazing program.