"We Are One" is the message the Minnetonka High School Football Team lives, and it's a powerful one.
The second annual "We Are One" football camp brought together a great group of students, grades 3-12 with special needs to the high school football field for an afternoon of fun and connection. Each student was matched with a Minnetonka football player and made to feel part of the team. Students learned about the sport, put on a helmet and pads, and made plays, throws and catches with their new buddies, forming friendships along the way.
This empowering event is hosted by Coach Dave Nelson and the Student Support Services leadership team. The event is designed for all students and abilities, so every student could participate.
"My son has no athletic ability but is thrilled to be one of the team!" said one parent. Another added that her student was so impacted by this event that he, "has been practicing drills since last year when they had the first We Are One camp!"
Supported by paraprofessionals and Minnetonka staff who already have one-to-one relationships with the students and families, the focus stayed on having fun and developing a sense of belonging.
Michelle Ferris, executive director of Student Support Services, said, "This is a very special night for the students with disabilities as well as the football team, who all come together to coach, mentor and make new friends in the spirit of friendship."
But the connections don't stop there. Each of these students received special tickets for themselves and their families to attend the first home football game and cheer on their new friends.