Please click here to view the original ReachOut! London blog post from which this was taken.

April 2011

41 ReachOut! mentees aged 13-14 years enjoyed four days in Barcelona last month on the ReachOut! Football Tour – a reward for the enormous effort they have made in their projects in London and Manchester. (Several of the boys also spent hours organising a fundraising football tournament earlier this year.)

The trip focused mainly on football; ReachOut! uses football as a complement to the formation of children through interesting projects such as “Soccer School” in London, which combines football training with academic and personal development.

On Sunday, as a perfect way to start the trip, a football training session was held for the kids on “Can Caralleu”, an excellent astro turf football field. The kids played a match between teams from Manchester and London, with a close victory for the “Londoners”!

After the game and a quick dinner, we headed to Cornellà, stadium of RCD Espanyol, a football club that plays in the Spanish premier división (La Liga). Espanyol had invited the entire group to the match against Atletico Madrid. 5 lucky ReachOut! mentees had the incredible opportunity to appear in the team photo moments before the game – in front of more than 33,000 supporters and lots of press! Thanks to Español for their amazing support.

The meeting point on Monday afternoon was the Nou Camp, home of FC Barcelona. The Catalan club invited the whole ReachOut! group (thanks to the efforts of Javier Masana) to take a tour of the stadium, including visits to the museum, the stadium, the locker room and press room. The kids were thrilled with the experience.After visiting the Nou Camp we went to Hard Rock Café in Plaza Catalunya to enjoy their tasty burgers. It was a beautiful sight to see the children scattered at different tables, as well as the 15 members of staff, gathering strength for the next day. The evening ended with a stroll down the Ramblas to the sea before returning to the hostel for bed. On Tuesday we visited Port Aventura (the second largest theme park in Europe!) where we’d been invited to spend an incredible day – for free! The boys had a great day! A huge thank you to Port Aventura. The Manchester group left for home on Wednesday morning and London spent the day strolling along the beach and playing an intense match between mentors and mentees on the splendid football pitch of La Barceloneta. To be honest, the kids played an amazing game but they couldn’t beat the quality of the ReachOut! staff…

The match put an end to an amazing journey which the boys will certainly always remember with a smile. Noteworthy is the flawless performance of each and every one of the boys, not easy for 13-14 year olds. There was not a single problem for 4 days and their behaviour was simply exemplary.

We should also acknowledge the hard work of all the staff, always willing to do anything to solve problems to coordinate a large group of people. It’s been really nice to spend hours working on the Tour Organization just for the huge reward of thanks from the boys, constantly demonstrated in their state of mind, behaviour and words.

-Javi Segarra

ReachOut boys on the pitch pre-match at Espanyol v Athletico Madrid

ReachOut boys on the pitch pre-match at Espanyol v Athletico Madrid