More Than a Club
When most people hear the word “summer camp”, visions of cabins, campfires, and calamine lotion come to mind. Not many think about soccer balls, stadiums, and Spain—but for seven-year-old Mia Kristine Elizondo, that’s exactly what her summer camp experience was like.
This past June, Mia attended her local Futbol Club Barcelona (FC Barcelona) camp in San Antonio, Texas. For those of us who aren’t sport savvy, FC Barcelona is one of the most well-known sports clubs in the world—specifically for soccer fans. Founded in the Catalan region of Spain, it has become a cultural institution to the extent that their motto translates to “More than a club.”
The FC Barcelona camps are held across the United States during the summer and are a rigorous commitment. They combine teaching their unique style of soccer play and strategy with the promotion of positive values involving HEART, an acronym standing for humility, effort, ambition, respect, and teamwork. Every summer, a few of the campers are selected to participate in the opportunity of a lifetime—the chance to train in Spain at FC Barcelona’s stadium.
During her time at camp, Mia strove to be one of those few. “Every day after the camp, our daughter would ask, ‘Did I get invited?’” says Mia’s father, Ricardo Elizondo Jr. The camp ended, and the days passed. Suddenly in mid-July, Ricardo received a text on his phone that Mia had been selected. “It was an experience our whole family will remember forever,” Ricardo says.
While the text brought amazing news, it also came with a deadline. The family had until September to raise money for Mia to fulfill her dream of playing on the same field as one of her idols. Mia may have kicked her way through the rigorous vetting process to earn her spot in Spain, but the Elizondos still had the rest of the details to figure out in order for her to attend this epic experience.
With the family juggling all these logistics, Custom Ink’s Fundraising site came in for a save. Through Fundraising, the Elizondos could easily set up a website to collect donations from selling custom shirts. The family could hit their goal, and everyone chipping in would be able to show their pride for Mia. “Instead of showing support for my daughter’s soccer journey, we thought it would be a great idea to wear their support!” says Ricardo.
Through a mixture of text and clipart, the Elizondo family put together a Fundraising campaign for #Barçamia—combining the nickname for FC Barcelona and Mia’s name. By creating a slick custom shirt, they were able to provide a fashionable incentive for people to support Mia. It was a win-win situation, with every shirt sold helping fund Mia’s trip. Some of the donors went above and beyond adding in extra money toward the cause, which Custom Ink Fundraising makes possible. With the campaign, the Elizondos were also able to see heartfelt messages from everyone rooting for Mia and helping her with her cause.
While the initial cost to send Mia to camp may have seemed daunting at the time, the support for the #Barçamia campaign was life-changing. “Friends, family, and coaches all rallied around our daughter and came through in a BIG way. We could not imagine how we would have ever done it without their support. Every day we were in tears as we were constantly surprised by those who were not only purchasing shirts but donating to help my daughter fulfill her dreams,” says Ricardo.
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Helping someone realize their dream isn’t something that comes up every day, and the community around Mia raised more than $3,000 towards her camp costs through selling custom shirts. With the Fundraising campaign, the family could focus on getting everything ready for Mia’s trip while Custom Ink handled shipping directly to her supporters.
Even though the Elizondos hadn’t used Custom Ink before, they described the entire process as “phenomenal.” Having shirts to mark this momentous occasion also served as a great kickoff to Mia’s trip. Ricardo credits Custom Ink Fundraising with making their goal. “Your fundraising platform was the reason why we had a successful fundraiser; [it’s] simple, organized and user-friendly.”
Fortunately, all this combined support was enough to send Mia and the rest of her family to Barcelona. At the end of their trip, they celebrated by attending an actual FC Barcelona game and cheered as Mia’s hero Lionel Messi scored a goal!