Partnership 2000's support of this project makes it possible to offer a wide variety of popular and competitive sports activities to the entire young population in Merhavim. The aim of this project is to provide training and develop basic skills in basketball and soccer; to promote teamwork and group cooperation, familiarity with the rules of the sport and good sportsmanship. It also seeks to encourage an athletic and more healthy lifestyle, along with enhancing the self-confidence and the self-image of the youngsters, in the belief that it is important to give young athletes a fair chance to achieve impressive accomplishments in local and national competitions.
Thanks to the assistance of Partnership 2000 and the Peres Peace Center, approximately 150 young athletes participate in the extensive activities provided by the soccer and basketball divisions in Merhavim.
There are two soccer teams in Merhavim which train twice a week at the Mabuyim field and at the educational complex stadium; and once a week, on Fridays, the two teams train together.
At Chanukah a joint tournament was held for all of the elementary school children from Merhavim as well as youngsters from the Eshkol region. In April our soccer team participated in two national tournaments organized by the Peres Peace Center - one took place in Kiryat Gat, where the Merhavim youngsters competed against youngsters from East Jerusalem, and the second took place in Rahat with youngsters from that town.
There are four mini-basketball teams for children and youth in Merhavim which provide recreation for about 100 young athletes from Grades 1-12.
During the regular team activities and weekly practice, the children's team from the basketball academy in Sderot was hosted in Merhavim in January. In addition, exhibition games were held with the children's team from Ofakim, and with teams from Ein Yahav and from Lehavim.
This year as well, the program will direct efforts toward expanding the teams and the number of participants in each age group by recruiting new children and young people.