It's the trip of a lifetime and one that could help lay the groundwork for future U.S.-Cuba relations and it’s all on the shoulders of 14-year-old West Hartford baseball players.
From April 9 to 16, 18 West Hartford students will represent the United States in Cuba. The young baseball players will play four games there and forge new relationships.
"We feel very lucky," said Jack Brennan, one of the baseball players going.
Jack and his teammates will be using the game they love to open doors, and they've been preparing for this trip for months.
"We've been working in the cages and we've also been practicing Spanish," said Jack.
"Our goal here is to give these kids a lifetime opportunity and I think they'll have that. I think it'll be a lesson they'll never forget," said Tim Brennan.
Brennan is an assistant coach and spearheaded the U.S.-Cuba Goodwill Tour. It took a year to plan, and they're not planning to arrive to the island empty-handed. Nearly 1,000 pounds of donated baseball gear, school supplies, musical instruments and first aid and dental kits will travel down with them.
"The donations, we consider them gifts to the Cubans for having us there," said Brennan.
The night before they left, Senator Chris Murphy stopped by to wish everyone well during the week-long trip. He stressed the importance of baseball diplomacy.
"It's the only country this close to the United States that we have no relationship with," said Murphy. "This is one of the ways we open up relationships between the United States and Cuba."
Organizers also hope to bring a Cuban team to West Hartford this summer. In order to make that a reality, they still have a lot of money left to raise. Brennan says they've raised about $10,000 and need to raise another $50,000.
If you'd like to donate, you can head here.