What is the Da Vinci Initiative?
Funded by the European Community, and administered in Scotland by the SFA, the Initiative aims to offer young footballers a gateway to a career in the game.
It also aims to broaden their education by allowing them to sample other countries’ cultures at first hand.
Our involvement this year saw the Queen's Park youngsters, along with members of the youth coaching team and other backroom staff, taking part in a two-week training camp at the Oliva Nova complex (pictured left). While in the Valencia region they also undertook some cultural visits - making good use of the Spanish lessons they were given in preparation for the trip.
It's the fourth year running that the club has been successful in its application for a place on the highly sought-after scheme - a remarkable achievement as the project is usually restricted to full-time professional clubs.
Queen's Park head coach Gardner Speirs this week highlighted once again the value of the Da Vinci programme to the club. His victorious squad at Elgin featured no fewer than eight Da Vinci "graduates", as 17-year-old winger Lee Davison became the latest youngster to make the first team squad after being on one of the European training camps.
The other "Magnificent Seven" were Blair Spittal, Paul Gallacher, Andy Robertson, Lawrence Shankland, Blair Lochhead, Conor McVey and Scott Gibson.
Gardner added: "It's amazing to think that just over a year ago, Lawrence, Andy, Blair Lochhead and Aidan Connolly were young boys looking forward to a Da Vinci trip to Turkey. Andy, Lawrence and Aidan all played at Hampden in front of a 30,000 crowd and a television audience of millions for our first home game against Rangers' this season, while Blair was an unused sub.
"Blair Spittal, Conor McVey and Scott Gibson have also now played for the first team, with Blair on the scoresheet at Elgin.
"That's a tremendous return - and demonstrates the value of the Da Vinci Initiative to a club like Queen's Park. It's also testament to the superb youth set-up we have here at Hampden - and that will only get better when our new training and office headquarters is fully operational after the Commonwealth Games.
To read what the Da Vinci trip meant to Aidan Connolly - and how it has helped him make the step to first team football, click HERE