A goal to serve the children
Soccer, summer and service just seem to go together for Randy Farris.
The lovable soccer guru will be in town to run his 28th annual soccer camp for Park City Recreation, and not much has changed. He is still offering college-quality soccer instruction to aspiring young soccer players. A portion of his camp earnings are still going to Kids Alive, a service organization that supplies housing and education to orphans in the Dominican Republic. And once again, he will be departing from Park City to run a soccer camp and service mission to the Dominican Republic and would love it if the community would support Kids Alive both financially and with clothing and supplies.
Farris, a kinesiology professor at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif., was a former soccer coach at St. Mary’s College with Parkite Bob Martin. The two began holding soccer camps in Park City in 1979. They also ran a similar camp in Aspen, until recently, when Farris took over the program.
Farris finds that kids love to attend his camp year after year and he always tries to offer them something new to build upon.
"A lot of kids come year after year and are proud of their camp T-shirt collections," Farris laughs.
The camp is for kids ages 7-15, and Farris along with other camp coaches, try to teach important points of soccer in a fun game-type environment.
He also uses his time in Park City to continue collecting items to help his orphan friends at Kids Alive.
Kids Alive is a Christian-based organization that serves children in Third World countries. Leslie Troutwein, a former participant in the camp, and her husband Vic, are directors of the Dominican Republic arm of the organization and asked for Farris’ help many years ago. Farris visits the country often to help build homes and schools, bring supplies and lead soccer camps.
Kids Alive now has four sites in the Dominican Republic — Arrellano, Jarabacoa, Constanza and Monte Plata — with housing developments, orphanages and schools to help care for the orphaned children. Every summer Farris travels to Jarabocoa to visit the kids, and teach them soccer skills. Every January, he travels with a group of college students from St. Mary’s during a special term to visit all of the sites, work with the children and run soccer camps.
The Jarabocoa site houses 60 kids from all sorts of family backgrounds. Farris speaks of a recently rescued family of five children where the mother was trying to starve her children to appease a boyfriend. Neighbors were trying to sneak food to the children and were finally able to get them into Kids Alive housing. The children arrived starving and dehydrated, but are finally adapting to their new, safe surroundings.
Farris says that the Dominican children love the game of the soccer and are always eager to learn more about the sport even though they can’t watch a professional game. Even with all of the national hub-bub of the 2006 World Cup, Farris suspects that most of them have no idea that the tournament is currently being played.
"The conditions are bad," Farris said. "There’s kids out there that have soccer and don’t have the privilege of watching World Cup. These kids are just happy to kick a soccer ball."
Before Farris heads to Jarabocoa, he hopes to collect items and money to take to the kids. Park City Recreation is donating eight goals to the Dominican children and financial support to ship them would be greatly appreciated. They are also in need of computers, especially laptops for the schools. New and used clothing and black shoes are also in high demand.
Donations may be dropped off at the end of camp daily. Monetary donations to help ship the soccer equipment can be sent to: Kids Alive, c/0 Bob Martin, P.O. Box 2242, Park City, Utah 84060. Shipping services may also be donated by calling Martin at 655-5766.
The Park City soccer camp will meet daily July 10-14 and July 17-21 from 9 a.m. noon at the North 40 field. The camp offers skill development for youth ages 7-15 through fun games and competitions. The cost of the camp is $70. Deadline to register for seesion one is July 7, and July 14 for session two. A $10 fee will be assessed for late registrations. Every registered participant receives a camp T-shirt. For more information and to register, call the Park City Racquet Club at 615-5401.
To sponsor a Kids Alive child or learn more about the organization, log onto http://www.kidsalive.org. A $30 donation gives a child food, education and shelter.
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