Here for Kids takes flight
March 1, 2011
Randy Farris has been associated with soccer in Park City for so long, he couldn’t remember the precise time he held his first camp here.
He said it all began around 1975 or 1976.
"Around then," he said, laughing.
Nowadays, Farris is still making an impact on the Park City sports scene with his newly-launched Here for Kids International foundation. Having worked closely with Kids Alive International a Christian-based foundation to help underprivileged children across the globe for many years Farris, a professor of kinesiology at Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga, Calif., turned his focus to his own project after his tenure at the school became part-time.
Farris started the foundation a year ago, and now that he has his spring seasons to himself, he is turning his focus toward providing sports-based platforms to deprived children in areas such as the Dominican Republic and Peru.
He has asked many former participants in his soccer camps here in Park City to assist with Here for Kids International. Farris has also organized donations for Kids Alive from residents in the Park City area through his Park City Soccer Camp since 2004.
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Farris and close friend Bob Martin were behind one of the first organized soccer camps in Park City back in the ’70s and went on to become coaches at Saint Mary’s during the 1980s. Farris coached both the men’s and women’s soccer teams at Saint Mary’s. Martin, who would later move to Park City permanently, took over the men’s team from Farris in 1984.
The soccer camp the two started over 30 years ago continues rolling on and is taking some of its past participants and coaches along for the ride with Here for Kids.
Alexandra Phillips, a 23-year-old alumna of Park City High School, was involved in the soccer camp during her high school years and even after playing collegiate soccer at the University of Washington, Phillips jumped at the chance to partake in a service trip like the ones Here for Kids is taking in the next couple months.
"(Randy) first came to me about six years ago, while I was still in high school, and he’d always talked about going to the Dominican Republic," she said. "When you do these trips, it’s just a good learning experience."
Phillips is currently taking pre-med classes at the University of Utah, and is looking forward to using her love of service in a different way.
"I plan to be in the medical field and I have always been passionate in helping different communities," she said. "I’ve always been comfortable in getting out into different worlds."
Farris and Here for Kids will be taking college athletes on their spring-break vacations from universities all over the western United States to help in the sports-based service projects.
Students from schools such as Stanford, Santa Clara, Sacramento State and the University of California at Berkeley will be heading to Jarabacoa, D.R., March 19-27.
From March 26 through April 2, athletes from Boise State University will be heading to Monte Plata, D.R.
Here for Kids will make its first visit to Peru, when the students from Saint Mary’s and Fresno State University will be heading to Lima to participate in a sports camp.
There will be about 17 student athletes traveling in each group.
Farris’ foundation, partnered with Kids Alive International, will be focused on helping at-risk youths become associated with sports like soccer.
The foundation will be collecting soccer cleats, uniforms and other soccer-based materials for donation.
"They love soccer," Farris said. "It’s just growing to a bigger scale."
He added that camps like this aren’t seen in many of the areas Here for Kids will visit and that it will be modeled after the long-running and successful camp in Park City.
"We are the sports program for these kids," Farris said. "We come down and do sports stuff and help. It’s just like giving them a complete experience."
As for the Park City camp, it continues to move along strong as ever, with the first-ever month-long session from June 20 to July 16, 2011. There will be a donation drop box at the Basin Recreation Fieldhouse for those who wish to donate shoes or clothes for Here for Kids.
For more information on how to donate or become involved with Here for Kids International, visit its website at http://www.hereforkids.bbnow.org .