College of the Redwoods


Cal Poly Humboldt

College Matters | Athletic teams reach out to community to help

This article was originally posted in the College Matters column of the Times-Standard.

Thursday, February 22, 2024 - 10:27am

Our athletic department is more than just a combination of sports teams. College of the Redwoods athletics plays a very important role in shaping the atmosphere of our college campuses and in developing community ties. I have seen the power our teams have to bring people together and provide students, staff, and alumni with a sense of belonging and pride.

I have been in the audience at several of our games, meets, or matches where our colors and reverberating cheers created a sense of unity and excitement among spectators.

Besides competing in athletic contests, civic engagement is a proud tradition for College of the Redwoods Athletics — one that benefits our community and creates a sense of well-being in the student-athletes themselves. Our coaches’ commitment to engaging in the larger community and focus on making a positive impact on everyone in our service district reflects the importance of giving back to society.

Many readers may have seen the Jan. 27, 2024, Times-Standard story highlighting the CR football team’s visit to Grant Elementary School as part of the Great Kindness Challenge Week. I want to share the link to the story because it holds personal significance for me. Not only because the story underscores the substantial impact the event had on our student-athletes, but also for the individual connections made during the visit. Adam Symonds, featured in the story, expresses his appreciation that he is able to serve as a role model to the students, proving that you can be both an athlete and a successful college student. Furthermore, the image captures Evan Raymond interacting with my granddaughter during recess and I can see the excitement in her face as she talks to Evan.

But this story is not unique, our student-athletes are often out in the community. Notable instances include our Athletics Department hosting the Dick Nicali semi-finals for H-DNL high schools, organizing the Six Rivers youth football jamboree, and participating in multiple youth football games; the baseball team assisted Ferndale Volunteer Fire Department with the annual tree lighting, set up tables and chairs for the Portuguese Hall’s annual beans and linguica dinner, attended Little League games to support youth players, and provided yard care assistance for elderly members of the Ferndale community; our softball team volunteered at STOMP Out Epilepsy and the Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) Awareness Walk/Run event; the men’s basketball team volunteered for softball field project renovation and played basketball with students at Pine Hill school; our cross country/track teams supported elementary and middle school cross country meets; the women’s Soccer team volunteered to prepare the field for the Mad River Youth Soccer League season; and most all our athletic teams volunteer to read to elementary school students on Dr. Seuss Day during Read Across America Week.

We believe that these community events not only draw College of the Redwoods closer to the community but also have the potential to inspire young people to go to college in the future. While our focus is often on winning on the court or in the field, I believe that these opportunities are double and sometimes triple wins for College of the Redwoods.

We are fortunate to have an athletics department and a coaching staff who value creating a culture of community service in college athletes. I am privileged to work at an institution that recognizes that a strong culture of service builds character in our students and helps build teams that reflect our community values.

Dr. Keith Flamer is the president of the College of the Redwoods.