Most players on the Flamingos are working professionals by day, rugby players by night. Players range in age from 20 to 45 years old. The adult league supports Fort Collins Youth Rugby league (with boys and girls teams) through coaching and mentorships. Many of those youth players go on to play on the adult men’s and women’s teams. While youth rugby players come from all over the city, Whitmore has made it his personal mission and a team goal to pull troubled teens into the league. “Rugby saved my life,” he says. “I was headed into a life of gangs and violence when my buddies got me to come out and play in a sport that was sometimes violent, but it had structure. And the team was a family.” Charlie Snyder was club president when Whitmore was a young player. Snyder downplays Whitmore’s troubled roots, but is clearly proud of the player and the man he has become. “Terje was a typical young guy with a real talent for the sport,” he says. “He’s a hardnosed old-style rugby player. He’s learned a lot about technique and finesse in his years of play, but in his heart he likes to square up and go head to head.” Snyder says the ties among rugby players are akin to family. “Risking your body together on a regular basis over years … you tend not to forget those guys.” That type of battle-like bond coupled with the social aspect of rugby is exactly the environment Whitmore thinks will benefit at-risk teens through the club’s “From the Streets to the Pitch” program. At present, the effort is in its infancy, but community advocates for at-risk youth are beginning to show an interest in lending their support and recommendation as well. “I just want to offer an outlet,” Whitmore says.
Commitment to Community
NCRC supports several charitable causes, including Toys for Tots and food drives for the food banks. Additionally, NCRC has made helping kids in the community a formal priority by choosing Realities for Children as their official team charity. “We pledge to donate 50 percent of all that we raise through events to Realities for Children in 2010,” says Whitmore. Realities President Craig Secher is enthusiastic about the new partnership. “We are very pleased to be chosen by Northern Colorado Rugby,” Secher says, “In addition to pledging to raise over $10,000 for the abused and at-risk children we serve this year, they are also stepping up as lead volunteers and helping to raise awareness about the needs of abused children in Larimer County. Their commitment to our community’s children is a powerful statement about the true character of this team and their impact countywide as an organization.”
Corporate Players Club
To aid in the goal of broadening their reach, the rugby club has begun a partnership program with local businesses. However, the Corporate Players Club (CPC) is more than just a sponsorship program, Whitmore explains. “The intention is to get small businesses involved with the team. We want CPC members to enjoy the benefits of being a part of our community.” Whitmore has spearheaded the effort to build this new program, whose early members include
Published on Aug 7, 2013
Published on Aug 7, 2013
April - Northern Colorado Economy A powerful issue with an article focus on Northern Colorado’s business, building, economy, lifestyle an...