Spry is thrilled to celebrate the many successful women in the sports industry. We are proud to work with many of these men and women and can’t wait to share their stories and successes with you!
We recently had the opportunity to speak with Valerie Campa. Campa is currently the Athletic Program Coordinator at Feather River College.
Below is a summary of our conversation:
Please give me a brief history of your life/career.
“I grew up in the tiny town of Downieville, CA. Downieville only had a population of 325 people and there were no outlets to play most sports other than basketball, which I started playing in the 6th grade. My dad was a really good basketball player and he would often play pick-up games with some of the pro players in the Los Angeles area when he was younger so from an early age, the game took on great significance in my life. After we moved to Sierra County our family didn’t make a lot of money and my dad saw athletics as a way for me to get an education so I practiced all the time.”
A true scholar-athlete, Campa graduated top 3 in her class with a 4.2 GPA her senior year. After considering numerous academic and athletic options, Campa ultimately decided to stay close to home and attend Feather River College.
“My sister, who is a year younger, and I had decided that we wanted to continue playing together in college. After a year at the University of Nevada, Reno we teamed up at Feather River. We had a pretty good team, and even made it to the Elite 8 my freshman year.”
A first-generation student, Campa would go on to earn her AA in General Studies from Feather River and a B.S. in Business Administration – Sports Management from Columbia Southern University
“After Feather River, I decided to try my hand at business and started my own café back in my hometown. That was a great experience and it was a pretty successful venture. We were even mentioned in a focus article in Sunset Magazine. While there I began coaching varsity basketball at the high school. After five years, however, I decided to sell my shop and go back to Quincy, where I held several coaching positions at the recreation department, and high school and was also the director of a travel club for basketball after I accepted a position at Feather River in the athletic department.”
Throughout her tenure, Campa has served in a number of administrative roles at her alma mater, including assistant beach volleyball coach, Interim Athletic Director, and Program Coordinator, a position she currently holds. She is also an associate faculty member in the Department of Health and Exercise Science. In addition to the multiple hats she wears at Feather River, Campa has also found great success as an official. She is the executive assignor for the Feather River Officials Association and is currently the only female referee in the sport of football. In addition to football, Campa also officiates high school basketball and volleyball and recently worked the California Division 5 State Championship girls’ game, the first woman ever to come from the North Section.
“Officiating has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life. It has also become somewhat of a family affair. It was something my dad and I were going to start together and then he unexpectedly passed away. I also met my husband through officiating and he’s my biggest supporter, and both of my kids are youth officials as well. I think I’ve become a better servant leader as a result of officiating.”
What advice would you offer to aspiring young professionals?
“A personal success doesn’t always have to be personal. Investing in someone else’s success is one of the most important things we can do.”
Who have been your role models/mentors professionally? Personally?
“My dad was my biggest mentor and was a huge motivating force for everything I’ve done in my career from basketball to entrepreneurship to officiating and everything in between. My belief in thinking that I can accomplish anything came from him. Many times in my highest moments of achievement I feel him there looking down on me with pride. Being a role model to other women is oddly enough a way that I can honor him and everything he instilled in me as a woman, an athlete, a coach, and a human being.”
Finish this sentence. The best part of my job is……
“The best part of my job is one I rarely get to experience right away because the most rewarding times are often years later when a student that I worked with reaches out or drops in to say, ‘Thanks, I wouldn’t have made it without you.’ We get these kids during their beginning years of adulthood, so we have an opportunity to make a significant impact on their lives. I’m reminded of a student who came to Feather River after just being released from juvenile prison. I ended up hiring him as a student worker and he was so appreciative to have been given a second chance without judgment. He graduated with his AA, transferred to a 4yr, and got his degree all while playing football, and that first moment I had with him literally changed his life. I didn’t know that until he contacted me years later to thank me.”
What Does Women’s History Month Mean to You?
“Women’s History Month should definitely be a time to celebrate the future of women in sports. While we obviously want to honor the past, I believe it should also be about identifying ways to create a better future – it shouldn’t stop at the end of the month. Life keeps score and we as women have to keep finding ways to put points on the board.”
Throughout her accomplished career, Valerie Campa has been an athlete, coach, official, educator, entrepreneur, and administrator. Regardless of which hat she happens to be wearing at the time, she has been a model of excellence and inspiration in all of them. For these reasons, Spry is proud to honor her as part of our Women’s History Month celebration