Students reflect on how participating in Carmel Dads Club at a younger age affected their performance in sports


CLUB CHAMPION: Senior Ally Hull displays her state champion lacrosse shirt for Carmel Dads Club. Hull has many Dads Club trophies of other sports, such as soccer. Sam Shi | Photo

Sameen Siddiqui

Carmel Dads Club was formed in 1959 in order to provide early skill development for athletes according to The first sport offered was football, but over the years, the organization has grown and provides 11 sports a year.

Ally Hull, varsity lacrosse player and senior, said she started playing soccer for the Dads Club in first grade for soccer. She said she also played volleyball in second grade, softball in third grade and lacrosse in sixth grade.

“(The Dads Club) has just been such a big part of my life. If I had just hopped into (lacrosse) during high school I wouldn’t be as experienced working with others. I wouldn’t have the team setting I’ve had all throughout my life,” Hull said. “A lot of people did play a sport starting at a very young age, since there are so many options at (the Dads Club) bridging from football to lacrosse. There’s just so many options people can choose from. Like me, (people) hopped around a few (sports) to see what their specialty was or what they loved the most.”

Jordan Walker, varsity lacrosse player and junior, said he played football starting in sixth grade and started playing lacrosse in seventh grade for the Dads club. He said playing lacrosse for the Dads Club helped introduce him to the game and teach him the basics of the sport such as passing, shooting and catching.

“They teach you all the basics, so when you get to the upper level like high school, you’re ready for more advanced competition. It really just helps you focus in on your fundamentals and build your understanding of the game at a young age so when you get to the more competitive areas, you can fit right in and you don’t need to go through all the basics again,” Walker said.

Bethany Burchill, Dads Club athletic director, said via email that CHS coaches are actively involved with the Dads Club’s travel programs to help their athletes see opportunities to continue to play at the high school level or, as an alternative, in the Dads Club high school recreation programs.

“We are fortunate to live in a community that provides young people the opportunity to be exposed to many sports offerings at a young age. We often hear from high schoolers that their first experience with teamwork was participating with the Dads Club,” Burchill said. “For our young athletes, learning to take direction from coaches and gaining new skills, meet friends and work together as well as be active, have fun and encouraging a healthy lifestyle are all benefits of participation.”

Hull said playing a sport with others starting from elementary school and continuing the sport in high school is great since players can watch each other grow as athletes. She said a benefit she saw from her experience at the Dads Club was meeting new people. Hull said some of the players end up becoming best friends, since a lot of time is spent with each other, forming a ‘little family.’ 

Hull said, “Starting at such a young age definitely taught me how to play more in a team setting, especially because I’ve never played an individual sport. All my life I’ve been working around people and just growing as a whole and I think that definitely taught me how to work with others and adjust to others’ levels too.”