February 2021 The Carmel community exudes a tradition of excellence in many categories including youth sports, and many of the early chapters for the community’s exceptional youth athletes begin at the Carmel Dads’ Club (CDC). I spoke with CDC President Jack Beery about the club’s pivot around the pandemic and the brand-new fieldhouse that will soon house the club’s 12 sports programs and create an abundance of opportunities for our community. A Brief History of CDC More than six decades ago, a small group of Carmel fathers conceived a youth sports program that provided early skill development for youth athletes. The first sport offered by the club was football. Today, CDC is a not-for-profit organization that offers 12 sports per year. CDC also provides special programs for emotionally and physically impaired children. And while skill development remains an important component for the club, it also provides an alternative for kids who may never start in high school sports or go pro. CDC isn’t just coaching skills on the field or on the courts, they are coaching life skills that the kids will take with them throughout their lives. Planning, Playing and Pushing Through Pandemic Like everything else, CDC had to make swift and precise adjustments to ensure that its members could continue to play in the club’s programs throughout the pandemic. The safety of the players, coaches and volunteers has remained the club’s top priority. Beery shared that the club is preparing for the spring and fall outdoor sports to resume its historical participation levels. “The Carmel Dads’ Club took a position that whatever we needed to do to safely provide youth sports, we were going to do,” Beery emphasized. “We’ve been working along with Carmel Clay Schools and the Hamilton County Health Department, and we’ve put together a protocol plan that has been working very well. Our parents and kids have been doing a great job with . So, we feel very good about those going forward. We hope that people will continue to feel comfortable with the protocols that we’ve put in place for both our outdoor and indoor sports.” CDC’s New Fieldhouse Is a Dream Come True CDC’s new fieldhouse is under construction, and the club anticipates its grand opening to be later this year, in November. The cost of the project is approximately $11 million and is funded through the Clay Township Impact Program. The fieldhouse is located on the club’s property at Mark Badger Memorial Park. It will feature four basketball courts and a full-sized synthetic field lined for both football, soccer and lacrosse. There will be a track encircling the field, and the fieldhouse will also include three batting cages for baseball and softball. “When Carmel Dads’ Club was founded more than 60 years ago, it would have been impossible to predict the growth that would one day precipitate the construction of this new facility,” Beery stated. “However, seven or eight years ago, it became apparent that in order to take our programming to the next level, we needed to look for an indoor facility. Our groups that were having to travel outside of the community for additional training and development opportunities will be able to stay here in Carmel. This facility will make sure that we have the resources to provide additional programming that we can now look towards.” When asked what Beery is most excited about with regards to the new fieldhouse, he replied, “The most important thing for me is that this facility is going to be fantastic and will provide more opportunities to create memories for our kids and families.” Beery expressed his gratitude to the individuals who have made the construction of the facility a priority over the past years and to the Carmel community for its unwavering support of the club and its 4,000-plus volunteers that run the club, annually. “We cannot thank the moms and dads enough and the people from the community who volunteer in this organization,” Beery said. “I would be remiss if I didn’t also thank the Clay Township Board for their support of this project. They have been a huge part of the vision of this project, and they understand the importance of a youth sports experience in Carmel kids’ lives.” Coming This Fall! The club is anticipating the completion of the fieldhouse around the first part of November. “We will have a grand opening, and we will invite the community to come out and tour the new building,” Beery shared. “We’re going to create some different sporting opportunities—some that might be nontraditional sports. We will continue to work with Carmel Clay Schools, and our plan is to also work with the Carmel Clay Parks and their summer parks programs. We’re hoping the community will come in and utilize the track during set-aside hours. We’re very excited about this new chapter for the Carmel Dads’ Club and think sets us up for the future and to continue to provide great experiences for our families and kids. This will be something that all of our membership over these past 61 years and the entire Carmel community can be very proud of.” For registration and other additional information on the Carmel Dads’ Club, visit the club’s website at carmeldadsclub.org.