Oaks Dads' Club Provides 800 Children with an Athletic Outlet
The Oaks Dads’ Club (ODC) kicked off their latest baseball and softball season on Saturday, March 25. The club and non-profit, founded back in 1954, will hold games almost every night from now until May. Their non-competitive soccer season is also underway, and the competitive season will start up again this fall.
Ever since a group of local dads got together more than 60 years ago to start up a local baseball club, the group now known as the ODC has grown to the point where about 800 children every year play in the leagues organized by the volunteers running the organization.
“We give our time to run the organization,” said Sean Jez, corporate board president of ODC and attorney at Fleming | Nolen | Jez, L.L.P. “That includes everything from getting people registered, to cutting the grass, to making sure the fields are playable, to even just paying the bills.”
About 16 members of the organization sit on the board of each sport – currently, baseball, softball and soccer, though basketball and football have been included in the past. According to Jez, several members serve on multiple boards, and as a volunteer-based organization, they heavily rely on the assistance of parents in the community to organize, prepare and run all of their events. Most recently, around 150 volunteer parents showed up to prepare the softball and baseball fields for the season.
Group photo of young athletes from the ODC.
The ODC has been operating for generations, and grandparents who once stepped up to the batter’s box during their childhood have the chance to watch their own grandchildren stand in their place and cheer them on.
“What has made the most impact on me is watching the kids grow up, and not just my kids but all of ODC’s kids,” Jez said. “Some of the kids that were on my t-ball team are as big as me now. And it’s just a really cool feeling walking through the park and having kids and adults that used to play here come up to me and ask me how I’m doing – it just shows how much they appreciate what ODC has done.”
The ODC has grown over the past six-plus decades, and the organization intends to continue that growth far into the future both to provide children with a place to play sports and to share their values and purpose with the community.
“We are a family based, kid-friendly environment,” he said. “We want kids to come here and play, not only to play sports but also to learn sportsmanship, learn to be a good person, and to appreciate the people around you.”