‘An Extremely Committed Volunteer’: High Praise for Tracey Karl as She Steps Down from NCHS All Sports Booster Club

Tom Stadler recalls vividly the first time he met Tracey Karl. It was more than a decade ago, and the pair stood atop the hill at Conner Field, watching 9-year-olds play in a baseball game that had dragged on for nearly three hours. Stadler, then president of New Canaan Baseball, recalled saying out loud that the game had been going on too long. “And she says, ‘Yes, it’s too long,’ and so we started this conversation and she says what about this and that, and I said, ‘Tracey, would you like to be on the baseball board?’ It was the first time we’d met and I didn’t know her from Adam.”

In characteristic fashion, Karl said ‘Yes’ to the demanding volunteer position and went on to make lasting changes to the organization that have streamlined and otherwise operations, all with a goal of improving the youth sports experience for New Canaan kids. “I think the world of Tracey,” Stadler said.

‘Our Town, Our Time’: Ram Spirit Fund Regroups, Expands Sponsorships for Turf Fields at NCHS

The Ram Spirit Fund
With prospective six-figure donors urging them to garner wider community support, the architects of a plan to create two additional turf playing fields at New Canaan High School are calling on local youth sports families to get behind the estimated $2 million project. Launched about one month ago on a tight timeline, the project calls for one regulation turf field ($800,00) and one full 80-by-60-yard practice field ($400,000) by the water towers at NCHS, game-quality lighting at both ($300,000) and new turf installation at Dunning Stadium ($500,000), according to the Ram Spirit Fund’s leadership. Its committee includes the NCHS athletic director, recreation director of the town and officials from the All Sports Booster Club and youth field hockey, football, lacrosse and soccer groups. If a reasonable number of New Canaan families step up by sponsoring a square yard of turf at $500 each—the Ram Spirit Fund this week is launching a new “Our Town, Our Time” fundraising push—then the base money raised there combined with what’s been pledged will put the project on track, said Michael Murphy of the All Sports Booster Club. “There are 3,000 youth sports families in this town and we’ve giving them an opportunity to show support for this community project,” Murphy said.

Letter: Supporting Youth Sports and Fitness through the Ram Spirit Fund

Dear Editor,

I’m writing to bring attention to a broad based community wide effort to improve our athletic fields. I invite every New Canaan resident to step forward and support the Ram Spirit Fund (RSF) Capital Campaign in progress now. The RSF represents a new collaborative effort that links our High School athletic program with various youth sports organizations with a shared vision to enhance our town’s athletic complex to meet current and future needs. Organizations coming together to create the Ram Spirit Fund include the NC Rams All Sports Booster Club, New Canaan Youth Football, New Canaan Soccer Association, New Canaan Youth Field Hockey and New Canaan Lacrosse Association. Phase 1 of this campaign seeks to raise Two Million Dollars to cover the cost of creating two new turf fields located between the current Water Tower Turf Field and Dunning Stadium (one full size regulation field and one smaller practice field), along with the re-surfacing of the Dunning turf.

Full Court Peace: NCHS Basketball Coach Unites Kids, Communities through Hoops

If Mike Evans had an epiphany—if there’s a single moment that gave rise to the nonprofit organization he founded in 2006—it likely arrived moments after he met the Dalai Lama as a semi-pro basketball player in Northern Ireland. Working at a hoops clinic that had brought together very young children from different backgrounds there, Evans shook hands with the Buddhist leader during the latter’s world peace tour in Belfast, and moments later, two girls—one Protestant, the other Catholic—got into a fight. “They whisked the girls away,” Evans recalled on a recent morning. “The reconciliation was not happening at home or in the classroom for these kids. You get the toughest kids, and at 15 years old they’re on the brink of being a productive citizen or joining the IRA [Irish Republican Army] or UDA [Ulster Defence Association].”

Following the incident, Evans—a 2001 Weston High School graduate and all-state basketball player who would go on to earn a bachelor’s degree in writing at Hamilton College (where he set several scoring records) and master’s in education from Harvard—reflected on something that had happened to him as a child growing up in Fairfield County.

All Sports Booster Club Contribution to NCHS Programs ‘Essential’

New Canaan High School sports teams, fed by fun and popular town-run and private youth programs, regularly produce standout athletes in all areas—this season, for example, in cross country, soccer, football and field hockey—and high success among county and state competitors. A core piece of the coaching staffs that oversee teams on all levels are assistants, and district officials say that without the generous contributions of the only organization in town that supports all sports—the All Sports Booster Club—New Canaan couldn’t get stipends into those assistants’ hands and likely couldn’t play and compete on the level it does. “We would struggle to continue our programs at the level at which we have them without such a generous donation by the All Sports Booster Club each year,” Acting Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi said on a recent afternoon. “The donations that the All Sports Booster Club makes toward the stipends for these volunteer coaches really are essential components of our program,” he said. At its most recent meeting, the Board of Education unanimously, gratefully and enthusiastically accepted a donation of $58,134 from the club for the fall 2014 season.