The Grizzlies, the Menlo Atherton Youth Lacrosse Club, will celebrate the conclusion of its inaugural season when it travels to San Francisco on June 5 to play in the Northern California Junior Lacrosse Association's year-end Lacrosse Festival. At the festival, the Grizzlies will compete with about 15 Bay Area youth lacrosse teams in a day-long jamboree.
The festival marks the culmination of a remarkable first season for the new lacrosse club. It was nearly one year ago when local parents first had the idea to form a new youth lacrosse club for local youth in Menlo Park and Atherton.
Led by M.J. Davey, the founder of Atherton Lacrosse Camps and parent of a fifth-grader at Encinal School, the parent group petitioned the league to form the new club and began registering players.
In its first year, the club provided playing opportunities for 70 lacrosse players ranging in age from 5 to 11, playing on four boys and girls teams. For most of the players, it was their first experience playing organized lacrosse.
Parents have volunteered in key roles to help run the club. Local businesses, such as Oriental Carpet and GGV Capital, have provided sponsorship donations. Local high schools (Menlo-Atherton, Menlo School and Sacred Heart) welcomed the teams onto their fields for half-time mini-scrimmages. And the Menlo Park Recreation Department welcomed the club with allocation of needed field space.
In an especially exciting event for the kids, the top-ranked Stanford University women's lacrosse team hosted the Grizzlies girls team for a special half-time demo exhibition during their Division 1 game against Cal.
While the current spring season is coming to an end, local playing opportunities are not. "Grizzlies Sizzling Summer" lacrosse is open to any local youth and will meet on Tuesday evenings throughout the summer for skills development and scrimmaging.
Later this year, the club will host its "Fall Ball" program to continue the year-round playing opportunities. Next year, there are plans to field an under-13 boys team, under-11 boys and girls teams, multiple under-9 boys and girls teams, and a developmental program for 5- and 6-year-old beginners.
Visit menloathertonlacrosse.com for more information.