Boot Camp for New Dads Helps Expectant Fathers
When Grants Pass resident and middle school science teacher Bob Bath went to AllCare Health with an idea for a class for expectant fathers, they wholeheartedly embraced the idea because it aligned with their mission to improve the overall health of the community.
“In August 2015 I heard an NPR broadcast about gang members who never had fathers attending classes on how to be a father,” Bob said. “I thought I’d set up something similar in Grants Pass, and AllCare Health sent me to an incredible training in Denver, the headquarters of Boot Camp for New Dads. Doctors Felicia Cohen and Tamara Medley at the Women’s Health Center of Southern Oregon suggested promoting the pro-gram to expectant families and they offered their conference room at 275 SW Grandview as an ideal location to meet.”
Bob is convinced that there are emotional, cognitive and financial benefits to the child when the father is an active participant in child-raising.
“Our goal is to help ease the transition to daddyhood and help develop a more stable family relationship on the parenting journey,” Bob said. “Men are culturally and behaviorally more independent than women. We relate to the world on a more physical basis, and we generally like to figure things out by doing, instead of being told. So if our significant other criticizes the way we are holding or burping or consoling a baby, we are more likely to withdraw.”
Boot Camp for New Dads tries to change all that.
“Males are best when they feel supported by a community,” Bob said. “Our model allows ‘veteran dads’ (who just became fathers in the last 2-12 months) to impart their wisdom to ‘rookie dads’ (soon-to-be first-time fathers). The tips our men exchange about how to change a diaper, relieve colic, keep their babies safe, deal with in-laws, and support their significant others are priceless. And the 3-hour workshop takes place without a mom in sight.”
As a teacher and a father, Bob knows about the importance of family to every community. “Teachers and schools do a great job every day but strong families can improve our kids’ developmental and educational success, which in turn will stimulate our economy,” he said. “Over the long-term, I’d like to popularize daddyhood in the Rogue Valley as much as mommyhood is already. We might have a Facebook site where dads could exchange baby gear, or connect for a run with jogger-strollers or organize play groups.”
For more information, call 541-472-1115 or go to gpbootcampfornewdads.com.