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This article was written for us by Paul Brophy, a dad from Croydon Hills Primary School.

The Fathering Project is a not for profit organization and was founded by Professor Bruce Robinson in WA.

Colin West who runs the Fathering project in Victoria is trying to roll out this Project in all Schools, Clubs, Sporting groups etc.

The idea of the Champion Dads Group (CDG) is to help Dads become better role models in the family and form a stronger lasting bond with their children. I know my relationship with my daughter has been so much stronger since I got involved with the program.

I was passionate about heading this up, as I know Dads who have separated from the family and not actively involved in their kids lives. I’ve seen the disappointment on some kids faces when their dad doesn’t show up when he says he will, fobs the kids off to someone else for a play or is just there in the background and not interested in his kids life.

If this program helps one dad to become closer to his children and is a better dad because of it, it’s all worth it.

The idea of the group to hold at least two Father/Child events and two Dads only events per year. This gives the Dads a chance to get to know the other Dads in the school community who otherwise would not take the chance to be involved, as women are much better at forming great support groups in the school than dads are.

I have made it a tradition to take my daughter to school for the first day of each year and have done so for the last 6 years. This instills great memories for my daughter and makes me proud to be a dad. Unfortunately, it’s the same story every year. I see all the women “reconnect” and catch up on what has been happening over the holidays etc, and the fathers are standing in the background looking awkward and not too sure what to do or say. Haha, it is funny to watch.

Our local group

CHPS formed our group in June last year with 9 Dads now actively on the committee.

We started our calendar for the remainder of the year and were learning along the way.

We created a dedicated Men of the hills facebook page and now have over 80 dads on our data base and growing.

Our events

The events we held last year were:

  • Ten Pin  Bowling in Sept (just before Fathers day) with a total of 65 attending.
  • Trivia night at the Croydon Brewery (Dads only event) 25 attended
  • Dads and Kids singing a Christmas Carol together on the Oval on Carols night in Dec

It’s fair to say there were some nervous dads who weren’t quite sure what all this was about, so were cautious about attending events. I set about pestering the mums and getting them to get their partners more involved, which has worked really well.

Earlier this year I wasn’t sure how we would go with this group moving forward, but we plotted out our 12 month calendar and the enthusiasm has been overwhelming so far.

These are the activities for this year:

  • March: We got involved in the school fair and manned the slushie stand.
  • April the MOTHS ran the Bunnings BBQ fundraiser for CHAPS and raised over $2,000 with many dads putting up their hand to offer assistance.
  • June we ran a Dads and Kids movie night in the PAC, I was expecting around 50-60. We topped 235 in total and raised over $1,000. This was the best event we have ever had and the feedback from the dads has been fantastic.
  • August we have a Dads only event (Whiskey tasting night) which is a professionally run event, numbers need to be capped at 40. With 3 weeks to go we are nearly full.
  • September we have another Dads and kids Fathers day bowling night which is expected to be a really big turnout.
  • November  we have a Dads and Kids “Campout on the Oval” that has been in the planning for quite some time. Involving Damper cooking, toasting marshmellows, Dads and kids mini Olympics etc.
  • December our new Tradition of singing a Christmas carol on stage with our kids. (This year I will organize to create a bush band making instruments with our children.

The benefits

I believe this group has already helped form better relationships with Dads and kids and friendships with Dads. Just getting dads talking together is a massive achievement and may just help one dad through a bad patch in his relationship or prevent a dad from committing suicide from separation.

In just one short year since it’s inception at CHPS we have started something that I never thought was possible.

Through a lot of hard work with the passionate team of guys we have in the group, we have started something great.

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