YMCA’s Adventure Guides program bonds dads with young children
by KATELYNN WATKINS
HAT DO DADS AND DAUGHTERS, the
great outdoors, homemade torches and
canoes all have in common?
In a word: community.
Since the 1950s, the YMCA has encour-aged
fathers to bond with their children through the Adventure
Guides and Princesses program. The purpose is to get dads to switch
off from an increasingly busy world and intentionally set aside time to
make memories with their kids during their formative years.
“It’s unique in that it kind of forces dads to take the time to
bond with their daughters where other parts of life might some-times
get in the way,” says Hannah Horton, youth development
director at the Wilmington Y. “Then once they get into it and see
what it’s all about, it becomes less of an obligation and more of a
want to get out there and just have some fun together.”
Divided into two groups — one in which dads connect with
their daughters and the other featuring activities for fathers and
sons — the program is structured for three-year enrollment begin-ning
in the fall of the child’s kindergarten year.
“It’s amazing to spend time with your daughter doing ‘guy stuff,’”
says Philip Dattilo, president at Trial Management Associates.
“Hiking, camping, shooting … it all makes for these little moments
PHOTO BY KIRIN JAMES
WBM september 2017