What is Who Let The Dads Out?
At one level, it is a parent and toddler session specifically for dads, father figures and their children. It is based on the traditional parent and toddler format, but usually takes place on a Saturday morning and includes a few masculine touches, such as bacon/breakfast butties and newspapers. At another level, it is the umbrella network of all Who Let The Dads Out? groups and any associated activities that a church may choose to undertake in the context of Who Let The Dads Out?
Why should we set one up?
Who Let The Dads Out? is a great way to get the men of your community through the doors of your church building and gives you the opportunity to begin to build relationships with them and their children.
Is this only for churches?
Who Let The Dads Out? is a Christian initiative. We will only register groups that are set up by, and accountable to, a Christian church or organisation and subscribe to our Who Let The Dads Out? values. We cannot register groups that are run on a secular or other faith basis, but that does not mean that we don't recognise the value of such groups in the context of family and community.
How do we set up a group?
It is very simple. It might be worth trying a one-off session to begin with - just to get things off the ground. Take the format of whatever you do for parents and toddlers during your weekday sessions and move it to a Saturday morning. Advertise it for fathers, male carers and their children, and tell the people who come along to your weekday group about the Saturday morning session. Finally, get the grill going to fuel a steady supply of bacon/breakfast butties! If you don't have a weekday parent and toddler group, see the section below ‘What help can we get?’
How do we register our group?
Simply complete the online registration form and submit. We will then check and confirm your registration. Once confirmed, you will receive a welcome email with additional information and advice, and your group details will be added automatically to our Directory of groups. You will be given password-protected access to your information on the directory so you can edit this if and when necessary.
What help can we get?
If you have any further questions, then don't hesitate to contact us.
Visit Care for the Family to order a copy of the Who Let The Dads Out? book, written by the founder, Mark Chester. The book contains some of the theology and philosophy of working with fathers, and guidance for setting up a group.
When you register, we will send you a welcome email with a link to a welcome pack which includes further advice, information and templates for press releases and group administration.
You can also order leaflets which can be overprinted to advertise your sessions.
Please note: As a Who Let The Dads Out? group, you must adhere to health & safety regulations, as well as safeguarding legislation, and have an established Health & Safety Policy and Safeguarding Policy in place which you can provide on request. Care for the Family cannot be held responsible for any matters relating to health & safety or safeguarding in respect of any Who Let The Dads Out? group. As a first point of contact, we recommend you speak to your church leadership to clarify safeguarding policies and procedures in your church.
Can we give our group a different name?
You can and we welcome groups into the network with different names. Indeed, there are groups registered with us under a variety of names, often because they were already operating.
However, if you are starting out, we would really encourage you to use the name Who Let The Dads Out? for your sessions if possible. We feel that the name has been important in drawing people's attention to the issue of churches' outreach to men and their families, and has also helped attract fathers and male carers to take part.
The impact of Who Let The Dads Out? as a movement is strengthened with each new group, so above all we would like your group to be identified as being part of the growing initiative whether you want to use the name Who Let The Dads Out? or something different.
Should all the leaders of the group be men?
Not necessarily. It is more important that the right people - those who are welcoming, friendly and can put people at their ease - lead the group, regardless of their gender. However, if possible, it is preferable to have some male leaders associated with your group as this helps to confirm in people's minds that the sessions are for men.
Should we charge families?
There are pros and cons for both charging and not charging. Some say that your sessions will be valued more if you charge a fee. However, if you decide to charge, it is important to try to keep the fee low, so as not to exclude anyone. Further, to make it easy for people who cannot afford to pay, avoiding placing a collection box at the entrance to the building where not contributing may cause embarrassment - consider putting it where the refreshments are served, for example.
Should we include school-age children?
Some groups do and some don't. The idea for Who Let The Dads Out? was originally conceived for pre-school children and their dads, and SODA (School's Out, Dad's About) club was for older children. It can be difficult to provide equal enjoyment for children across a wide age range. However, a number of groups are flexible about ages and it works successfully for them. If a dad attends with a toddler but also has an older child, some groups allow the older child to become a helper and proudly wear a helper's badge! Overall, it is important to decide on a policy and then stick to it in as clear and gentle way as possible.
What about children who do not have a dad?
Make clear that your sessions are for dads and father figures, and encourage grandads, uncles and godfathers to get involved with their children.
Should we include any Christian content in our sessions?
Who Let The Dads Out? is intended as a way of beginning to make relationships with the men in our communities. Daddy Cool! and Soul Man? provide a route from Who Let The Dads Out? to exploring faith. But there is nothing stopping you including some Christian content in your sessions. If you want to do that, why not give it a go?
How important is the bacon/breakfast butty?
There is some truth in the old saying: the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Need we say more? However, it is advisable to make alternative arrangements for those who cannot or choose not to eat bacon.
- SODA (School's Out, Dad's About) club is for older children and and their dads/father figures.
- Daddy Cool! is a five-session parenting programme for dads, including a session about passing on values and beliefs.
- Soul Man? is a format for giving men the opportunity to explore faith and spirituality in more depth.
Each of these programmes is covered in the book School's Out, Dad's About written by Who Let The Dads Out? founder, Mark Chester. This is out of print but contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like a copy.
These are specific resources that have been developed which link with Who Let The Dads Out? but of course there is nothing to stop you developing other ideas or linking in with existing men's ministries in your church. See More ideas for engaging with dads.