As you think about setting up a Who Let The Dads Out? session the question foremost in your mind is probably not 'Who let the dads out?' but 'How do we get the dads in (and keep them there!)?' What follows is a suggested format. It is not the only way of running a Who Let The Dads Out? session but it may give you some useful ideas.
Signpost the way
It can be very unsettling to arrive at a building for the first time and have to search for the way in - especially when you are nervous about what you will find on the other side of the door. So prop the door open and place a sign outside to welcome the dads.
Greet him with a handshake
First impressions can make or break how we feel about an event. The questions swimming around the dads' minds are likely to be: 'Am I in the right place?' 'What do I do?' 'Where do I go?' Have someone on the door - ideally a man - who will be good at greeting people. A man at the door confirms to the dads that they are in the right place and that it is truly a men's event after all. Introduce yourself, shake hands and explain where everything is. Wear a name badge so the dads know who to ask if they have any questions.
Introduce him to others
The dads may begin to feel anxious again when they get inside, especially about who to talk to. Have someone inside the building who will begin conversations and introduce the dads to one other.
Fill his stomach
Food does relax people and prompt them to talk. The bacon butty is a must but offer an alternative for those who cannot eat bacon - perhaps some toast and marmalade. Offer tea and coffee, and juice and biscuits (or a healthier alternative) for the children. Ideally, recruit two volunteers to do the catering.
Feed his mind
There are bound to be times when the children are playing happily and the dads are not chatting to anyone. Something to read can help a dad to feel less awkward about a solitary moment. Put out a range of morning newspapers and some sports/hobbies magazines - for example, Sorted Magazine.
Help him express his creativity
Prepare a suitable craft activity and ask a couple of teenagers from the church youth group to help. The dads may find guidance from a teenager less threatening than if offered by a fellow adult. Despite the undoubted excellence of the craft masterpiece they have in their hands, the most valuable gift you will be sending the dads and children home with is some very special memories.
Have the same person who welcomed the dads on the door again to thank them for coming and to say goodbye.