Introduction to Boot Camp
Widely Acclaimed As a Best Practice
Proven over one and a half decades, Boot Camp for New Dads is a pioneer in the movement to strengthen the institution of fatherhood in America. We have been asked to present the program and our experiences at a variety of state Summits on Fatherhood, as well as to the National Governors Taskforce on Fatherhood and at the National Fatherhood Initiative’s Summits on Fatherhood.
Boot Camp for New Dads has been named a best practice by organizations who find it an exceptional means of fostering behaviors among new fathers that greatly benefit children and help prevent a wide range of social ills such as child abuse. Examples include state initiatives promoting responsible fatherhood in Florida, Texas, California and Illinois, the Social Policy Action Network in their 2003 report, Fatherhood Programs That Work, the U.S. Navy in 2005, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in their 2006 report, The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children (2006). Researchers have also identified Boot Camp as a model program for effective implementation in new communities.
An Innovative and Powerful Workshop
Boot Camp workshops feature veteran dads talking frankly about their experiences as they became dads and the issues they found to be most important. Each new group of veterans adds their own insights, which keeps the course content fresh and focused on the real needs of new fathers.
The veterans, with their babies on their laps, are very effective in communicating to other men the opportunities and rewards of personally caring for and connecting with their children. Their expectations that each man will do their best for their children is implicit in everything they say and do, and their frank explanations of the realties they faced and their encouragement create a trusting and motivating environment. Men respond to a challenge from other men, as well as to the guidance of those with experience, and the best traditions of sports and the military are represented in Boot Camp’s man-to-man training approach.
Boot Camp prepares men to be dads in all respects, starting with holding and comforting a real baby. Veteran dads demonstrate burping, changing, swaddling, the "trouble shooter’s guide" to crying babies, etc., and deal with a broad set of issues including bonding, work hours, forming a parenting team, safety, preventing child abuse, dealing with relatives, etc. The experiences of thousands of Boot Camp veterans provide the course content and they place the strongest emphasis on the tremendous support new moms need from dads.
The first hour’s discussion centers on topics such as "Becoming a Dad", "Forming a New Family", and "Caring for New Moms". The next hour is a hands-on opportunity for prospective dads to become comfortable in caring for babies under the guidance of veteran dads who bring their new babies to class. The final hour is an interactive session featuring the best advice veteran dads can offer the rookies.
Joining the Boot Camp Network
Starting a Boot Camp program in your community is easy with all of the materials, technical assistance and training you will receive. Program materials are designed to answer all of your questions and walk you through all the necessary steps to start and maintain a successful program. Ongoing support is provided through our website and telephone and coaching network. We will partner with you on a long-term basis to bring out the best in the new dads in your community.
Boot Camp for New Dads Program Alternatives
We have three program curriculum to choose from:
- Boot Camp for New Dads Workshop
- Boot Camp for New Dads Workshop For Spanish-Speaking Fathers
- Video-Based Program