Can you provide a quick glimpse into what is happening behind the scenes with Father’s Club?
It would be impossible to provide a quick update, but I will try to provide some insight to specific questions. As you may know, we have been on a path of growth for some time and it was in October 2023 that I was hired as the Executive Director. I first wanted to start with creating the right foundation to stand on moving forward.
Can you give us an example of some of those items?
We are currently working on updating our bylaws; making changes to our current Board of Directors; creating term limits; establishing committees; creating Brand Guidelines and a number of additional structural actions that are needed to move forward and accomodate growth. Additionally, we are having conversations with existing Chapter Chairs to discuss the health of their chapter; learn and share best practices and walk alongside them to become stronger and more sustainable moving forward.
I have heard that there is a need for improved communication throughout all levels of the organization. Can you speak about communication changes or enhancements that may be coming or that you are working on currently?
Honestly, this is an area where we have known we have to improve and have been attempting to do so for a while. We are actively working with a company to develop a communications platform. This platform is being developed with our specific needs and request in mind with mobile first and ease of use at its core.
We hope to be able to eliminate the need for multiple communication methods like GroupMe; Slack, Band; etc. and streamline our communication through a single resource that can be accessed via a mobile device, laptop; and/or desktop computer. We feel like once this is available, the ability to communicate and stay informed throughout the organization will be much better than any single chapter has been able to do on their own thus far.
Can you speak about your growth strategy or how you plan to start new chapters?
This is extremely exciting and humbling to see the number of people that are reaching out to inquire how to start a chapter at their school.
It begins with a conversation with a dad; that dad having conversations with other dads that may want to get involved and then a discussion with a Principal about Father’s Club and our mission. That simple process and structure has led to conversations to grow at the middle school level beyond the four Olathe middle schools that we are in today.
Additionally, there is a strong desire to bring Father’s Club to North Kansas City with as many as four high schools and four middle schools in the same district launching simultaneously as we begin the next school year.
We also have a scheduled meeting with our first Catholic high school and have even had conversations outside of Kansas City with dads and/or Principals from Wichita, KS; Franklin, TN; Cleveland, OH and Los Angeles, CA to name a few.
In 2018, we started with a single chapter at Blue Valley high school. Five years later, even with the interruption of Covid, we are in 25 schools. There is a real possibility that we grow to as many as 40 chapters going into the 2024-2025 school year. This growth is likely to continue beyond Kansas City the following year.
I know you are also working on Mental Health & Wellness training for dads. Can you speak to that a little?
Yes. Thank you for mentioning that. We know that men are connected through technology more than ever before, yet they are also more isolated than ever before from a relationship perspective. It is our desire to share statistics, trends, and real issues related to mental health and give dads tools to identify and address these in an intentional way.
We want to create an environment where men can be vulnerable and break open their chests a little to share what they are experiencing, and not surprisingly, men are finding that many other men are dealing with many of the same issues and challenges. We have conducted our first couple of training courses and have received great feedback.
Our ambitious goal is to train 1,000 dads by the end of the year. So, look for communication from your chapter chairs, emails or even our weekly blogs. We are also working to get these events added on our website at www.fathersclub.org/events so you can sign up and attend an upcoming workshop.
If dads or business leaders or donors want to learn more about Father’s Club or get more involved, how can they do so?
They can go to www.fathersclub.org to find out more about our organization. They can register and join by clicking on STEP ONE on the homepage and providing some basic contact information. They can click STEP TWO to see which schools currently have Father’s Club chapters and get contact information for their local Chapter Chair. They can also contact me via the Contact link where they can leave a question or comment along with their contact information and I will get back with them personally.
2024 is going to be a year of growth and impact for Father’s Club. We have a ton of dads pulling in the same direction, but we definitely need more support at every chapter, so please consider getting involved!