Brad Holdhusen BVNW - Father's Club Dads

By Mike Rothwell, Board Member/Director of Community Partners for Father’s Club

As a dad who is trying to do the best he can in a world that is full of battle, loss, and heartache…  I seldom take a moment to pause. Some days, the struggle is so real and exhausting that I easily succumb to feelings of failure. In many ways I have tried and failed miserably. However, when our dear friend and founder of the Father’s Club, Vince Stephens, recently passed away I was quickly reminded of his words, “You are not alone.  You’ve got what it takes.”

This summer, I have intentionally taken time to pause and reflect on my friend Vince and his life. I routinely come to a point in my thoughts where questions reverberate through my brain. What is the Father’s Club? Why does this even matter?

Like many, I struggle with the problem of filling my plate so full that I have limited margin for what matters most in my life. At the core of the Father’s Club is the mission to live life intentionally. Our mission statement is so clear. Yet I often forget that the mission must be lived from the inside out.

As dads, we have to do our best to be intentional at home first before we step out to serve in our community. Many times these two things go hand in hand. My hope is that by showing up for another dad or another kid in the community that we will all be better men in the most important relationships in our lives.

Andrew Kneisler Father's Club

So what is the Father’s Club? Why does it matter?  

In my five years of being involved with the Father’s Club, the word I cling to in the Mission Statement is “simple”. We are not a bunch of dads who are out trying to save the world. Most of what we do at the Father’s Club seems trivial or not important. We do things that others have been doing for years and years. We align ourselves with resources that are much more qualified than a bunch of dads. But for some reason, and this is very hard to articulate in words, when a dad shows up, it really matters. It is so, so, simple. Just show up and be present. It seems too simple, but it’s profound! 

In those moments, when we pause from our schedule to invest our time in a kid’s life, another dad and the community, impact slowly starts to really happen. As dads, we are called to be leaders. For the Father’s Club Dad this is simple. Just show up and be present!

Father's Club Mike Oppold

We believe that right here, right now, you matter.  

The school year is about to start in a couple of weeks. Some guy in your community is going to ask you to show up this fall at your kid’s school. Probably to give a kid a fist bump and some food (FB4F). Sound silly? I promise, if you simply show up, you will see how excited these kids, teachers and administrators are to know you are there. They feel loved and appreciated. They feel empowered to conquer the day. And all this because you showed up and let these amazing people know that they matter. Right Here. Right Now. You Matter!

Then you will walk to your car, after investing one hour of your day, and your soul will be refreshed. It is in that simple moment, you will know, that you have what it takes to be a great dad. And it will be apparent to you, as it is to me, why Father’s Club matters!

Now is the time to show up!

Mike Rothwell

Michael Rothwell Be The Difference

By Dan Holdhusen, Grandfather of two graduates and two currently enrolled in Blue Valley High School

Stay in the Game!My name is Dan Holdhusen, and I MAY be the oldest member of the Father’s Club. At least that is what I am sticking to until someone proves me wrong!

My son, Brad, has been active in the Father’s Club since its founding in 2018. I retired from an “active” professional life a couple of years ago, but always knew I had no desire to sit on the sidelines, clip coupons and do crossword puzzles. It has never been my style or composition to sit back and act like many retired folks do.

Never “Retire”

A wise person or two have said that you should never really “retire.” Do something productive and invest yourself in things that serve others and contribute to the greater good of those around you. I have found out – firsthand – that being active helps me feel productive and, more importantly, that I can make a positive difference to those around me and in my sphere of influence.

As a former participant in athletics (many, many years ago) I am reminded that there is a similar statement and attitude applies: “Stay in the Game.”

Stay in the Game! Stay in the Game!

Stay in the Game

As an athlete, it was sometimes tempting to think I was not as productive as I could be in contributing to my team’s success when I was on the floor or the field. I would tell myself to accept being out of the action and sitting on the bench, licking my wounds, and letting others contribute to the team’s success. Thankfully, I had coaches and parents that encouraged me to get back in the game and do my best.

The exact analogy is true for my involvement with the Father’s Club.

My wife, Joannie, and I moved to the Kansas City area 12 years ago for the purpose of investing in and being a part of our grandkids’ lives. They all were pre-school or elementary students at the time, but Joannie and I knew we wanted to be an “active” part of their lives and activities as they grew up. There was only one opportunity to enjoy this season of our lives, and we were going to take full advantage of it.

I must admit, that when my son Brad started talking with me about the Father’s Club and the dreams and visions many dads had for students in our schools, I thought it was a tremendous opportunity to get dads “in the game” of being more intentionally involved in the lives of their kids. But frankly, I thought that being an “old dad” and even grandfather, it really was not appropriate or my place to get in the game with a bunch of young, energized fathers.

Nonetheless, my son kept inviting me and including me in different Father’s Club events. I began becoming more active and not thinking of myself as being too old to “jump in” with my son and his peers. As a result of his and others’ encouragement, I have now stepped up to use the skills with which I have been blessed – being an “old” father myself and my years of experience – to assist however and whenever I can.

As one who will never retire, I encourage all other grandfathers who have sons with grandkids who are directly or indirectly benefiting by the good things in which the Father’s Club is involved to “stay in the game.” Don’t ever retire. Invest yourself in a most positive way in the life of your grandchildren by getting involved with the Father’s Club.

You will never regret it!

Stay in the Game! Stay in the Game!

By Randy Bratton, Board Member/Director of Campus Growth for Father’s Club

Kansas City Christian SchoolFather’s Club continues its march across metro KC, spreading the message of Kids, Dads, and Community!

This past Sunday, our Campus Growth team met with an outstanding group of dads at Kansas City Christian School (KCC) to launch a chapter. In our new Regional structure, KCC will become a part of our Shawnee Mission Region, consisting of several member schools in north Johnson County, KS.

KCC dad Larry Dollar will lead the charge and build a team to serve the school, students, and parents. One of the first items on the agenda is to deploy Father’s Club dads around the campus as extra eyes and ears to support school safety. This is an excellent example of Father’s Club working with school administrators to find out “what do you need, and how can we help?”

Once again, our dads will show up and deliver!

Kansas City Christian SchoolTo officially introduce Father’s Club, KCC dads (as well as dads from other Father’s Club chapters) will be at the school’s entrances for our signature Fist Bumps 4 Food event on Friday, May 19. They’ll hand out breakfast items, encouraging words, and of course fist bumps to the kids as they begin their day. It’s a simple act, with major impact!

We’re excited to watch the growth of Father’s Club at Kansas City Christian and beyond!

Kansas City Christian

Address: 4801 W 79th St, Prairie Village, KS 66208
Phone: (913) 648-5227
Mascot: Panthers

Kansas City Christian School

Santa Fe Trail Middle School - Father's Club Fist Bump Event

By Ryan Forshee, Chapter Chair at Santa Fe Trail Middle School

On Friday, April 21st, a group of about twenty dads gathered to share a little kindness and encouragement to the students of Santa Fe Trail Middle School (SFT). Along with the help of Carmen’s Cocina II in South Olathe, Hy-Vee grocery store and one of our fellow fathers, we were able to supply the students and faculty of SFT with a fun grab and go breakfast.

Fathers converged on SFT from multiple schools in an effort to show the students of Santa Fe Trail Middle School their love and bring smiles to their faces as they closed out a great week of learning. As students entered the school from multiple entrances, they couldn’t make their way past the dads without receiving a smile and a fist bump, followed by breakfast burritos, grab and go snacks, and even donuts.

Santa Fe Trail Middle School - Father's Club Fist Bump Event Santa Fe Trail Middle School - Father's Club Fist Bump Event

As kids normally enter their school every morning, often their heads are down and they’re moving slowly through the doors into the school. This Friday, very few students didn’t make eye contact with our team of fathers trying to show them love and encouragement. What an amazing community we live in! A community where dads can come together and show their support.

Santa Fe Trail Middle School - Father's Club Fist Bump EventThis was an opportunity for fathers to mentor young people from all walks of life and backgrounds. On that Friday, nobody saw the color of somebody’s skin or paid attention to language barriers. Nobody paid attention to the clothes that a child wore as they walked through the door. Why? Because we recognized that all are created equal, and all need to be loved and encourage the same way.

This event allowed us to show what this community is all about!

I’m so excited to be a part of such an amazing and diverse group of dads that are willing to stand in the gap, not just for the school and not for our own benefit, but for the benefit of the students that we come to represent. Every student needs to know that they matter. Every student needs to know that they are valued. Every student needs to be encouraged and every student needs to feel loved. That’s what Santa Fe Trail Fathers Club is committed to doing. We will continue supporting the students that flow through the halls of Santa Fe Trail Middle School. Go Cyclones! We’re proud of you!

By Brad Holdhusen, CEO/Board Member/Chapter Chair for Father’s Club


What do you do with that pre-Super Bowl excitement one week prior to the big game? Well, let me tell you what about 40 intentional dads / leaders from all over the KC Metro did.

On Sunday evening February 5th, Chapter Chairs and Steering Committee members from over 25 Father’s Club chapters in both Kansas and Missouri gathered to plow through some GREAT BBQ – compliments Brobeck’s Barbeque!

Brobeck's BBQ

While wiping the BBQ sauce from their mouths, they listened to Todd Milner, Director of Campus Developement, lead the charge as he emceed an evening of thoughtful ideas, best practices and Chapter Chair testimonials around the impact Father’s Club is having in their respective high schools.

Brobeck's BBQMiddle Schools!

One of the highlights of the evening was welcoming NEW Chapter Chair leaders from three new middle schools in Olathe as Father’s Club has intentionally expanded beyond just high schools.

Special compliments to Olathe South’s originating Chapter Chair, Dave Miller.
Dave championed and started pushing for expansion into middle schools nearly 4 years ago.

Mental Health First Aid

Another exciting part of the evening… An announcement that Father’s Club is committed to impacting and/or training 1,000 dads in Mental Health First Aid through the means of nationally-certified MHFA trainers. In fact, the next class will take place Saturday, March 4th at the Blue Valley Hilltop Conference Center.

This goal to train/impact 1,000 dads will not just be limited to classroom/certified training, but will encompass other unique events championed by The Father’s Club. (More to come on that as details come together.)

Chapter Leads & Barbecue Beans Chapter Leads & Barbecue Beans

As the night drew to an end, and the paper plates landed in the trash, the majority of the men stuck around sharing more ideas. They were feeding off the passion fueled by the Father’s Club Mission Statement and the reason these men volunteer their time.

“To be humble and loving catalysts for change within their communities, schools and families.”

By David Walker

Santa Fe Trail Middle School InauguralThe Santa Fe Trail Middle School Chapter of the Father’s Club recently held their first official event with a New Year Fist Bumps for Food! Dad’s came out to welcome students back to school with chicken biscuits from Chick-Fil-A Olathe, donuts from Olathe Hyvee and smiles from some lucky dads.

The students were appropriately apprehensive about taking free food from strangers, but they eventually warmed up to us. Most of them were half asleep but we wished them a great 2023 and a full belly to start the day off right. Teachers were thankful and happy to see us in the building. (And even happier to see a few extras in the teachers lounge!)

We look forward to our next visit and hope to get a few more fist bumps the next time we’re in the building! All in all, we turned a lot of droopy eyes into bright faces. Special shout out to Principal Libal and Vice Principal Reyes for helping us pull it off!

Santa Fe Trail Middle School Inaugural Santa Fe Trail Middle School Inaugural Santa Fe Trail Middle School Inaugural

Bathroom MirrorBy Dan Viall, Blue Valley West Dad

As a dad of two teenage girls (8th and 5th graders), I’m always looking for fun ways to connect with them individually. My oldest is wired a lot like me (sorry mom!) so it’s pretty easy for me to connect with her and find fun and meaningful things for us to do together. She’s curious, driven, talkative, opinionated, and was fortunate enough to find her two big passions (martial arts and entrepreneurship) at an early age.

My youngest, however, is my mystery child. She’s introverted, imaginative, empathetic, and free-spirited, so what she likes today may not be what she’s into tomorrow. So it’s always been a bit harder for me to find meaningful ways to connect with her 1:1. And because she’s more reserved, I’m never quite sure if our time together is truly resonating with her.

In the summer of 2021, I started connecting with more business guys locally for work and kept hearing about this thing called Father’s Club. After what seemed like the 5th or 6th quality dad including Dave Swob, John Hinman, Grady Hawley and others told me I should get involved, I signed up to start doing stuff with Clay Norkey’s group of awesome Blue Valley West dads.

Football Concession Stand!

While we do all the other Father’s Club stuff like happy hours and Fist Bumps for Food, our group of BV West dads also gets to handle all concessions for every home football game. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, so the first game I just signed up myself. When I got there, I saw an awesome group of quality dads jamming to classic rock, serving with their own kids, high-fiving their kids’ friends at the window, slingshotting hotdogs into the student section, giving free coffee to the security team and just having a great time connecting with each other and the steady stream of kids, parents, and staff.

Bathroom Mirror Bathroom Mirror

So the next game I invited my youngest to come serve with us, and before we had even left the stadium that first night she was talking non-stop about “Crazy Tim” and “Mr. Tony” and asked if we could do it again soon. She likes to mix it up each game, but her favorite role is the commercial popcorn station (a never-ending job!) When Danny Mayer loudly proclaimed her the “Popcorn Queen” the last game of the season, two huge dimples and a giant smile came out.

The Note on the Mirror…

The next morning, I got up, and found this note on my bathroom mirror… “I like doing concessions with you!”

So thank you to Clay, Kevin, Mr. Tony, Danny, Crazy Tim, Todd, Jaye and so many others for helping me create a fun and simple way to connect with my daughter, meet a great group of guys, and give back to our community. If you’re still sitting on the sidelines, come out and get in the game with us!

Bathroom Mirror Bathroom Mirror

By Andrew Kneisler, Blue Valley Southwest High School Chapter Co-Chair

A Father and a FencepostDuring a recent men’s retreat with a dozen men, I spent some quality time around a campfire sharing. I could hear fish flipping in the background, as I shared my story about my life with other fathers. The analogy that kept coming up was an image of a fence line marked by “fenceposts”. These symbolic fenceposts included people, events and places that held me and directed my life — making me into the man I am today. Looking back on each fencepost I noticed how faith was tying the fenceposts together to shore up all these moments and to bring me to where I am today. 

I was honored to be known by these men, as we took turns sharing each independently about our own fencepost stories. I was excited and comforted to hear each man highlight their own father in their fencepost stories. Whether good or bad, “my dad…” was a consistent theme as men shared their stories that night. 

My dad passed away in 2019. His lasting effects are still impacting the way I live today, as a father to my four kids and as a person in relationship with those kids — Some good and some bad.   

The Enabler

I rarely wished I had a different dad, but I did at times become angry that he didn’t act differently. What I have discovered is that my dad was the classic “enabler”. In my teenage years, my mom was a severe alcoholic and her behavior was supported, re-enforced and allowed by my dad. That is why in the world of addiction, my dad’s behavior is called “enabling”. As a child, I saw it as loving and learned a version of what I thought is “love”. Today, I’m still affected by this “Dad’s perspective” and it continues to spread as it affects my relationships.

It affects all relationships, even the way I parent. Although I stopped my drinking in 2003, I thought I killed the disease, but the enabling continued to transcend into my behaviors, because it was what my dad had modeled for me.

I didn’t get to choose the father I have nor sometimes be the father I want to be. 

A Father and a FencepostI have found that being surrounded by men with similar failures and victories from their own fathers, coupled with sharing how those experiences impact our lives today, makes me want to father my kids differently.

My involvement with Father’s Club is an attempt to get involved in the lives of my kids and surround myself with other men who can help impact my kids in a greater way than I can on my own. Through doing so, I’ve experienced not just a great impact on my kids, but a great impact on my own life. My hope is that I can give back what this organization has given me.

I believe it’s easier for dads to live a life of quiet isolation and feel temporarily “safe” from having their weaknesses exposed. Instead, I’ve found living a life of integration with other like-minded men can help hold together “those moments” and help make a life worth living

And maybe… just maybe, these fathers can be “a fencepost” in my kids’ stories someday.

A Father and a Fencepost

Fist Bumps 4 Food Training CampOver the years, The Father’s Club has welcomed students at several high schools with food and a word of encouragement. It has become a flagship activity for us at our local high schools. We’ve given this event several names over the years. We have finally landed on Fist Bumps 4 Food (FB4F).

With so many new dads getting engaged with The Father’s Club, we want to take a moment and provide a training video for Dads so they’re properly prepared the next time they participate in a FB4F. We’re confident this video will properly prepare Dads for future FB4F events.

The Father’s Club

Vince StephensIn the summer of 2018, a normal everyday dad had a longing in his soul. His imagination began to churn with various ideas. He felt called to reach out to another man. A man he had never met. With tremendous courage, he opened his heart and shared his vision and passion for doing more for his own kid and the kids he hung out with at high school.

A few weeks later, a group of eight men gathered. Once again, he courageously shared his heart with a group of men he hardly knew. Every man gathered was moved. Every man shared their own story. In that moment, every dad around the table was vulnerable, sharing similar struggles, desiring to be fully known and fully loved.

The Birth of The Father’s Club

It was on that warm August night, around a table of dads who did not know each other very well, that the Father’s Club was born.

We take a brief moment to celebrate and thank Vince Stephens. If it was not for his courageous and humble spirit, the Father’s Club would not be impacting 18 high schools, over 1,400 dads, thousands of kids, and numerous communities.

On March 25th, Vince celebrated his 60th Birthday. Vince has no desire to be recognized. He is just a dad struggling to find his way. We want to thank Vince for his passion and vision for creating simple ways for dads to be intentional with each other, kids and the communities we are called to serve. Vince, you are one heck of a good looking 60 year old man. We love you brother.

– The Father’s Club