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

It was a freezing cold day on January 19, 2020. I was meandering through the aroma of good barbeque at the AFC Championship pre-game tailgate atmosphere out at Arrowhead when my ears locked into some good red dirt music. As I moved closer, I recognized Reckless Kelly blasting at this Taj Mahal-like tailgate hosted by the guys from Hooray Grills. Like a moth to a flame, I approached with wide eyes and a grin on my face…

Zach PedersonIt was that day that not only did I witness our Kansas City Chiefs WIN the AFC Championship over the Titans, but I had the opportunity to meet my now good friend, Zach Pederson, for the first time.

Don’t know Zach?  You need to… Let me give you just a glimpse as to why I chose to do a blog spotlight on this dude.

Soon after that January day in 2020 when Zach and I first met, I had the opportunity to share my passion behind The Father’s Club with him over beers at Tanners. Zach was all in – he loved it! Since that day, Zach, Owner of Rock Road Creative, has (for next to nothing) shared his company and his talents with The Father’s Club. This VIDEO is just one example of him sharing his time and talent with our organization as he helped spotlight The Father’s Club at our annual Mission Cup golf tournament that we host every year in late August. Additionally, Zach and his dad generously donated a duck hunt for our 2021 Mission Cup silent auction last year as they agreed to host a dad and his son or daughter out at their waterfowl property this month.

Beyond running Rock Road Creative, Zach has had his hands in many things over the years as he’s amassed a great network of respected business and community leaders. Zach calls Overland Park home where he lives with his wife Megan and their 3 kids, Penelope (age 5), Hank (age 4) and Ford (age 2).

Zach, Thanks for your partnership with The Father’s Club. We look forward to many more years of intentional engagement as your family’s roots grow deeper in this community. We’re grateful to have you as a part of it!

Business Owners: Looking for a great video, photo, website development, social media agency? Reach out to Zach and his team here:
Zach Pederson, Owner
Rock Road Creative
zach@rockroadcreative.com
(913) 915-6137
www.rockroadcreative.com

The 2020 Mission Cup Video Zach Helped Us With

By Doug McIntyre, Chapter Chair of Blue Valley North

From the first day of school to Home Coming at Blue Valley North High School, Father’s Club has been making student’s days in 2021.

Partnering with the Administration, Father’s Club kicked off the school year with a surprise picnic for the students  outside with yard games, cookies, and Dad DJ crushing the tunes.

Father's Club: Blue Valley North Cookie Day Father's Club: Blue Valley North Cookie Day

Home Coming festivities and the Parade were back this year and so was The Father’s Club… building on traditions.

In addition to building the bon fire, managing parking lot safety, this year saw Matt Roening, Matt Textor, and Chris Whigham host our first ever Father’s Club parade entry with Big Red and Little Red. In years past, two student clubs, GSA and the Diversity Club didn’t have the resources to host their own float. Father’s club partnered with RideNow Powersports to make their day.

I want to say thank you to Father’s Club for making my day yesterday. I am so grateful of you all for putting that big of a smile on so many kids faces. It was definitely a wonderful day!
Sheryl Stein, Club sponsor

Father's Club - Parade Entry Father's Club - Parade Entry

By Todd Milner, Board Member/Director of Campus Development for Father’s Club

There’s a saying with Father’s Club members coined by our CEO, Brad Holdhusen a few years ago. It goes something like this…

“Dads, just grab a shovel. We will tell you where to dig the hole.”
Brad Holdhusen

BVSW Mitchell Strong Memorial Shovel AwardWhat Brad was trying to communicate in very simple terms that most dads would understand is that we don’t want to make your involvement in Father’s Club complex or confusing. Just show up, and we’ll have it all planned out for you. We just need you to show up!

What the leaders of Father’s Club have learned in just three short years around how to get dads to show up, get engaged, and be intentional is that we need to keep it simple. As simple as just grabbing a shovel and digging a hole. As you might imagine, it didn’t take long for many of us to latch on to this statement. We repeat it at pretty much every board and chapter meeting. Fast forward to a few months ago… We liked the concept so much that we decided to adopt the words and turn it into an award.

The Shovel Award was designed to recognize and be given out to dads who consistently show up, get engaged and demonstrate how to be intentional with their kids, their families and their community! The first recipient of The Shovel Award was Tom Herzog, board member and one of the founding members. You can read that blog here. Tom shares his thoughts on  receiving the award.

BVSW Mitchell Strong Memorial Shovel Award BVSW Mitchell Strong Memorial Shovel Award

The Mitchell Strong Memorial Shovel Award

BVSW Mitchell Strong Memorial Shovel AwardThe Blue Valley Southwest (BVSW) Chapter wanted to recognize and honor a special dad by naming the The Shovel Award at BVSW the “Mitchell Strong Memorial Shovel Award”  in honor of Chris Mitchell. Chris, an awesome BVSW dad, exemplified what it means to be an engaged, an intentional and a committed father to his family, his lovely wife Stephanie, his daughters Cara Allie & Kaitlin, their school BVSW and their community.

Chris showed up consistently and quietly, always involved in any activity Father’s Club would host at BVSW. Chris was the host of “Late Night with Dads”, involved with every Chicken Biscuit event held, proudly walked the halls on Fridays during lunch with other dads taking time out of his day and week to always “show up”!

Sadly, Chris is no longer with us, passing away this past July after facing a long and hard fought battle with pancreatic cancer. Again, to honor Chris and his legacy, we are calling the The Shovel Award at BVSW the “Mitchell Strong Memorial Shovel Award”.

Chris’s legacy will live on in the halls of BVSW, in the community and in the ranks of dads at Father’s Club for generations to come. It cannot be said enough that Chris Mitchell was a perfect example of an engaged, intentional, loving and committed father who always “showed up!” Chris, my friend, your smiling face, caring personality and “show up” attitude will be sorely missed!

BVSW Mitchell Strong Memorial Shovel Award BVSW Mitchell Strong Memorial Shovel Award

I am happy and honored to announce that Charles Dahm will be the first recipient of the Mitchell Strong Memorial Shovel Award at BVSW!

BVSW Mitchell Strong Memorial Shovel Award - Charles Dahm BVSW Mitchell Strong Memorial Shovel Award - Charles Dahm

Charles has served on the BVSW Father’s Club leadership team since its inception in January of 2019. Charles continues to serve and lead the Father’s Club Chapter at BVSW in all the same ways Chris did. Charles has also served on the PTO committee for the last 3 years working hard to connect PTO ideas and needs with the ranks of dads at BVSW!

Congratulations Charles!

I am proud to call you my friend and so grateful for your dedication, intentionality and “show up” attitude! You were the obvious choice for this award and more importantly the dad at BVSW who deserves the recognition and honor!

By John Hinman, Board Member for Father’s Club

Father's Club - Randy Bratton Father's Club - Randy Bratton

Randy Bratton was born in Starkville, MS, then raised in and around Memphis, TN, is a lover of country music, has a trace of red neck running thru his veins, is a man with good old southern roots, has a massive servant heart, is a great husband and family man, and of course is a diehard Mississippi State fan. Being a fan of MSU he has died hard often, but this year he witnessed their first National Championship, in any sport, in baseball. It was great watching his excitement basking in the glory of this accomplishment.

Father's Club - Randy Bratton Father's Club - Randy Bratton

Randy is married to Marlo and they have three kids Rhodes, Allie and Abby.

After growing up and spending most of his life in the Memphis area, Randy and Marlo decided it was time for a change and moved their family to the Kansas City area in 2013 and we met shortly after and became close friends. Randy and his family have been a true blessing to this community from the day they arrived. Randy is one of those special people that everyone needs to know. Randy is fueled by his faith, family, friendships and community. He is always willing to jump in and help out wherever needed. His positive spirit brings out the best in everyone around him. He is always available, willing to serve, willing to give a friend a hand, is compassionate, and loves to have a good time.

Father's Club - Randy Bratton Father's Club - Randy Bratton

Father’s Club Founding Member

Randy is one of the founding nine members of The Father’s Club and has put in many hours to help this organization grow. Randy serves this organization as a board member and is the director of campus growth. Randy has played a significant role, leading the charge, spreading the mission of this organization resulting in 14 campus high school chapters since the inception of The Father’s Club in August of 2018. Randy is the epitome of the saying “pick up a shovel and dig a hole”. Randy simply gets it done.

Father's Club - Randy Bratton Father's Club - Randy Bratton

We are so thankful to have Randy on the leadership team. Personally, I’m proud to be able to call this man brother and friend. He has truly enriched my life during the years we have known each other.

Do YOU want to get involved in Father’s Club? Start right here!

Following is the list of high schools that currently have a Father’s Club Chapter:

1. Blue Valley
2. Blue Valley Southwest
3. Blue Valley West
4. Blue Valley North
5. Blue Valley Northwest
6. Shawnee Mission East
7. Shawnee Mission South
8. Olathe East
9. Olathe South
10. Olathe West
11. Gardner Edgerton
12. Springhill
13. Heritage Christian
14. Kansas City Christian Academy

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

Father's Club - BV Tiger Band SupportIt’s 3rd and goal from the 6 yard line… here’s the snap… and the Blue Valley Tigers punch the ball into the endzone! But wait, there’s NO celebratory school fight song from the band? NOTHING for the crowd to clap in sync with? NADA for the cheerleaders to dance a routine to?

Can you imagine a Friday night football game without the band providing the heartbeat of the environment? We can’t either. Which is exactly why the Blue Valley Tiger Father’s Club decided to honor the hardest working group of kids in the entire school… HANDS DOWN!

 

BV Pre-Game Tailgate!

On October 1, 2021, the Blue Valley Tiger Father’s Club put together a pre-game tailgate exclusive for band members and their families. It was a night to remember as well over 200 kids and parents partook in some of the best jambalaya (compliments Judd Bearb) Johnson County has ever tasted, complemented by grilled hot dogs, cookies and many other goodies.

Father's Club - BV Tiger Band Support Father's Club - BV Tiger Band Support

Cornhole was played, pictures were snapped and smiles were abundant – ALL in honor of an extremely HARD WORKING group of kids we affectionately call the Blue Valley Tiger Band under the direction of Mr. Paul Bessetti.

To memorialize this band and this evening, the Blue Valley Tiger Father’s Club presented the band with a brand new banner that they can now proudly display at competitions and carry in parades for years to come.

Father's Club - BV Tiger Band Support Father's Club - BV Tiger Band Support

2021 State Champions

Oh yeah… by the way… they just WON THE KANSAS STATE MARCHING BAND COMPETITION on Oct 30th! Congrats Blue Valley Tiger Band! You are loved and You Matter, Right Here, Right Now!

Father's Club - BV Tiger Band Support

By Todd Milner, Board Member/Director of Campus Development and Mike Rothwell, Board Member/Director of Community Partners

Shawnee Mission East

Shawnee Mission East

The 2021/2022 school year is in full operation at this point, and the Father’s Club has been honored to partner with three new schools, their administration, and the dads in those communities by locking arms and going to battle together. In 2021, we welcomed Shawnee Mission East, Heritage Christian Academy, and Olathe West. The total chapter count is now sixteen campuses and counting. The men of these schools are energized and ready to create simple ways for dads to be intentional with the kids, each other, and the communities in which they serve.

In the 2021/2022 school year we have many new chapters of the Father’s Club launching.

The past 18 months have been a challenge for all communities, students, and families. The Father’s Club has felt similar burdens as well. As a result, we’re not only opening and launching new chapters, but we’re also relaunching many of our existing chapters. 

Shawnee Mission East

Shawnee Mission East

It’s exciting to see the pent up demand of dads who are eager to #ShowUp for their kids, other dads, and their school communities. The energy is vibrant this fall all around the campuses our dads are serving. The momentum is contagious as the total headcount of dads engaging and stepping up is about to exceed 1,000!

So how does a new chapter get launched?

What does it take to have a successful chapter launch in our school? Like all thing’s dad, the key to the Father’s Club is to not overthink things and keep it simple. When the Father’s Club began in 2018 the mission was clear and focused around getting busy dads to be more engaged and intentional with their kiddos and in their schools. 

 Dads traditionally are busy with work, family, activities, life in general, and find their tank empty each night and by the end of the week. Often men wait for their significant others to lean in and tell them when to #ShowUp. We lacked intentionality. We lacked leadership in our schools and communities. Many times, we let others fill the void as we’re too busy!

Olathe West

Olathe West

Like our partners at F3 say, “We were suffering from Sad Clown Syndrome.” We go to work, come home, get sucked into our electronic devices, hope we did our best to provide for our family, participate in our kids’ activities, and try to go on a vacation each year. Then we rinse and repeat this course of action day in and day out, week in and week out until our tank is empty. 

While we are more connected than ever before in history, we still feel more disconnected than ever before. Do you ever ask yourself why is that? What can I do to change this cycle?

 The Father’s Club assists dads who are called to be leaders at home, at work and in their communities to be more engaged with their kids and their schools. In the battle for our time and talents, Father’s Club believes dads are stronger together and we help men understand they are not alone in the battles we face day in and day out. 

Every Father’s Club Chapter exists to create simple and intentional ways for dads to engage with their kids, other dads and within their community.

Olathe West

Olathe West

The Father’s Club is a turnkey opportunity to make it amazingly easy for Dads to join, get engaged and begin making an immediate impact.

HERE ARE THE STEPS IN THE PROCESS TO KICK OFF A VIBRANT NEW FATHER’S CLUB CHAPTER . . .

  1. Identify a small group of men in your school community who have shared vision and desire to live life together in community with one another. We cannot overemphasize the importance of this step. The group may or may not exist today. But finding like minded men with a shared vision is mission critical. A Father’s Club Chapter’s success is dependent on a group of men committed to mission, purpose, and authenticity with one another.
  2.  Next you need to engage with the administration at your school. Cast your vision to the principal and other members of the administration. These individuals are key stakeholders in the mission and allowing them to provide input and feedback is also mission critical. Our experience tells us that most administrators are more than excited to share in the Father’s Club vision and are longing for help and support from the dads in their school community.
  3. Contact the development team at the Father’s Club. Visit www.fathersclub.org, Click on CONTACT. Send us an email. Our development team will connect with you directly and provide you with the entire playbook for a successful Father’s Club Chapter Launch.
  4. Schedule your Chapter Launch Meeting
  5.  Solidify a steering committee that will carry out the Father’s Club Mission at your school.
  6.  Keep it Simple. Select a few simple things you can do for kids, dads, and your school community. Whatever, those few things are done with excellence, love & humility. As you grow and expand your reach amongst the community you can add more engagement opportunities
Heritage Christian Academy

Heritage Christian Academy

Our newest chapters, Shawnee Mission East, Heritage Christian Academy, and Olathe West are notable examples of dads locking arms, being intentional and engaged. They have a shared vision and are ready to lean in and do the work to have a meaningful impact on their kids, dads, and their school community.

Our battle cry is simple. Right Here. Right Now, You Matter.

Every kid matters. Every Dad matters. Every school community matters. Don’t wait. Don’t overthink it. When you lock arms with another dad and make the decision to lean in together, amazing things will happen in your family, in your life and within your school.

So, if this mission hits home with you, you love your kids and you have a passion to serve others, you are a perfect fit to be part of one of our Father’s Club Chapters throughout the metro area.

Heritage Christian Academy

Heritage Christian Academy

Written by Bob BennishBVSW

A few years ago, my family and I moved to Kansas City from the Chicago area. We were new to town and didn’t really have any friends or connections. My buddies back home in Chicago were giving me total grief about checking out F3. I had no interest in getting up at 5:30am to workout with a bunch of strangers. I was in horrible shape and it was the last thing I wanted to do. I was comfortable just going to work, making a good living, keeping my kids safe, making sure they had a good education, and enjoying my wife and our time together. No need for anything else.

Then my crazy friends came to KC for a visit.

F3 LogoWhat do you know? They forced me out of the house one Saturday morning to attend an F3 workout. Of course the night they arrived we had a bit of fun on the back patio, and enjoyed the conversation late into the evening. When that alarm went off the next morning, I was in no shape to work out. These dudes dragged me out of bed and into the morning gloom with absolute strangers from KC.

The workout was horrible. I was in no condition to be there. But something was different. The guys there that morning were so welcoming and made me feel at home. Even though I was out of shape and not feeling 100%, I never felt I didn’t belong there. The encouragement was amazing. I met some really cool guys, we had coffee afterwards to connect even more and I felt a need to come back for more.

Two years have gone by and I can honestly say that my health is vastly different.

But more importantly, the relationships are what it is all about. I get to see my buddies several times a week. We challenge each other to be a little bit better each day. I’ve seen absolute acceleration in my leadership abilities at home, work and within the community. My fitness may be better, but my relationships are stronger and deeper than ever before.

I encourage you all to come check out F3 here in Kansas City. Many of you already have. I’m a Dad just like you. My kids go to BVSW and Aubrey Bend here in the Blue Valley School District. We are part of this community now because of my engagement three or five times a week at F3. I look forward to seeing you in the gloom some morning real soon.

Bob Bennish
BVSW Dad

F3 Kansas City Schedule

MORE ABOUT F3

F3 is a national network including 2,921 free, peer-led workouts for men in 212 regions. Our mission is to plant, grow and serve small workout groups for men for the invigoration of male community leadership.

WHEN DID F3 START?

F3 started in 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. F3 has grown to more than 30 states and 2,000+ scheduled workouts a week through the volunteer efforts of men whose lives have been changed by their involvement with the group.

WHAT DOES F3 STAND FOR?

The three Fs in our name stand for Fitness, Fellowship and Faith — the last of which we define as not one specific religion or faith system, but simply a belief in something outside oneself.

F3 HAS NO RULES JUST 5 CORE PRINCIPLES

1) Free of Charge – Never a charge to workout, ever

2) Open to all Men – No matter the man, you are welcome here.

3) Held Outdoors – Rain or Shine, Heat or Chill, we are out there.

4) Peer Led – Rotating fashion of men leading each other.

5) Ends with COT – Always ends with a Circle of Trust

F3 BATTLE CRY

“Leave no man behind, but leave no man where you find him.”

COME CHECK OUT F3

We welcome men of all fitness levels to our workouts and have no requirement for membership other than that you show up at the appointed time and place and follow what the workout leader (the “Q” in F3 lingo) does.

Learn more at the F3 Kansas City website.

2021 Mission Cup RecapThe Mission Cup golf tournament started 12 years ago as a friendly competition between neighborhoods. Bragging rights among friends, just an excuse to have fun. At the time, the players were young fathers, and the common thread was kids in elementary and middle schools that would feed into Blue Valley High School. 

Years went by, and the tournament rolled around every August, just as school was starting up in the fall. Everything about the Mission Cup was familiar; same golf course, same time of year, same players, same silliness. Lasting friendships were renewed and strengthened. 

What was different of course, is that their kids were getting older. The pressures of being a teenager started showing up at their kitchen tables every night; the desire to be accepted, the bullying, the social media, high expectations in academics and sports. It can change the course of families, sometimes forever.

In 2018 and 2019 there were a heartbreaking number of teen suicides in Johnson County.

2021 Mission Cup RecapAs school communities, neighbors, and churches rallied to help process the grief, the most fearful questions always lingered: Would there be another? What can we do to help? What are the signs? Father’s Club wanted to make a difference. 

Father’s Club started at Blue Valley High, by a group of dads who had played in the Mission Cup at one time or another. Like all nonprofits, it needed a vehicle for fundraising. The golf tournament was already well established enough to make an impact. And the Mission Cup partnership with Father’s Club was born. It made perfect sense. 

Over the past three years, Father’s Club has seen tremendous growth, expanding to 10 active high school chapters, and on its way to 15. This year’s Mission Cup had players from almost all of its current chapters, sold out its sponsorships, fielded over 120 golfers, and shattered its past fundraising records. These funds will be used in large part to train and certify dads all over the KC metro in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA). This training equips them to recognize and head off mental health issues before it’s too late. In other words MHFA may save a life.

But this Mission Cup was like no other, in an even more important way. 

2021 Mission Cup RecapEnter Chuck Smith… and Father’s Club will never be the same. No one was prepared for the incredible impact this man would have on the organization and the Mission Cup in just over a month’s time. Call it a divine appointment, serendipity, or the stars aligning. Chuck recently happened to be playing the same course where dads from our Olathe East chapter were playing a round of golf to raise funds for their chapter. Chuck overhead a very brief conversation about the Father’s Club tackling teen suicide and mental health issues. He was stopped in his tracks. Chuck’s son had just recently attempted suicide and survived.

Chuck immediately wanted to learn more about Father’s Club. But this story is only just beginning. It turns out that Chuck has terminal cancer. His doctor told him he only has 6 months to live. He was already determined to spend his final days raising awareness of mental health issues and doing everything in his power to make sure that kids can pursue their dreams, and don’t harm themselves. So what did Chuck do? He decided to ride his motorcycle to the foot of the Grand Teton Mountains, and then turn around and come back home to Kansas. Over 3,000 miles. Terminal cancer.

2021 Mission Cup RecapThe story is awe-inspiring, and was documented on his Facebook page at Chuck’s Last Ride. Because Father’s Club is aligned with Chuck on teen suicide and mental health, Chuck has decided to donate all proceeds from Chuck’s Last Ride to Father’s Club. 100% of the proceeds will be used for mental health awareness. And by the way, Chuck played in the Mission Cup, and told his story both at the tournament and the after party. Everyone was blown away and personally moved by this great man. 

This year’s Mission Cup is in the books. It will be hard to top. Thank you to all our participants and sponsors. We are forever grateful that you partnered with us on the mission to create simple ways for dads to be intentional with kids, other dads and within the community.

2021 Mission Cup Recap 2021 Mission Cup Recap

2021 Mission Cup Recap 2021 Mission Cup Recap 2021 Mission Cup Recap

Hey Father’s Club! I’m a dad just like you. I’ve got a 10th grade boy (Jeremy) at BVSW and 8th and 6th grade daughters (Layla and Mira) at Aubry Bend MS. I’ve also been working with teenagers through an organization called Young Life for 17 years.

My wife and I started our first 11 years with Young Life in Europe, specifically Munich, Germany. Now I work on the YL Europe Team as Director of Strategic Initiatives and I also will be helping lead our Young Life work in Blue Valley and Olathe Schools starting this October.

I’m honored to be a part of Father’s Club in my local school. What you are doing really matters to connect dads, help kids, and keep our community strong!

Why does Young Life exist?
There are a lot of hurting kids out there. A lot who are lost.  That is the heartbeat of Young Life – to seek out the kids who need hope, who need a purpose, who need a community and to offer them the gift of friendship.

We do that in 3 primary ways:

1) Going where kids are and building personal relationships with them  

2) Providing fun, adventurous, life-changing experiences

3) Working in community alongside like-minded adults 

We are excited to partner with Father’s Club for the #GoTheDistance Campaign 

#GTD is a campaign of compassion, aimed at raising awareness for teen mental health in our community.

The CDC lists suicide as the second leading cause of death among 10-34 year olds in America.

Through the “30 days of hope” challenge and the “1 Day Run-Bike-Walk” we will mobilize our community to:

– Get moving – teams will run, bike and walk!

– Together – teams will receive a media kit with tools to share their journey with their friends online

– For Hope – the media kit will equip our teams with images, data, and resources to share on social media that will raise awareness and offer tools to help address teen mental health

REGISTER at http://www.gothedistanceforteens.com

Get involved with Young Life South Johnson County?

“How can I get involved?” form here

First Outreach Event – September 13th (fill out form for more info) form here

New Leader Training – Starting September 20th (fill out form for more info) form here

High School Winter Weekend – 12/3 – 12/5 @ Clearwater Cove in Branson, MO. (fill out form for more info) form here

Matt Adams
Young Life
Area Developer

Brad Holdhusen, the CEO of Father’s Club shares a call to action for dads. He wanted to share one of the focuses for Father’s Club as we begin this school year together. And he does it with a food analogy!

We’ve all seen the plates with sections to keep food separate… but Brad suggests what we really want is just a big flat plate. Why? So that everything can mix together of course. There is too much division right now. Let’s stop focusing on sides and focus on the main entrée. And that is making it easy for dads to get involved with their kids at school and in the community.

With love, resolve and humility, we want to be a catalyst for change. Join us!