Getting dads involved at the middle school helps jump start Father’s Club at high school

By Jim Bradford, Chapter Co-Chair at Mission Trail Middle School for Father’s Club

From the moment our children are born, we’re waiting for the firsts. Their first word. Their first step. Their first tooth.

A parents’ world revolves around the firsts. They’re never ending and never get old.

No one wants to miss those firsts, either. Witnessing every single one of those firsts is a right of passage for every parent. You never want to be the one to say, “Oh, I can’t believe I missed it!”

Parents are wired to remember, and celebrate, the firsts.

But in time, those first become lasts. That’s a whole other set of emotions, right?

Getting dads involved at the middle school helps jump start Father’s Club at high schoolAlong that road from first to last is the middle and that’s where Father’s Club flourishes. That’s part of the reason we’ve begun opening Father’s Club chapters at the middle school level in Olathe, to be sure we help fill that gap. More are coming, too. Additional chapters at middle schools in Olathe,  Blue Valley and North Kansas City are set to begin in the fall.

And as we look to help fill those gaps – the middles – it’s the work we do at the middle school level that can be the most important. That’s where we build the base for being a positive influence, being present in the lives of these students.

While our impact at the high school level is important, getting the buy-in from impactful dads at middle school is paramount.

At the elementary level in Olathe, we’re able to connect with our students and so many others through the Watch D.O.G.S. program, even if for just one day a year, maybe two. But after that, there wasn’t anything in place for dads to do to stay involved.

Enter Father’s Club at the middle school.

Getting dads involved at the middle school helps jump start Father’s Club at high schoolKeeping dads engaged immediately after their kids leave elementary school makes for a much easier transition to Father’s Club at the high school level. Making an impact immediately at middle school keeps the train moving into high school, helping to eliminate the need for so much recruitment of dads when high school starts. The dads are already involved, engaged and ready to step in and continue making that impact, being present for all the kids.

The mission of Father’s Club is no different at middle school than it is at high school. We strive to be intentional in everything we do for the students, fellow dads and everyone within our community, but that intentionality just might mean a little bit more to 11-, 12- and 13-year-olds.

You never know when that subtle interaction can become that perfect elixir to brighten someone’s day or spark something. We may not be moving mountains, but what we can do is be there to support their journey. No one’s journey is the same. And sometimes the middle of that journey can be the toughest part. It’s easy to start and once you’ve got it figured out, the ending comes flying at you at 80 miles and hour.

It’s in the middle where most of the hard work is done and that’s when Father’s Club can lend support to these kids. They need it. And they may not even know it.

Let’s not let the things in the middle get overlooked and slip away.

Our role is two-fold, really. We want to be there for them as they get knee-deep in the middle and, second, we want to set the foundation for our high school Father’s Club. It’s there where we help them get to the lasts before they walk across that stage and embark on some new firsts.

If you want to get involved, or know someone who might be able to make a difference at either the middle school or high school level, you can find some more great info about Father’s Club here!

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