Looking after and providing for a baby is one of life’s biggest challenges. At Boot Camp for New Dads, you’ll learn firsthand from men who recently became dads how to care for your baby-on-the-way. This men-only workshop will teach you the ropes for surviving the toughest job there is. And remember, Boot Camp for New Dads is FREE!
Men have brains bathed in testosterone and vasopressin. That means we relate to the world more physically than emotionally. It means that we are likely to engage in fun, creative play. But it also means we are more likely to shake our babies when they’re fussy, which can disable a child for life. Many of us are “builders.” And we’re each on our “heroic journey,” our quest. We’re up for challenges, and we’re out to protect—whether as responsible citizens, soldiers, policemen, or firefighters. When we have mediocre jobs, we pursue our quest through physical challenges such as hunting, fishing, camping, and athletic competition. It’s been proven time and time again that we learn best by participating physically, not by reading a book. And we learn best from other men. Based on these foundations of male culture, Boot Camp for New Dads® prepares men for parenting by building confidence, offering hands-on training, and initiating men into the brotherhood of fatherhood. The workshop was developed by fathers, is facilitated by men, and no women are present during the 3-hour workshop.
Boot Camp for New Dads is a workshop that inspires and equips men of different economic levels, ages, and cultures to become confidently engaged with their infants. Boot Camp’s one-on-one training is similar to those found in high-performance sports or military exercises. The workshop will inspire you, test you, and ultimately support you to be your best.
Boot Camp for New Dads is a non-profit that was founded in 1990 and has graduated more than 325,000 men, making it the nation’s largest program for new fathers. The program is offered in 44 states, on U.S. military bases, and in Canada and the U.K.
Boot Camp is validated by research and has been named a best practice by many organizations. Founded in 1990, Boot Camp for New Dads is a non-profit that has graduated more than 325,000 men, making it by far the nation’s largest program for new fathers.
The Grants Pass, Oregon Chapter was established in 2015 by Bob Bath.
At Boot Camp for New Dads, veteran fathers bring their babies and let you interact with a real newborn.
• Troubleshoot when a baby cries
• Develop a bond
• Keep your baby safe
• Deal with relatives
• Burp, change, and swaddle
• Form a parenting team
• Prevent child abuse
• Provide the help new moms need from dads
• This FREE 3-hour workshop usually takes place the second Saturday of each month.
• Workshops are held at Women’s Health Center of Southern Oregon, 1075 SW Grandview Avenue in Grants Pass, OR.
• Ideally, you attend this training for new dads 1–2 months before your first baby is due.
• Dads who have previously attended Boot Camp bring their 2- to 12-month-old babies.
• Rookie dads ask questions. Veterans dads answer questions and share their experiences.
• Trained coaches educate about parenting topics and facilitate discussions.
• Rookies get hands-on time with babies, with no mothers in sight.
Boot Camp for New Dads was featured in the March 2016 cover story in the Grants Pass Sneak Preview.
Grants Pass’ Boot Camp for New Dads follows the core values set by the international organization. Those principles include:
We respect every father’s desire to be there for his child, no matter what his circumstances. We support every father to do his best and overcome his challenges.
Bringing out the best.
Let’s face it: guys respond to challenges and accept guidance from those with experience. Boot Camp offers a safe, open environment where you can voice your doubts, fears, and concerns.
Tools for success.
Boot Camp builds skills and confidence before your baby arrives. Once you connect with your baby, you’ll have the strength to overcome any challenge.
Boot Camp offers information and alternatives. We let you decide what’s best for you and your family.
We surround you with others who help you to do your best. Boot Camp fosters and rewards excellence in fathering, and holds each father accountable for their performance.
Boot Camp for New Dads Facilitator, Grants Pass Chapter
What is success?
Some people might consider my conversion of a ’92 Honda Civic to all-electric power a success… or 26 years of marriage… or 27 years of teaching middle and high school science. But what I value most in my life is time spent with my 14 and 23 years old daughters. I can count on one hand the number of the older daughter’s soccer and basketball games I missed over the years; ditto the younger daughter’s dance concerts, track meets, and violin performances.
What led you to Boot Camp?
I heard a National Public Radio broadcast about a program that teaches inner-city expectant fathers who never had fathers—how to be fathers. Within 36 hours of that NPR story, I saw a news broadcast about Boot Camp for New Dads, a program similar to the one above, but that does not target any specific male demographic. The broadcast pointed out that when many fathers today can’t provide financial resources for their family they leave the relationship. Many men don’t realize how diapering, consoling, playing with, and reading to their child also “provides” by reducing mom’s stress level and contributes to a happier family structure. Both broadcasts pushed me to begin making a few calls to find out whether a new dad training program could be established here.
What has parenting taught you?
I’ll be the first to say that parenting is an art, and I’m no expert at it. But I can provide organizational and logistical support through this great program. As a father, I’ve coached or assisted with soccer, softball, and basketball for my own daughter’s sports teams. It’s not a matter of being an amazing athlete; you read up on drills and compliment kids when they do a skill correctly. Whatever your child’s unique interests, you show up…encourage practice at home, and eventually “bask in the afterglow” of their successes. And whatever your interests are (camping, biking, fishing, whitewater rafting), practice them regularly in front of the kids, and soon they adopt those activities as their favorites too.
I have taken my own kids and others to Sierra Service Project, La Puerta de Fe Orfanatorio, and homeless service learning projects in Seattle, Portland, Louisiana, and San Francisco with church youth groups, I even got my commercial driver’s license so I could drive large groups of kids. Parenting can definitely pull you out of your comfort level!
What are the rewards of fatherhood?
I will never forget attending a FIFA cup soccer game in Portland with my older daughter, and performing duets with my younger daughter at my sister-in-law’s wedding. Sometimes parenting exposed my weaknesses, but without question, it’s provided me with the greatest joys of my life. The reward may not be apparent for years at a time, but eventually your kids will write an essay about you, or they’ll tell you how much they love you and give you a hug, or they’ll tell you something magnificent you did years ago. It gives your brain a dopamine rush and makes your eyes water. I can’t think of much in life that gives me the same sense of personal fulfillment.
“We have never had such a great response from men, their transformation in the workshops is phenomenal, and they started coming to our other programs as well. It’s great to offer fathers a program that is positive rather than punitive.” —New Parent Support Program, U.S. Navy Southwest Region
“I enjoyed being part of the class and would like to be a veteran and come back for others.” —Matt, October 2016
“Could have gone much longer! Thank you for the support.” —Nick, October 2016
“Great course! I learned a lot. This is a good program and I wished more people knew about it. Definitely recommend!” —Ronan, October 2016
“Wonderful to talk with the new dads.” —Evan, July 2016 (written as a rookie; now a regular returning “veteran”)
“Really appreciated hearing from the new fathers all of the advice and knowledge they shared.” —John, March 2016
“Great first class, and I think the real value is in the community of fathers that can be very candid and leaned on for information.” —Kyle, December 2015 (written as a rookie; now a regular returning “veteran”)
Boot Camp for New Dads has been named a best practice by many organizations because it helps prevent a wide range of social ills such as child abuse. State initiatives promoting responsible fatherhood in Florida, Texas, California and Illinois, have all endorsed Boot Camp for New Dads.
Endorsements from other organizations include: 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.
Boot Camp is offered in Grants Pass, Oregon the second Saturday of each month, from 9–noon, at Women’s Health Center of Southern Oregon. Ideally you would do a workshop 1–2 months before your baby’s due date. Complete the registration form below at least two weeks before the workshop you want to take. A Boot Camp facilitator will contact you to confirm your registration.