A CAMPOUT at Attadale Primary School last weekend is part of a program aimed at improving relationships between fathers and their kids, as well as making the school a safer place to be.
More than 300 kids and dads pitched tents on the school oval and spent the weekend bonding over ice-creams, bouncy castles, a fire truck and a movie.
AttaDads was formed last year; a 15-member committee of fathers who’ve so far organised two campouts, a day out on the river together, and a couple of secret men’s business get-togethers sans ankle-biters.
AttaDads leader Michael Carmody says apart from helping to make happier families, the program is also helping to make the school safer, as the campouts help everyone bond so they’re more likely to look after each other.
“One hundred and ten per cent successful,” Mr Carmody said of last week’s event, which was attended by more than half of the families with kids at the school.
AttaDads is based around guidelines established by The Fathering Project, which was established by UWA cancer researcher Bruce Robinson 20 years ago.
Dr Robinson had witnessed hundreds of men on their deathbed, and there was almost a universal regret; they wished they’d spent more time with their kids.
Researching the impact of neglectful dads on their kids, he found it could lead to increased substance abuse, self-harm and suicide.
That prompted him to establish The Fathering Project in conjunction with UWA, which now runs seminars at workplaces, schools and community groups, and has been adopted in six countries.
Dr Robinson’s efforts led to him being awarded Western Australian of the Year in 2013.
by JERICHO FEATHERSTONE