More than a century ago, Sonora Louis Smart Dodd aspired to create a holiday to honor fathers. Dodd, the daughter of a single father and Civil War veteran, was inspired by a Mother’s Day sermon and wondered why there was no holiday for fathers. After securing support from ministers in Spokane, Wash., her idea came to fruition with the first Father’s Day celebration at the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910.
On Sunday, June 16, the Westport Weston Family Y joins the nation in celebrating Father’s Day and recognizing the impact fathers and adult male role models make in children’s lives.
Nationally, one out of three children lives in a home without their biological father, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And, societal factors such as long work and commute hours, unemployment, or a lack of resources can affect fathers’ ability to seek support in strengthening their parenting skills and more fully engaging in the lives of their children. The Family Y remains dedicated to providing resources and opportunities for fathers to further involve themselves in the well-being and development of their children.
“One way to improve child well-being is to increase the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers and adult male role models,” said Rob Reeves, Family Y CEO and the father of two daughters, both now in their 20s. “Father’s Day reminds us why it’s important to provide fathers with the support they need to be the best parents and caregivers they can be.”
Studies show that children with close relationships with their fathers and other adult male role models have more self-confidence and exhibit less depression, perform better academically and engage in significantly less drug and alcohol use.
The Family Y offers a variety of programs that foster understanding and companionship between children and their parents, from our year-round Parent-Child swim program and Toddler Adventure Gym to Summer Session classes like Dribbling with Dad and Parent & Child Indoor Soccer, both kicking off later this month.
Fathers can also play a valued role in support of their children’s activities at the Y as a volunteer. Parents are always welcome as chaperones at Youth Fun Nights, when the Y turns into a “Tween Clubhouse” for 4th-7th Graders. The Water Rats Parents’ Club offers many opportunities to help out at swim meets – and even take part in the always entertaining (for the kids!) relay races at the Blue-Red Swim Meet, an informal intrasquad meet held every fall.
For Dads (and Moms) who are really up to the challenge, there’s the annual Point to Point Compo Beach Swim, a 1-mile open-water swim taking place this year on July 20. And, of course, parents are always welcome to cheer on their children at the Y’s annual Strong Kids Triathlon, root from the sidelines during Travel Basketball games or applaud performances by our Exhibition Gymnasts and Award-winning Dancers.
And though we’re all hoping to celebrate Father’s Day with bright, sunny skies and quality time outdoors, please know that on Sunday, June 16, the Family Y’s Stauffer Pool (and diving board!) will have open swim from 12 to 4 pm; the warm-water Brophy Pool will be open for family swim from 12:30 to 4 pm; and our Upper Gym has open time from 1:30 to 5 pm.
The Family Y also provides opportunities for parents and children age 10 and older to work out together in our fitness center, after your child has completed three free Fitlinxx orientation sessions. For details, contact Health & Wellness Shelley Moll at 203-226-8981 or email@example.com.
To learn more about family-oriented programs and activities at the Family Y, contact Jay Jaronko, Senior Program Director, at 203-226-8981, ext. 109, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit the Family Y’s website, www.westporty.org.
Enjoy the photo gallery below of quality-time moments with fathers/guardians and their children at an array of Family Y classes, activities and special events.