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Omaha Dads and kids at Fontanelle Forest

What is the name of your dad’s group?

Omaha Dads

What cities or area do you serve?

Omaha and the surrounding metropolitan area

How many active members do you have?

16

How long have you been a group?

Since November of 2013

Who are the organizers of your group?

Patrick Hoarty, CJ Trader, Corey Minchow, Douglas Robbins and Jeffrey McRae

What was your most successful event?

In January we arranged a “Family Day” on a Saturday at a local pizza place.  This was a great opportunity for the wives to meet and get to know each other, and for the families to bond and have fun together.   We anticipate scheduling a Family Day about once a quarter as a way of connecting the families beyond simply the playgroup experience.

How many events do you suggest per month to keep members interested and active?

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Playgroup at Florence Library

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Do you offer playgroup meet ups? How many times a week do you have playgroup?

Our playgroup meets every Thursday from 10am-Noon.   This has been a great way for us to explore Omaha with the kids and allow their friendships to develop.  It is also a chance for the dads to converse and share stories of our triumphs and challenges inherent in at-home parenting.

How did you get the word out about your group to your community?

Everywhere we go we hand out cards/flyers promoting the group.  Gyms, community centers, pediatrician offices, libraries, stores, museums – any place where we think at-home dads may be venturing.  Our wives have been a great resource as well, promoting the group within their circle of friends.  CJ Trader established a Facebook page for us and we have been able to get the word out via social media.  CJ also recently added our group to the Omaha Public Library’s website and they have a featured spot for us in their parenting section.

Do you offer Dad’s Night Out Events?  Where do you go?

We meet once a month for a DNO.  Whichever member of the Leadership Team is planning that month’s events determines the spot.  So far we have met for a beer at local taverns.

What is the age range of the children in your group?

The youngest in our group is 9 months, and we have some kids in school age 7 and 9 who will be joining us in the summer.  Two of our members’ wives are due in April so that will bring a whole new element into the playgroups!  Most of the kids in our group are 1-2 yrs. so one or more of us is invariably chasing them around – our challenge right now is finding activities/space that is fun and safe for toddlers.

Do you meet in a common place in your community or at members’ homes?

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Family Day event at Pizza Machine

We have met once at a member’s home, but most often we meet out and about within the community.  During the colder months that means museums, libraries, community centers, indoor playgrounds and nature centers.  During the warmer weather (and we are looking forward to that soon!) we plan to meet mostly in the public parks.

What advice would you give dads who want to start their own group?

  1. A social networking site like Meetup can really help get you off the ground.  Meetup is becoming more and more recognizable within social media circles and has been a valuable way for us to promote our activities not only to members but to potential members as well.
  2.   Be patient with your group – it may take some time for guys to attend activities regularly.    Try to offer consistency with time of week so members can plan for the meetup.  Remember that schedules for at-home dads can change quickly with preschool and other commitments so you may have guys come and go.  Don’t take that personally.  Make sure that hospitality is a hallmark of your group and that everyone feels welcome!

What is special or unique about your group that sets you apart from other dad’s groups?

Part of what makes us unique is that we branched off from an older group, the LinOma Dads.  We owe a debt of gratitude to the dads who started the LinOma group for getting playgroups going in the Lincoln and Omaha areas, and for raising awareness in these two communities for at-home dads.  Now that we are focusing on Omaha with our group, we have a unique blend of newer dads, and a number of veteran dads from LinOma who have joined our group as well.

Another aspect of our group which makes us unique is that we have formed a partnership with the Omaha Public Library.  Once a month, the library provides a “Storytime” for dads and their kids, complete with a theme and hands on activities.  We rotate around 12 different libraries in the course of a year, so it is a fantastic way to explore different communities in Omaha and allow the kids a fun and educational experience each month.

You can find this group and others on our Find A Dad’s Group under our Groups Tab on our website’s main page http://athomedad.org/dad-groups/find-a-dad-group/