What is the name of your dad’s group?
Wilmington Stay-At-Home Dads
What cities or area do you serve?
Wilmington, Leland, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, and Hampstead in Southeastern NC
How many active members do you have?
We have 5 members that come on a regular basis, but during the summer when school isn’t in session, we have about 8 active members.
How long have you been a group?
Since March of 2015
Who are the organizers of your group?
Patrick Bradshaw (organizer), Edwin Jousma (co-organizer), and Luke Cole (co-organizer)
What was your most successful event?
Morning out at the beach! We had about 8 or 9 dads show up at our first beach playgroup last summer, and we had a blast!
How many events do you suggest per month to keep members interested and active?
I would suggest a minimum of 4, so about once a week. That way you don’t lose touch, and you guys are able to get enough adult interaction.
Do you offer playgroup meet ups? How many times a week do you have playgroup?
Yes, we have playgroup meet ups once or twice a week. We meet more often during the warmer months when we can be outside easier.
How did you get the word out about your group to your community?
I just started the group on meetup.com, and thankfully they do an announcement to those signed up for the site in the area. Those who had indicated an interest in parent groups and playgroups got the notification, and a bunch of people signed up fairly quickly. There are of course more dads signed up on the actual site than come on a regular basis, but I think we have a great group of dads who come!
Do you offer Dad’s Night Out Events? Where do you go?
So far we’ve had one Dad’s Night Out, and that was last fall at a small bar downtown. We do plan on having some more of these events though, as well as family picnics so we can meet the spouses/partners of the other dads.
What is the age range of the children in your group?
Infant through 6 years
Do you meet in a common place in your community or at members’ homes?
We meet at various parks around town for the most part, but also the beach and splash pad during the summer. We’ve also met at the library for story time, and when it’s raining or cold there are a couple of great indoor play spots that aren’t very expensive. We try to keep it free or very low cost if possible.
What advice would you give dads who want to start their own group?
First, I would suggest meetup.com as a great place to get started. There is a cost, but once you get the group going, you can get the members to chip in a little. One of the best pieces of advice given to me before I started the group in Wilmington was to not expect anyone to show up at first. Keep going to the events even if no one shows up, and just enjoy the time with your kids at the park or wherever you meet. It may take a few weeks or even longer, but eventually you’ll likely have other dads start to come. Word of mouth is also important. If you don’t meet other dads at the places you go, talk to the moms, and they may very well know of at-home dads and tell them about your group.
What is special or unique about your group that sets you apart from other dad’s groups?
We have a great group of dads with varying interests and even from different parts of the world. And we all love our kids, love being outside, and have a great time getting together.