MCLEOD — If you were looking for a camp for dads, look no further. Dads brought their daughters to Gallatin National Forest not only for a weekend of fun but to also strengthen the bonds they share with their children.
Clydehurst Christian Ranch was bustling this weekend for Dad Camp.
“The camp is really for us. It teaches us how to be better dads,” said Dad Camp participant, Todd Wilson on Saturday.
Wilson’s been to Dad Camp for the past four years. It’s the second year he’s been able to bring his 8-year-old daughter, Emily.
“We went on a hike, and we sat down and just talked. We just hang out and we spend a lot of time together,” said Emily Wilson.
That’s the goal of Dad Camp. It was founded back in 2006 in Indiana and was brought to Montana through Harvest Church in Billings.
“It’s specifically designed to build stronger fathers because we believe that if we build stronger fathers, we’re going to build stronger families and stronger communities,” said Alex Falder, the adult ministries pastor at Harvest Church.
Dad Camp hosts weekends for fathers and sons as well and the program runs for five weeks throughout the summer.
“We give dads a context through a weekend experience. We pour into the dads and then the dad pour in this weekend, into their daughters,” Falder said.
This weekend, 36 dads were given resources and tools to work on being more present and engaged with their children, allowing them to spend time with their kids without the distractions of phones or jobs.
“We had an hour this afternoon where we just had one on one time. I get to ask her good questions and I think it just opens that door of communication,” said Dad Camp participant, Toby Hill.
Hill’s seven-year-old daughter, Hadley, wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I like that we get to do fun things and spend time together,” Hadley Hill said.
Dads and daughters leave with a tangible memory of the weekend. They make each other plaques that express the importance of their relationship.
“And it reminds us of the time we had together, and it helps remind each other that we’re number one,” said Wilson.
The work these dads put into camp shows, especially to their kids.
“He’s amazing,” said Emily Wilson.
If you’d like more information on Dad Camp, visit DADCAMP, Inc. - DADCAMP.