Yo, dads: This class wants YOU

All right men, listen up! You’re about to become daddies.
You’ve never even seen one of those squirmy little munchkin things before, let alone held a screaming wet one in your hands. It’s time you made Mom proud. It’s time to enlist, men. It’s time to sign up for Boot Camp for New Dads.
No, it’s not a kinder, gentler form of military training (although it may be just as grueling and terrifying). It’s a chance for rookies to give themselves a workout and get the inside scoop on things like poop before they climb into the trenches of fatherhood.
This one-session class offered by Children, Youth, and Family Services is designed specifically for first-time dads who are clueless about the machinations and needs of the new person about to enter their lives.
Veterans— guys who have been to the class before and spent two to six months on maneuvers with their own babies — return to camp to share their wisdom on challenges such as feeding the little rug rat, changing icky diapers, burping (and the goo that goes with it), car safety seats, plugging up electric outlets, what to do when it’s mom who’s crying, and oh so much more. These guys are so brave, they even bring their babies for new recruits to practice on. 
Josh Stewart-Silver, a counselor at CYFS and father of five, has facilitated the class for two years. “It’s very guy-friendly,” he says. “Dads from former classes come back with heart warming stories about the birth and what it was like for them to hold their baby for the first time.”
Starting September 6, Boot Camp will be the first session of a new series of free fatherhood classes offered by CYFS called Dads C.A.R.E. After Boot Camp helps men connect to their babies, the four-part series offers classes that discuss child development and how to help baby get off to a good start, relating positively to baby’s mom (just a few hints on what to expect when the new mom isn’t acting quite like herself), and advice on men’s role in supporting the family and how to balance job and family.
So come on, men. Be all you can be. Join the class and march into fatherhood with your head held high. Your children will thank you. 

The Dad’s CARE Program meets in the classroom space above the Downtown Family Health Center. Boot Camp for New Dads starts September 6. Classes rotate through the series every four weeks, and men can join the series at any point. Free. Call Children, Youth, and Family Services to sign up. 313 Second St. 296-4118.

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