Dad To Dad

New Dad Bootcamp with the NYC Dads' Group
New Dad Boot Camp with the NYC Dads’ Group

Editor’s Note: Five years ago, Lance Somerfeld and Matt Schneider—two stay-at-home dads who had first become friends as teachers at a Bronx public school—thought it might be a good idea for their social life (and sanity) to see if there were other stay-at-home dads around who might be interested in getting together on occasion for playdates and schmoozing. Though their effort—the NYC Dads Group—may have been born of personal need and modest expectation, it has accomplished something that, to my knowledge, no previous local dads group had ever done: it worked!

These days, NYC Dads has about 1,000 active local members—working dads and stay-at-home dads alike—who participate in their live events and enjoy their online offerings. Their group events include everything from dad-child museum visits to Dads’ Night Out fun; and their New Dad Boot Camps, in particular, have become a famously helpful rite of passage for new fathers around the city.

At the same time, Somerfeld and Schneider have helped start similar dads groups, not only around the New York Tri-State area, but also in other cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and Denver. And they have taken on a high-profile media role as a combination educator/advocate/watchdog for fathers and fathering that’s been reflected in NYC Dads’ excellent blog and podcasts.

How did all this happen?

“Our timing worked out well,” Somerfeld says. “More and more families are making childcare and financial decisions based on what’s best for their families rather than being boxed in by outdated gender norms. More dads are active caregivers in their families, and we want to connect with each other to have fun, to be supported, and to learn.”

To continue to meet this growing interest among dads to be connected with other dads, Somerfeld and Schneider have decided it’s time to take a giant step forward in the life of their organization by launching a new national organization called City Dads Group that will serve as a national hub with information and content from all of their local groups.

“We’ll still have websites in each city that will include local content and Meetup experiences. But our hope is that CityDadsGroup.com will become a daily destination for dads—and moms—as they navigate parenthood,” Schneider explains.

With City Dads Group set to launch this month, we thought the timing was perfect to ask Somerfeld and Schneider to reflect on experiences, professional and personal, over the last five years, and share with us five important truths they’ve learned about dads. Fatherhood couldn’t ask for two better spokesmen!

-Eric Messinger, editor

1) Dads Can Hack It: Generally, we as a society still haven’t quite come around to the idea that dads are parents too. If a dad takes his child on public transportation, goes grocery shopping, or bakes the cupcakes for the school bake sale, he’s a rock star. We’re over-praised by strangers for displaying even the most basic level of involvement in our children’s lives. Recently, on a crowded cross-town bus, Lance was reading a picture book with his son when a kind lady complimented him for being a “great dad.” What about all of the other moms and caregivers riding the crowded bus with their children? Were they “great” parents too? The bar is still set extremely low for fathers, and we’re asking society to elevate their parenting expectations for us. We can deliver. Just give us the chance.

NYC Dads Group Founders Lance Somerfeld and Matt Schneider. Big Apple Portraits
NYC Dads Group Founders Lance Somerfeld and Matt Schneider. Big Apple Portraits

2) Dads Love Talking About Parenting: There’s a mystique and misconception that dads keep their feelings inside when it comes to important topics like parenting and relationships. We host parenting workshops covering topics like potty training, happy/healthy sleep habits, admission to preschool, becoming a new dad, and child passenger safety. We have heated conversations during these workshops and during Meetups where dads are champing at the bit to share their opinions and feelings surrounding all topics of parenting. Dads want to share best practices for wiping their daughters after a poop, what to do when their kid refuses to nap, or what app they can use to log feedings during the first few months. They also want to vent their frustrations on the lack of changing stations in public restrooms, lost spontaneity that comes with strict nap and feeding schedules, and not having enough personal time to pursue hobbies, see friends, or exercise. Dads want to talk parenting—they just need the right forum.

3) Dads Want It All: New and expectant dads are worried about how to be successful at work and successful at home. New dads share their fears and valid concerns about long hours, business travel, lack of paternity leave and/or flexible benefits, and a rigid corporate culture. Not surprisingly, studies from Boston College, the Families and Work Institute, and even Dove Men+Care show that most dads want to be successful both in their careers and as fathers. We encourage dads to figure out what benefits they have and use them, to be transparent with supervisors so they know that being a parent is important, and to carve out special time each week to tune in and do something you enjoy with your children.

4) Dads Want To Be On The Team: Parenting is challenging work whether it’s mom or dad in charge. We believe in the idea that dads can be just as nurturing, capable, and confident as moms. Our children need to be fed, cared for, brought to school, assisted with homework, and shuttled to practice. Domestic chores like laundry, cleaning the home, and paying bills need to be tackled, and we’ve drawn the conclusion that it’s so much easier as a high performance tag team of two. Dads need ample opportunities early and often to learn. Too frequently, moms feel as if they’re the only one that can properly care for their child and dads are pushed aside. Please let us fail miserably, pull ourselves up, and learn from our mistakes so we can be capable partners.

5) Dads Are All Different: Research shows that fathers are more physical with their children, that we might push them to take more risks, that we might do less housework, that we are the “fun” parent, and that we are more strict disciplinarians. Frankly, we see plenty of dads on all sides of the spectrum—from the dad who totes around a paring knife and cutting board so fruits and vegetables are prepared at the ready to the dad who doesn’t cook at all and is fine with store-bought snacks. We see the handy dad who turns a milk carton and popsicle sticks into a birdhouse, and dads who pay their building’s super to construct the new toy kitchen. We see the dads who hover over their child as they move from one rung to the next on the monkey bars and dads who encourage their child to scale a 10-ft-high park fence. In our experience, dads don’t really care about these misconceptions on whether we do it the same or differently. Bottom line? Children benefit from being exposed to a range of parenting styles, so feel free to find your rhythm, go with your gut, and embrace your differences.

 

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Dedimus Potestatem

<p>Dedimus Potestatem provides fun, engaging, academically challenging programs to students in primary, middle, and high school. Programs include Leadership, Debate, Model United Nations, Computer Programming, Financial Literacy, Filmmaking, Philosophy, Model Congress, Mock Trial, Etiquette, Bioethics, Stem and Bioethics, and more. We currently offer both virtual and in-person private, semi-private, and group sessions and after-school programs. Contact us to bring us to your school today!</p> <p>Sessions</p> <p>We currently offer both virtual and in-person private, semi-private, and group sessions as well as after-school programs. To register, visit <a href="https://www.potestatem.co/bookclassesnow" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://www.potestatem.co/bookclassesnow </a>or email us at <a href="mailto:[email protected]?subject=REGISTER" target="_blank" rel="noopener">[email protected]</a></p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/leadership" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Leadership: Middle School ages 10-13, High School ages 14-18</a></p> <p>This is a unique leadership course that gives students the skills they need to succeed in life. Using an activity-based syllabus centered around character traits most sought and admired in leaders (initiative, honesty, self-control, adaptability, empathy, persuasiveness, resourcefulness, diligence, tolerance, determination, generosity, punctuality, courage, reliability, endurance, deference, creativity and integrity) students learn how to deal with situations they encounter in life. These building blocks will ensure they grow to become the leaders so sought after by our burgeoning society. Our grading rubric was adapted with the permission of Neil Mercer, the Director of research and Head of Faculty at The University of Cambridge.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/little-leaders-prek-and-kindergarten" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Little Leaders: Primary School Ages 6-9</a></p> <p>Developed by former pre-school and elementary teachers, this ethics-centered program utilizes a play-based method to encourage students to explore and apply soft skills in their daily lives. While cultivating the skills they will need to build strong, successful relationships, they will learn how to find their voice and showcase themselves in the best way. Students will learn to communicate and negotiate so they can be better team leaders and team players. Students will learn how to deal with situations they encounter in life, such as bullying, cheating, conflicts between two or more parties, and more. The inculcation of these values in our children's formative years will ensure they grow to become the leaders so sought after by our burgeoning society.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/classes/beginnersdebate" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Speech & Debate</a> (competitive and non-competitive programs available)</p> <p>This online after-school program prepares students for formal and informal presentations. Participants learn to craft and present arguments and inform, persuade, and motivate an audience in a variety of ways. According to the English Speaking Union, debate is a natural fit for students and compliments common core standards. Debate builds literacy and multi-media research skills, fosters critical thinking and expanded perspectives, enhances public speaking skills, increases confidence, trains students to listen effectively, supports diverse learners and strengthens civil engagement and discourse. </p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/model-un" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Model United Nations (Ages 11-18)</a></p> <p>Model UN simulates the six major organs of the United Nations. Students role play as delegates from a country of their choosing and learn to write and present resolutions based on topics they are passionate about-just as if they were representing member states of the United Nations. We utilize materials from National Model UN and video tutorials to teach students how to write and present position papers, working papers, and draft resolutions. Students use debate and negotiation to enlist the support of other delegates for their resolution. Model UN is a great way to teach students leadership skills like communication, conflict resolution, negotiation, and delegation.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/self-defense-classes" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Self Defense and Empowerment</a></p> <p>Developed by a veteran Krav Maga specialist, this self-defense program will focus on the principle of healthy minds in healthy bodies. Students will focus on de-escalation techniques as well as safe and active means of self-defense. Through active games and fun drills, students will learn the disciplined focus, critical thinking, adaptability, and resilience necessary to achieve goals, as well as gain valuable social insights into leadership and teamwork. Students will expend energy and reduce stress while learning to stand and present confidently.</p> <p>Mock Trial (<a href="https://www.potestatem.co/classes/mock-trial-classes" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Fairy Tale Mock Trial for ages 7-9</a>, regular <a href="https://www.potestatem.co/mock-trial-classes" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Mock Trial Ages 10-18</a>)</p> <p>Mock trial is a hands-on simulation of the American judicial system. The goal is to help participants acquire a working knowledge of our judicial system, develop analytical abilities and communication skills, display leadership in a court of law, and gain an understanding of their obligations and responsibilities as participating members of our society. Materials for this course are provided by The American Bar Association.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/model-congress" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Model Congress: Ages 10-18</a></p> <p>This civics course simulates the legislative process. Students will learn about the electoral process, lobby for issues they are passionate about, draft and deliver bills, amend legislation, debate international policy, and learn how to effectively represent a constituent body of their choosing. We utilize materials from The Constitutional Rights Foundation, ICivics (founded by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor) and the National Model U.S. Congress. These resources have been proven to improve students’ civic knowledge, presentation, and core literacy skills. New research has also shown that the use of the aforementioned materials has also led to increased participation in the democratic process. Our objective in this course is to educate the next generation, nurture and inculcate a passion for civics and history and encourage young people to advocate for themselves.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/philosophy" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Philosophy</a></p> <p>The focus of the Philosophy class is to examine and understand the ideas behind the most popular philosophies embraced throughout the world. To do this, students examine ethical situations through the lens of these philosophies and engage in a Socratic style debate. Students are presented with an ethical question and they must identify stakeholders and players within the dilemma, discuss the key moral issues and present opposing viewpoints. This class was built for students who wish to <a href="https://nhseb.unc.edu/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">compete in the middle or high school Ethics Bowl</a>. </p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/classes/money-matters-financial-literacy-for-kids-afterschool">Money Matters: Financial Literacy for Students</a></p> <p>The Money Matters course is built to help students manage their personal finances, from building credit and loan applications to interest rates and investing strategies. This class will cover the basics of financial health, savings, spending habits, and budgeting. After learning how to store, track, and spend responsibly, students will learn about risk management, APRs, and tax preparation. This class will use real-life examples and teach students how to set and achieve financial goals. This course is ideal for middle and high school students.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/stem-dna-ethics" target="_blank" rel="noopener">STEM and Bioethics: (Ages 10-18)</a></p> <p>Our STEM program will give kids the opportunity to think critically about science and society, and to practice communicating scientific topics in ways everyone can understand. To be a successful scientist in our modern world, one must not only have a broad understanding of scientific material learned at school, but also the ability to communicate effectively and share that knowledge with others. Each week of this program will build on the previous while also introducing new scientific topics for discussion.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/classes/virtual-after-school-etiquette" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Etiquette (Ages 5 and up)</a></p> <p>Due to increasing popular demand from groups and individuals, we have decided to offer our etiquette course as an eight week after-school class. Students will not only learn how to introduce themselves and their friends, they will explore appropriate language for quotidian and special occasions, how to enter and leave conversations, proper table behavior for different scenarios, effective strategies for conflict resolution and negotiation, the importance of tone, expression, and body language in every social interaction and why manners and soft skills are essential to a successful life.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/classes/essay-writing" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Speech and Essay Writing: Ages 10-18</a></p> <p>This group class includes eight one-hour online sessions focused on the creation, development, and delivery of informative and persuasive speeches. This program is tailored to the needs of the individual(s) in question and can include essay writing, use of stylistic devices, and persuasive rhetoric and/or instructions on how to craft and deliver a persuasive or informative multidimensional presentation with compelling slides, audio, and videos.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/classes/visual-storytelling" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Visual Storytelling</a></p> <p>Multimedia platforms have increasingly become more popular for educators, artists and businesses. Young people all over the world have begun using media to amplify initiatives, educate, share science, poetry, art, movement, culture and more. In this class students will learn to capture brief videos that share their voice and vision with the world.</p> <p>College application course </p> <p>Discover the fundamentals of style, narrative, and theme for the ideal college application essays! In these sessions, you will begin by examining outstanding Personal Statements and by brainstorming your own. Then, move on to draft and edit the specialized supplemental essays for each college on your list. Space is limited to ensure personalized attention.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/classes/essay-writing" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Academic writing</a> </p> <p>These are sessions focused on academic writing. Our tutors have years of experience in drafting, editing, and teaching essay writing. Each package will include a consultation with our tutors to assess individual needs. </p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/classes/test-prep-sat-shsat-act-gre-gmat-asvab-tachs-more">Test Prep: SAT, SHSAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, ASVAB, TACHS + more</a></p> <p>These classes are focused on identifying the quickest and most efficient path toward improving students' standardized test scores. Starting with a diagnostic practice exam, this program will target the key subject matter your students need to master while integrating timing, triage, and practice strategies. We aim to regularly emulate the real-life conditions of tests until students are comfortable working quickly, accurately, and efficiently. Sessions can be one hour or two hours in length, as needed.</p> <p>Computer Programming: Coding for Kids</p> <p>In these sessions, we start by discussing the basics of computer programming, what it is, what it can do, and what it was built on. Then we will begin experimenting with block-based programming languages. Students will learn the basics of computer architecture, binary code, compilers, and algorithms. By the end of the course, students will be able to produce small programs of their own. The cost of materials is not included. This class is available to younger students (Ages K-1) and middle and high school students. </p> <p> </p> <p> </p>

Penguin Coding School

<p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.656; text-align: justify; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Roboto,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: #ffffff; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Penguin Coding School believes that </span><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Roboto, sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: #ffffff; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">anyone can code</span></strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Roboto,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: #ffffff; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">. The most compelling motivation for learning to code is that it enables building something kids can call their own. What makes this approach "worth it" for the kids is that at the end of the road, they see that their code actually does things in the real world. Not in some playpen, but in the real Internet where anyone can access it. </span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.656; text-align: justify; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> </span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.656; text-align: justify; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Roboto, sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: #ffffff; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Programs:</span></strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Roboto,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: #ffffff; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"><strong> </strong>Penguin Coding School </span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: #ffffff; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">provides comprehensive coding education to kids ages 5-18. In-person & Online classes are available in Scratch, Minecraft, Roblox, Python, Javascript, Java, Robotics, and Mobile Apps. Their small class size, award winning teachers and age-appropriate curriculum ensure every child will learn coding with a smile. Penguin Coding has in-person classes and summer camps in Cobble Hill and Park Slope, as well as three Massachusetts locations. </span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.656; text-align: justify; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> </span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.656; text-align: justify; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Roboto, sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: #ffffff; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Free Trial Classes: </span></strong></p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-115c8d0a-7fff-6ffb-9ee2-4fd4aa248c0a"></span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.656; text-align: justify; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Roboto,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: #ffffff; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Sign up for our award-winning</span><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="https://penguincodingschool.com/freetrial?utm_campaign=FreeTrials&utm_source=NYF&utm_medium=Directory"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Roboto, sans-serif; color: #1155cc; background-color: #ffffff; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration-skip-ink: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> </span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Roboto,sans-serif; color: #1155cc; background-color: #ffffff; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: underline; -webkit-text-decoration-skip: none; text-decoration-skip-ink: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">free trial classes</span></a><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Roboto,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: #ffffff; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">. They offer a 60 minute free trial class in Scratch, Python, Roblox, Java, Robotics and much more! Appropriate for absolute beginners as well as those with some experience (trial classes are used to place students in the right level).</span></p>

OASIS DAY CAMP LIU POST – Long Island

<p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Give Your Child A Lifetime of Memories At A Beautiful Summer Oasis</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>25 AMAZING SUMMERS, LIFELONG FRIENDS!</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">A traditional day camp in every way, Oasis prides itself on quality programming at parent-friendly prices with the most well trained, caring staff in the industry. Oasis LIU Post Beautiful 300-acre campus, over 90 activities for kids 3-16, Sports, Daily Swim, Enrichment + Teen Travel,<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">  </span>air-conditioned indoor facilities, and the great outdoor green shady fields and athletic facilities! Daily hot lunch, snacks and transportation options.</p>