Helping good dads to be GREAT DADS!
Ah, the thrill of an adventure. I had the opportunity to take someone else’s son kayaking down river this week. Together we negotiated a flooded waterway and some unfamiliar rapids. The mother in particular was thrilled that I had taken her son for the paddle. His smile said it all. It all felt very “blokey” and masculine, as though all we needed to round off the adventure was to slam a can of solo down our parched throats.
Taking each of my three sons kayaking down the Yarra river over the years has also been a thrill. To see each one of them develop the skill to manoeuvre their boat through the rapids, negotiate narrow drops gushing between large boulders and then to be able to cover the paddling distance downstream made me a proud dad.
Taking a moment to watch large grey kangaroos grazing on the bank, to catch a koala snoozing up a gum tree and very occasionally to see a platypus frolic momentarily on the surface added to the wilderness experience.
As I set up Good Dads GREAT DADS, it is part of my vision to take small groups fathers and their daughters and dads and their sons away for weekend escapes. Canoeing, fishing, mountain biking, hiking and surfing will be some of the adventures on offer. To my absolute delight, I scored an ex scout catering trailer for a fraction of the price of new. And just yesterday I had a canoe and two kayaks donated to the cause. They have seen a few river bashing trips and are showing their battle wounds, but with a touch of fibreglass and a fresh coat of paint they will live on to delight many fathers and their children in the coming years.
I urge dads everywhere to take their children on such adventures. Whether it’s for three hours or a whole day, the sheer joy of discovering nature, the challenge of overcoming fears, the delight of learning new skills and simply spending time together creates a brilliant bonding opportunity. There are canoeinguides that will take you safely down a local river and usually you can find canoes for hire.