Overwelmed? 'Dads 101' offers pointers for new fathers

  • Published
  • By Air Force Staff Sgt. Zachary Wolf
  • JBER Public Affairs
Being a new dad can be a scary thing, especially when you have no idea what your role will be.

Fortunately, there is a place where dads can go to get advice and learn what it is to be a dad and team player with their partner.

Being an expecting dad, I can say this class is worth going to, especially if you know little to nothing about what to expect from fatherhood.

"This class is for anyone who is going to be a dad or is a new dad," said Dads 101 instructor Air Force Staff Sgt. Scott Campbell, an instructor with 372nd Training Squadron, Detachment 14.

It's not just for dads that have a little one on the way. You can still learn skills even if you have a baby at home.

Dads 101 is strictly volunteer, and the only one who can make you go is you - and maybe your wife.

In class, rank doesn't matter; we are all just dads sitting around talking. When I first got there, I didn't know what to expect but when the instructor started talking, I felt I was talking to an experienced dad, who could answer any questions I had.

"Dads 101 is for those that want to learn, for those that think they already know, and those who are curious on what to expect while their partner is expecting," said Campbell.
It's a conversation held in a group setting and it really feels like that.

You don't come in and just listen; it is a fully interactive class.

It is a place to ask your questions that you may have no idea about, whether it is about temperature of food or what kind of diapers to get.

"(Don't think of it as) a class, it is the equivalent to going to a party and talking to a buddy who is a dad," said Campbell.

I would definitely recommend this class because before I got to talk to a dad, I was confused and honestly somewhat afraid.

I haven't taken care of babies and didn't know what to expect but the information is helping me understand more about my baby-to-be and even my wife as she goes through the changes.

The average number of dads who attend this class is about five to seven but the Family Advocacy Program, which administers Dads 101, hopes that number will go up as more dads hear about this class.

The FAP personnel are trying to teach the program on monthly basis, but because it's volunteer, they are looking for more instructors to make that possible.

"I teach this class because it's a class I wish I had before I was a dad," Campbell said.
The only requirement for being instructor is that you are a dad, said Campbell.

The fact that dads are showing up to the class shows initiative of those who want to know what they can do to be good dads.

"I want to be that father someone comes to for advice," said Airman 1st Class Duquin Bradley, 773rd Civil Engineer Squadron water and fuels engineer.

"The 'tag team' method is one I will use," said Spc. Robert Pearson, 793rd Military Police Battalion. "If I get frustrated, I get my wife to take over and in the event that I'm alone, I'll just leave him in a safe place and walk away after I make sure I have taken care of his needs."

The class is approximately eight hours over a two-day period and covers any questions.
At the end of the class, the instructor collects email addresses of those who want to be contacted, and will follow up with any questions and stay in touch as former students transition to being new fathers.

"Why be afraid when someone can tell you what to expect?" Campbell said. "Go ask, get the training. I beg people to step up to the plate as new fathers and come to this class."
To sign up for the next Dads 101 class, contact Family Advocacy at 384-6717.