Strategies for Engaging Rural Fathers

We just wrapped up a teleconference call focused on supporting fathers who live in rural and small communities in Ontario.  Here is a list of some best practices we talked about.

  • Partnerships
    • Working with larger employers can help – they are often community minded – can be a great support for engaging fathers and families
    • Sports locations – arenas, ball parks, parks and rec, etc.
  • Connect with faith communities and service clubs
    • Use these locations to offer programs, supply meals, or offer other in-kind support.
  • Have local voices – local “authorities” be involved, like business leaders, media people, coaches, education leaders, etc.
  • Use existing approaches for how info is shared within the community – backpacks from school, school newsletters, radio stations, etc.
  • Go to where the dads are – find where that may be and bring resources, offer discussion groups (informal and formal).
  • Talk with the dads about what would help them.  Develop program approaches that match the interests and abilities of the fathers.
  • Talk with moms about what they notice about fatherhood.
  • Be adaptable – flex the times you offer programs
  • Keep father involvement on your radar – training, staff development, follow our blog, resources, etc.
  • Think broad – what are the issues facing fathers and how can you help address them – employment, housing, mental health, child development – have good referral sources.
  • Send information directly to men. Invite them to participate.
    • Involve children and significant others in the invitation.
    • If you want dads to matter, acknowledge that moms matter too.
  • Include engaging activities, interaction with kids; not just discussion and support.  Some ideas are Touch a Truck, dog sled demonstrations, Gym Days, Read n Swim, airport visits, fire hall visits, and cooking with dad.
  • Let fathers know well ahead so they can plan their time accordingly.
  • Ask for on-going feedback about what you are doing to highlight fatherhood.

Other resources that may help:

You may have other ideas.  Share them in the comment section.


One thought on “Strategies for Engaging Rural Fathers

  1. stevedequintal

    Thanks for sharing these very practical strategies, much appreciated!

    Peace, Joy and Hope, Steve De Quintal Teacher, St. Mary Catholic Academy, 66 Dufferin Park Ave. Toronto, Ontario M6H-1J6. 416-393-5528 ext. 84293 “that they may have life and have it the full.” “Don’t worry about being effective. Just concentrate on being faithful to the truth.” – Dorothy Day ***You can always email but a call or a visit will get a quicker response*** ________________________________

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