City Dads Group has broken out of the United States — the contiguous United States, that is.
The most populous city in Alaska recently started its own chapter of our expanding fatherhood social and support network — so please welcome, the Anchorage Dads Group.
Anchorage, situated on the south central coastline of the largest state in the union, contains around 300,000 residents — more than 40 percent of the state’s entire population. When the entire metropolitan area is taken into account, the 400,000 residents make up more than half of the Alaska’s population. All this makes Anchorage the perfect location for City Dads Group to open for business.
Michael Jenks, a married stay-at-home father of one boy, will lead the Anchorage Dads Group. He said he hopes to offer area fathers activities that won’t leave newcomers and the introvert “locked into an awkward social situation.”
“You don’t have to do anything but show up and have fun,” he said.
Jenks speaks from an experience common to most at-home dads. After leaving a full-time job in October 2016 to take care of his son, Franklin, now 2, he’d go out to parent-child activities and find only women there with children.
“Women have a tremendous ability to develop new social networks based on life circumstances, where men tend to use existing networks, whether it be childhood friends, or work friends,” he said. “I met a lot of men, but we had no real organization due to the limited number of us compared to women.”
When he meet other at-home dads, he said he found most of them were like him — professional men who made a temporary career sacrifice for the good of their family.
As a result, Jenks said the goals of Anchorage Dads Group are to:
- Provide fun activities specifically designed for dads and kids.
- Provide opportunities for kids to socialize and learn.
- Provide opportunities for dads to talk about their “job” and learn ways to manage their children.
Jenks worked for 10 years at an award-winning healthcare organization, some of which he spent in maternal-child health management and improvement. “I was exposed to many studies that showed how much of an impact a father has in a child’s life. A positive male role model — father or father-figure and preferably both — is a great predictor of how well the child does throughout life,” he said.