Daughters and Dads program launches on the Coast

Dean and Abby Butler

A free, award winning program to help girls get active, feel more confident and improve their relationship with their fathers has arrived on the Coast.

The Daughters and Dads Active and Empowered program, delivered by the University of Newcastle in partnership with the NSW Government, launched at the Point Wolstoncroft Sport and Recreation Centre on February 8 and is set to run for the next eight weeks.

Utilising fathers as agents of change, the program is open to dads and their primary school aged daughter(s) and focuses on empowering young girls with the skills and confidence to play sports by improving their fundamental movement skills through fun activities and one-on-one time with their dad.

Dean Butler knows firsthand how impactful the program can be.

The Jewells resident and his daughter Abby took part in the 2019 Lake Macquarie rollout and he enjoyed it so much that he’s now gearing up to deliver the Central Coast rollout as facilitator of the Point Wolstoncroft program.

“Prior to joining up, I’d heard a lot of great things about the program and thought it would be something that Abby and I would both enjoy, but what really surprised me about it from the dad angle was the amount of common sense parenting embedded in it,” Dean explained.

“The sessions really reminded me how important it is to set aside time to engage with Abby, to play together, and how important it is for our relationship for me to be in that mindset of wanting to spend time together.

“It sounds silly, but when life gets busy, those are things that dads can forget about and that aspect of the program is really eye opening, especially the parts centred around the different ways we talk to boys and girls about sport.

“That really had a big effect on me, and I’m pleased to say that Abby and I do have a better relationship after going through the program.

“We still do a lot of the activities we learned and she’s a lot more interested in sport now.”

Going from participant to facilitator, Dean said he was confident that Central Coast dads can benefit from the program.

To make it as accessible as possible, the program is open to dads and daughters of all abilities and fitness levels, as well as to men who act as a father figure or important male role model in a girl’s life, so granddads, uncles, older brothers and trusted family friends can all sign up.

Interested locals can learn more about the Active and Empowered program, including how to register, by visiting the NSW Government’s Office of Sport website.

Dilon Luke