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Dads Are Parents Too

Apr 27, 2018 11:47AM

Dads Are Parents, Too

by Mike McDowell & David Bradfield

Like many ideas, ours was located at the bottom of a glass of bourbon. A group of friends sat around a dining table, sipping drinks, as the rowdy sound of our sons filled the background. While talking, it dawned on us that our community didn’t have a forum for dads to share the tales of fatherhood; it didn’t seem common for dads to share the joys, the sorrows, the frustrations, and the victories of fatherhood with one another. Quite simply, we thought maybe there ought to be something more for fathers. Instead of waiting for somebody else to provide it, we created Reno Dads.

That’s how it all started, but in less than a year, it’s evolved to be more than we envisioned. As we explored the world of fatherhood at a deeper level, we found what was being referred to as the “fatherhood crisis.” Children who grow up without fathers are, on average, two to three times more likely to be poor, to use drugs, to experience educational, health, emotional and behavioral problems, to be victims of child abuse, and to engage in criminal behavior than their peers who live with their married, biological (or adoptive) parents. Fatherhood matters. According to the Department of Census, 43% of US children live without their father. What’s more, fathers that were in the home were barely spending an hour a day in activity with their children. While we didn’t think we could put absent fathers back in the home, we did think we could help good dads be even better and create some new norms for fatherhood in our corner of the world.

Since our inception, we’ve found the support of thousands of dads, moms, and community members that believe in the importance of fatherhood. We’ve built a core team of more than a dozen dads to share their stories on our website. We’ve spotlighted local fathers, family-friendly businesses, and local events, all while building valuable partnerships. Reno Dads has even branched into events of our own. One of our most popular events has been our Father/Daughter Hairstyling classes. We partnered with Paul Mitchell Studio in Reno to teach rad dads how to style their daughter’s hair. We covered the basics from brushing, to braiding, to buns. Dads walked in with fear in their eyes but left with confidence and a beautiful memory with their daughters. Some of the girls didn’t want to let their hair down for days on end because their dad did their hair.

We’re excited to see what year two holds for Reno Dads. Engaged fatherhood in our community benefits us all. As Reno Dads evolves, we promise to provide fathers a forum, to help create new norms of active fatherhood, and events that celebrate fatherhood in all its glory. We hope you come along for the ride.

You can find Reno Dads online at and on Facebook at Reno Dads.

Mike McDowell is one of the founders of Reno Dads. He's a Reno native and passionate about giving back to his city. In addition to being a devoted Dad to his two sons, Mike geeks out over marketing, sports, and perfectly placed puns. 

David Bradfield is also a founder of Reno Dads. He is the father of two boys, husband of 11 years, and a 5th generation Nevadan. Don't tell anyone, but he's also a former undercover CIA officer serving in crazy places, like North Africa during Arab Spring.