Published on August 12, 2018

Tai chi class

In this photo taken June 18, 2016, Michael Gillum, of Lawrence, is shown with his then-8-month-old son, Ian, at a Boot Camp for New Dads in the LMH Health Auditorium.

New dads can learn the ropes at boot camp

By Jessica Brewer, LMH Health

Becoming a new dad is an exciting life change. However, it can be overwhelming. This is exactly what Boot Camp for New Dads is for.

Join soon-to-be dads on Saturday, Aug. 18, to learn, ask questions and make the idea of navigating fatherhood more manageable. This “boot camp” will discuss caring for a new baby, becoming a dad and supporting their partner. This is a time to ask questions, get answers and learn. No question is off limits and it is a judgement-free zone.

“This is a great class that the Dads of Douglas County and LMH Health are partnering to provide in our community,” said Allison Koonce, LMH Health community outreach and engagement coordinator. “It gives Dads the chance to talk to each other, to share their excitement and to share the things they are nervous about.”

Daddy Boot Camp is a national program and is facilitated in multiple states. It started in 1990 when a group of men decided to sit down with their babies and teach other dads how they got through the first few months of fatherhood.

“A unique aspect of the program is that dads who have been there before or ‘veteran dads’ as they are called in class will bring their young children with them.  This gives the soon-to-be-dads a chance to see a variety of ways to soothe, play with and feed their babies,” Koonce said.

The purpose of this boot camp is to teach dads how to be the best new dad they can be. With tips and information from dads who have been through the trials of becoming a father, they want to make sure it goes as smooth as possible for others with newborns.

Jery Marquez, Healthy Dads Healthy Families coordinator with the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, said, “We talk with them not only about what they can do for the baby but how to support the baby’s mother,” said. “We talk about how they want to be as a dad and listen to all concerns they have.”

No dad is the same and the boot camp is there as a resource to give advice and provide answers, not to tell you how to be a parent.

“It is a three-hour course and we cover many different topics to fill different needs and answers,” Marquez said. “It is information that will benefit any new father.”

These classes take place each quarter and cost $10. They take place in the Auditorium at LMH Health. For more information, visit

Jessica Brewer is an intern in the Marketing and Communications Department at LMH, which is a major sponsor of Lawrence Journal-World’s health section. She can be reached at

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New dads can learn the ropes at boot camp