Did you know the nation’s first Father’s Day celebration took place on June 19, 1910 at the Spokane YMCA? As a result of wanting to celebrate her own father, Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington presented the idea of Father’s Day to her local Y and in 1972, President Nixon officially made it a national holiday.
Held annually on the third Sunday in June, YMCAs across the U.S. have a variety of ways they celebrate the fathers in their communities:
YMCA of Austin: My Dad Rocks!
Leslie Jordan, family engagement director:
We decided on the “My Dad Rocks” theme as a way to celebrate dads and extend our Kindness Rocks project. Our participants will be painting rocks for their own dad, as well as some extras we will leave in spaces that dads visit with their families, so the love and appreciation we have for dads and all they do is spread around our community. The event itself is a Parent’s Night Out event where moms and dads can have an evening out to celebrate or relax while the kids enjoy swimming, dinner and a movie, and the rock art to gift to their dad. It is a win-win for everyone.
East Country Family YMCA, McGrath Facility: Father’s Day Family BBQ
Tara Saylor, member engagement supervisor:
A barbecue seemed like an appropriate way to celebrate our dads and kick off summer. We also wanted to feature our Camp McGrath grounds to showcase how awesome it is for members who may not be familiar with it and could potentially want to sign up their kids for summer camp. At the event, we’ll have a bounce house obstacle course where kids and families can race each other to the end, small carnival games, gaga ball, rock climbing and music. It’s more of a way to say thank you to the fathers in our community for all they do, and gives them a chance to relax and enjoy the company of their families and community in a safe place with a free meal on us.
Neenah-Menasha YMCA, a branch of the YMCA of the Fox Cities: Father’s Day Gift Giving Workshop
Beth Krause, G&D program assistant:
“The fun shop is two hours and for children three to six years of age. The children create unique handmade gifts for their fathers or a father figure in their life. There’s story time along with fun and games to round out their time. The program allows the children to focus on their dad and what he means to them. They have the opportunity to show their appreciation and build on their social-emotional skills. Fatherhood is a unique aspect of parenting and each father approaches it differently — it’s nice to provide children an opportunity to celebrate them.