Boot Camp Prepares Men for Fatherhood

Gabriella Morris

Good News


boot camp- featuredThe more involved a father is in the life of a child the better. Studies show that babies with involved fathers are more likely to be emotionally secure and eager to explore their surroundings. As they grow, they are more sociable, better problem-solvers, have higher IQs by age 3 and do better academically than those with uninvolved fathers, according to a review of studies by the Father Involvement Research Alliance. With that in mind, Boot Camp for New Dads (BCND) was designed to help men step right into their new roles as fathers from birth.

The Gathering, a group whose mission is to engage men to be fully alive, partners with BCND by hosting these engaging workshops at Good Samaritan Hospital and others throughout Palm Beach County. “We decided to intentionally find a way to get involved in the lives of men in our community in a more strategic way to positively affect dads and their families,” said Dennis DeMarois, executive director of the Gathering in Palm Beach County and a coach coordinator/trainer. Since then it has become a strategic way for men to not only get a jump start on being a new dad but also for men of faith to serve their community by volunteering as coaches. Coaches offer insight into the realities of fatherhood, as each class features a ‘veteran-dad and his baby’ to provide hands on examples and answer the ‘new dads-to-be questions.”


How it affects fathers

“From the outset, BCND has provided numerous times of interaction with men in the community as they face life. Whether they are dads-to-be or veteran dads desiring to serve in the community through the ministry of The Gathering, placing calls to dads to ‘see how everything went with the birth’ or hearing how much it means for a guy to ‘give back and make a difference’ is impactful to me as a dad and man. To top it off, the opportunity to help a man through the difficult first year and relationships that are built is awesome. The hardest thing is hearing that the baby didn’t make it; the best thing is hearing that things are going well; the most meaningful is being able to share the difference that not only a strong dad can make in family but also the reason why we care is also for an eternal purpose too,” said DeMarois.

Boot Camp for New Dads has had over 325,000 graduates in 44 different states from their program over the past 26 years. Locally, the Gathering has seen 1,650 of those dads graduate with them in the past 13 years.

“Boot Camp for New Dads is fantastic,” said Daniel Zuinga, a previous graduate of the program. “It’s the only pregnancy class geared towards men as opposed to moms. Some of the key points were to listen to your instincts, by prepared, make sure that there we’re appropriate boundaries put in place and obviously to avoid shaken babies syndrome.”

BCND affects not only dads but children and moms as well. One of the mothers whose husband went through the program said, “My husband Bill attended your Boot Camp. He came back charged up and excited to really participate in the birth of our child. His confidence came from the ongoing education and support process that he received first from attending your Boot Camp.”


What they learn

BCND uses “Crash Course for New Dad” to teach their classes. More information about the program can be found at and The curriculum addresses three main topics, forming a new family, caring for a new mom and becoming a dad. Dads learn how to care for crying babies and moms, how to function on a small amount of sleep, how to positively deal with the financial challenges that they’ll be presented with, navigating through the influx of advice from family, friends, neighbors, etc and the danger of succumbing to anger.


Get involved

In order for BCND to run, they need a partner hospital that’s willing to offer a pre-natal class for men and a dad who wants to volunteer his time to help expecting fathers learn the ins and outs of fatherhood. Every class is taught by a coach that features a “Veteran” dad and baby, 3-6 months old. Men are registered through a hospital and then the Gathering makes sure they’re placed in a class and that they receive help and advice throughout their first year of fatherhood. If you’re interested in BCND, visit


Gabriella Morris is a home school student and writer at Good News. She can be reached at [email protected].

Share this article