“Dad-weekend” in wartime conditions

“Dad’s Workshop” in wartime conditions
March 22, 2023
“Dad’s Workshop” in wartime conditions
March 22, 2023
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“Dad-weekend” in wartime conditions

Recently, the International Father Center spoke with the organizers of the last “Dad-Weekend” in order to find out all the details of the creation and implementation of the event in the conditions of war. Fathers who spent this special weekend with their children to become a little closer to each other while exploring the Carpathians were also interviewed.

The goal of this project is to help fathers and children to become closer to each other by participating in activities that promote mutual understanding and trust. These activities are not only enjoyable, but also provide a great opportunity for fathers and children to have an adventure and spend quality time together in a relaxed and informal setting. A carefree and relatively peaceful environment can help fathers and children bond with each other and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Volodymyr Redkach, the main organizer of “Dad-weekend”, who currently lives in the Netherlands

The history of “Dad-Weekend” is already very long, and it began in 2013. The main idea of ​​creating this event was to give the father and child the opportunity to change the usual environment for a while and move to another space together, where the father, so to speak, has unlimited access to his son or daughter. Thanks to this, some kind of magic happens in the relationship, changes for the better appear. And I am convinced that this is a special time that will be remembered for a lifetime

By the way, the creation of the “Dad-weekend” project was exactly my idea. In general, I am a creative person.

In the first days of the war, I moved to the Netherlands with my family. I am a father of many children, which is why I received permission to travel abroad. Six months passed, and I had a desire to hold a “Dad-Weekend” in Ukraine. For this purpose, I started fundraising. Having made my own contribution, I turned to my friends for support… The first and immediate response was the Filatov family from Germany, these are my friends who left for Europe a few days earlier after the war began. Our new friends, the Hardeman family from the Netherlands, joined next. However, we still did not have enough funds to make the cost for each participant much less, realizing that during the war, the budget of most families is limited.

The contribution from partners from the USA, who have been cooperating with the International Center of Parenthood for many years, was a significant help. Thus, the project became international thanks to the union of residents of the Netherlands, Germany, the USA and Ukraine. Volunteers Andrii Semenchuk and Pavlo Yefimchuk agreed without hesitation to become the direct organizers of the “Dad-Weekend” in Ukraine. If my friends had not given such a clear consent and desire to implement the project, it most likely would not have taken place…

I believe that this event is especially valuable because it is able to leave a vivid memory in the memory of fathers and children against the background of military operations. For dads themselves, such a trip these days is a bit of a challenge to take a risk by going somewhere else and leaving your comfort zone. But I am sure that each of the participants will say that it was worth it. When at the end of the weekend, I called some of the fathers who took part in it, I received very positive feedback and many words of gratitude.

Now, by the way, I am also working on projects for our refugee men in the Netherlands. So, for example, a joint river rafting was organized for them.

Andriy Semenchuk, volunteer organizer of “Dad Weekend” from Volodymyr

I am a representative of the International Father`s Center in the city of Volodymyr. It was our Volyn community that came up with “Dad-weekend”. Later, this idea was picked up by other regions, and now “Dad-weekend” has gone beyond our center. We are very pleased to see how people outside our organization also hold such an event, and how it helps both fathers and children.

This time, when we organized the weekend, the motivator was our regional manager Volodymyr Redkach. Being abroad at the moment, he motivated us by chatting online. Volodymyr emphasized that holding the “Dad-Weekend” is very important now, as it will allow dads to spend time with their children and distract themselves from everything that is currently happening in Ukraine.

Since I am engaged in mountaineering, Volodymyr and I agreed that I would organize a hike to the top of Gemba. It was my responsibility to arrange a safe ascent and a safe return. Some things in the hiking program itself were also fixed on me.

During the trip, there were a lot of people who were climbing the mountain for the first time, so their emotions were “over the top”. They were all happy. It was nice to look into their joyful eyes. Both fathers and children said that they will remember this event for a long time. And this is very motivating. It was worth the effort and struggle that we, the volunteers, faced while organizing this event. For example, we were afraid that we might come under criticism for spending the weekend during wartime.

Our target audience comprises dads who needed to spend more time with their children. The organizers and I had an agreement that each of us would take on a certain number of fathers who were at the “Dad-Weekend” and later communicate with them from time to time. We do this in order to somehow improve their fathering.

In general, we care about promoting healthy fathering in our country. Modernity now dictates completely different things, and thanks to such events as “Dad-weekend”, we remind that the father should take part in the upbringing of the child, just like the mother.

“Dad-weekend” is especially valuable in wartime, when it is even more difficult for fathers to create pleasant memories shared with their children.

Міжнародний центр батьківстваWhen we talked to people and asked them what they remembered most, many mentioned the following situation. It so happened that when we got to the top and having been there for a while were already starting to turn back, we heard an air alarm, which caused the lift to be turned off. Then the president of the IFC Oleksandr Marchenko had the idea to order several special jeeps that drive people in the mountains in order to take our whole group down. It was a very interesting activity that all the children remembered as the jeeps were open and they could stick their heads out and look around.

Also on this “Dad-weekend” in addition to the hike to Gemba we had a descent into the underground bunker “Arpada”, which is an impressive defensive structure. Fathers and children also enjoyed the macaroni tower challenge and the Questions&Answers challenge, which helped them get to know each other better.

Thus, “Dad-weekend” helped fathers to get closer to their children. I believe that this trip contributes to the fact that the image of dad as a real hero is fixed in the children’s minds for a long time.

Pavlo Yefimchuk, volunteer organizer of “Dad-Weekend” from Lutsk

Our idea to spend the last “Dad-weekend” during the war was not realized for a long time. We were stopped by thoughts about how appropriate it is now. In Ukraine, many people are in the trenches, malnourished and sleep deprived, and we are going to “have rest”. But we still decided to make a “Dad weekend”

This time, we invited men who had been on the battlefield and boys who had been in the ATO, realising that this category of men and their children need support now more than ever.

This time we invited men who were on the battlefield realizing that this category of men and their children need support now more than ever.

I, personally, dream of going to the regularity of such events as “Dad-weekend”, especially for fighters with children. Therefore, I was one of the organizers and motivators of this event. I was also involved in finding the necessary funds for him.

During the weekend, I had the opportunity to see how Fathers and children became one step closer to each other. So, for example, one of the fathers began to help his son overcome obstacles, and not just out of habit scold him for mistakes. So some fathers found a better approach to their children and some just had a good time alone with their child for the first time in a long time.

I think, in general, that the main goal of the “Dad-Weekend” is to bring the hearts of fathers closer to their children, and children`s to their fathers so that at every stage of life they have trusting and sincere relationships.

Petro Bilohvist, a father who took part in the “Dad-Weekend” together with his child

“Dad-weekend” for me is an incredible pleasure from the time spent with my daughter and a good group of other fathers and children. This is a perfectly organized trip to Carpathians.

A wonderful climb up the mountain, amazingly beautiful nature, a trip to a waterfall and a bunker from the times of the Second World War – all this left me with very good memories. Communicating with others, contests, songs and a cheerful atmosphere are still memorable today.

Also “Dad-weekend” is a very instructive lesson for аathers, which spiritually enriched the relationship between them and their children. Thanks to the weekend I got closer to my daughter. She is currently studying in another city, but since then she calls me more often.

Vitaly Popov, a father who took part in the “Dad-Weekend” together with his child

Impressions from the “Dad-weekend” are very wonderful, in general, everything was good. There I liked the task Question&Answer from the father to the child and from the child to the father. When my son and I returned home, we remembered these questions and talked a little frankly. I also enjoyed working with my son on the macaronian Kherson tower, which was destroyed by the Russian fascists. Our tower with the Ukrainian flag and coat of arms turned out to be very patriotic.

We also liked the hike to Mount Gemba, which is approximately 1,495 meters high. Climbing it with my son was a big test, but we managed it together.

After the weekend, I realized that there is work to be done in our relationship with my son. At the moment I have a clear awareness that it is not enough to just give birth to a son, it is also necessary to be someone to whom he can confide his experiences, his difficulties and problems. We are working on ways to improve our relationship and talking about it. And in some things I see changes in myself.

Mykola Dzidzinskiy, a father who took part in the “Dad-Weekend” together with his children

The most memorable and satisfying thing for me was the fact that I was able to put aside all household chores and devote time to my children. I was able to see and experience pleasant impressions and emotions with them, enjoy rest, nature and the successes of my children. It was a really nice time

My children, Vasylinka and Makariy, have been dreaming of a family vacation in the Carpathians for many years. By the way, they got the biggest impression from the waterfall they saw and the climb up the mountain. And they were also pleasantly surprised that they could have fun and be interesting with dad, that he could support and help. It’s just a pity that part of the family stayed at home.

Upon returning home, our relationship with our children became stronger and friendlier. We began to dream more together and spend more time together.

“Dad-weekend” in the mountains is an initiative aimed at strengthening the bond between fathers and children, giving them the opportunity to spend quality time together in a calm and natural environment, to distract themselves from the current situation in the country. Відтак, цей проєкт є одним з прикладів того, як батьки та діти можуть наблизитися один до одного, разом переживши справжню пригоду.

Therefore, “Dad-weekend” is one of the examples of how fathers and children can get closer to each other, experiencing a real adventure together. Undoubtedly, such projects are especially valuable and important in wartime, as they give dads the opportunity to change the situation and, at least for a certain time, be with their children in peace, giving them due attention and showing their reliability as fathers.

International Center of Fatherhood
International Center of Fatherhood
Our mission is to achieve change at the national level in understanding the role of men as fathers in the family, society and the church through forming state family policy and public opinion for family values; and to promote the biblical model of a good father, to encourage men to follow it and to develop leadership in the home, the church and in society.

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