June 18, 2021

UW Health supports new dads with interactive boot camp

Madison, Wis. ‒ Tim Casias took his first Boot Camp for New Dads at American Family Children’s Hospital in March 2019 and has been with the program ever since.

A father of two, Casias, from Middleton, now helps new dads enter the wild and wonderful world of fatherhood.

“I wanted to learn more about being a good dad and found this program to be an incredible experience, and I’m glad I can still be a part of it,” he said. “I learned ways to calm my child, and we talked about the challenges my spouse and I could face while raising children.”

The boot camp is a one-time, 3-hour workshop offered to new dads. It is a chance for them to ask other dads about their experiences. No questions are off limits, and it can be an intimate experience with only a few dads in each group. There are “rookie dads” (first-time fathers) with their babies, “veteran dads” (who have been through the program) and a facilitator. Casias has participated as a new dad, veteran dad and facilitator.

“What makes our program so great are veterans like Tim,” said to Will Housley, program manager, Boot Camp for New Dads at American Family Children’s Hospital. “It is a safe space to share experience, address concerns and get real about what the first few months of fatherhood are really like.”

This program has been impacted by COVID-19 and right now it is just offered virtually, twice a month. The traditional boot camp is an in-person workshop offering hands-on experience for new dads. The hope is to resume in-person workshops as health guidance allows.