Riding the Rapids of Change: Dads AF’s Journey to Health & Brotherhood

Dads AF Rafting Group Photo at the Pull-out

This article was written by Jennifer L. Byrd, a valued contributor to SpoFI. Jennifer is a mother, donor, volunteer, and veteran educator who brings her unique perspective and dedication to our organization. We extend our heartfelt thanks to Jen for her multifaceted contributions to SpoFI, which have a profound impact on our community.

This reflects the unity and effort that brought them to this point in their fitness journey and teamwork they exemplified in organizing the SpoFI Father’s Day Celebration 2024 & Fathers of the Year Presentation.

While this wasn’t their first time on the water, it was their first time together with a renewed sense of health, confidence, and community. There’s something about “firsts” that bonds a group indelibly—whether it’s our first kind friend, first encouraging teacher, first mischievous escapade, or first moment looking into our child’s eyes. This was indeed a memorable first for these dads.

Heather Branstetter, along with her team members Scott and Greg in the safety boats, graciously and professionally led the group down the Clark Fork. Although the route was familiar to her team, there was a noticeable difference in this journey.

The boat, paddled by Lawrence, B, Garrett, Chris, Logan, and Jim, was filled with healthy snacks, non-alcoholic drinks, and a genuine sense of brotherhood. Even DJ and his daughter, who couldn’t join in the boat, met for breakfast and drove to a beach pullout to wave and provide respite midway through the journey.

When asked about the impact of the Dads AF program, the participants shared not only their progress in fitness with provided tools and strategies but also the fellowship, camaraderie, and friendship they developed. They spoke of the metaphorical challenges they overcame: running stairs, climbing walls, shifting menus, and changing habits. By meeting regularly and supporting each other, they achieved their goals.

These dads spent weeks learning new practices and forging bonds that refer back to a time when communities played, worked, celebrated, grieved, and raised children together.

This trip was the culmination of their journey towards holistic well-being, demonstrating how leaning on each other and choosing health can bring more joy to their experiences and bring more joy within their families.

A Special Thanks To our Valued Donors

Your generosity has ignited a transformation in our community through programs like Dads AF and the SpoFI curriculum. You’ve helped forge a brotherhood of fathers who are redefining health, friendship, and family bonds.

Thanks to you, dads are finding renewed vitality, children are gaining positive role models, and families are growing stronger. Your contributions have funded more than fitness classes – they’ve sparked a revolution in health, mindset, and community spirit.

The impact of your support reverberates through every workout, every nutritious meal, and every moment a father feels empowered to be his best self. You may never meet those you’ve helped, but your generosity is shaping a healthier, happier future for countless families.

Thank you for investing in the heart of our community. Your continued support will help us expand these life-changing programs, touching even more lives.

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