Falcon father urges quality time ahead of big camp out for dads and kids

Falcon father-of-three Stephen “Sunny” Sun will be among hundreds of dads and kids to pitch a tent and get back to basics at The Fathering Project’s historic final Big Camp Out at Subiaco’s Domain Stadium next month.

The Big Camp Out, a joint initiative of The Fathering Project and Outdoors WA, will be held on Saturday, October 14, encouraging dads from all walks of life to create great memories with their kids by sharing a range of fun activities on the oval overnight.

The annual camping event, aimed at children aged from five to 12, encourages fathers and father figures to foster closer relationships with their children by unplugging from modern technology and spending quality, one-on-one time.

The Fathering Project chief Wayne Bradshaw said there was overwhelming research that showed the benefits of good father-children relationships.

“There is compelling evidence that children with effective fathers or father figures in their lives experience positive outcomes and wellbeing,” Mr Bradshaw said.

“Research shows that children with male role models in their lives have a reduced rate of suicide, substance abuse, self harm and crime, with better learning, socialisation outcomes and employment prospects.”

He said The Fathering Project, a not-for-profit charity, sought to improve child development by inspiring fathers and father figures to positively engage with their children.

Mr Sun said the Big Camp Out had been a great success with Arielle, his 10-year-old daughter, last year and this year he planned to take his seven-year-old son Zachary.

“Last year’s Big Camp Out really left an impression on us,” he said.

“The emphasis on one-to-one time is the most valuable part of the Big Camp Out. Many of us harbour regrets in life that we don’t spend enough time with the family, with work and other commitments.

“There is something really special about spending quality one-to-one time doing fun things with your children and it’s heartening to know that there are many other fathers in the same position.

“That one-to-one time really makes the child know they are special.”

As part of his commitment to the fathering effort, Mr Sun helped establish The Fathering Project at his children’s Dawesville school, St Damien’s Catholic Primary School, which recently hosted a camp-out on its oval for dads and kids.

“The Fathering Project is such a supportive and uplifting initiative,” he said.

“It’s about getting all dads to work together for a successful event and that in itself is really rewarding.”

This year is the final year the Big Camp Out will be held at Domain Stadium before operations are moved to the new Perth Stadium in Burswood.

The event, which more than 300 fathers and children took part in last year, includes activities as well as a barbecue dinner and breakfast.

For more information or to register, go to www.thebigcampout.com.au.

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