Where do the cool San Francisco dads go to meet like-minded men folk? Just ask the San Francisco Dads Group, an active community full of amazing Stay-At-Home, Part-time at home, work from home, freelance, working, and all other types of involved fathers in and around the SF Bay Area. This awesome Dads Group is a pioneer in our area, providing resources, social outlets, support groups, and meet-ups for dads in San Francisco. In short, they are the go-to guys in the city!
Mike Heenan, one of the organizers of the San Francisco Dads Group, recently took the time to chat with us about what makes fatherhood in the Bay Area awesome, his advice for dads in the community, and more. Read on:
Red Tricycle: What is your dream Dad’s Night Out?
Mike Heenan, SF Dads: In our short time as a group we’ve done everything from a local watering hole to a movie night to the majestic SF Craft Beer Festival at Fort Mason. We’ve partnered with Whole Foods Market in Fremont for a holiday foods tasting event for Dad’s Night Out as well as some more discreet household gatherings. I’d have to say that our ideal Dad’s Night Out is any evening’s respite from the rigors of active parenting. Any time we get just the dads out to an ever-important Dad’s Night Out for a roundtable chat or a fun physical activity or some low-key shenanigans we have successfully bonded, decompressed and by all accounts had a blast. That’s ideal, to us.
RT: What neighborhood do you live in?
MH: Our members, events and resources are spread out all over the Bay Area with our three co-organizers residing in San Francisco, San Mateo and Fremont.
RT: What is your favorite “escape hatch” – a way to put in some “me” time to recharge?
MH: Dad’s Night Out.
RT: What is your “cannot live without” neighborhood activity?
MH: As you well know, we are very fortunate to live in an area with a mild climate and absolute focus on communal activity in general. It is an amazing place for dads to get out there with their kids and explore, play, socialize and grow. We are huge fans of events like Sunday Streets and Tricycle Music Festival. Of course, the plethora of parks and playgrounds is a staple.
RT: What’s your favorite part of city life as a parent?
MH: The proximity to everything. It’s a convenient, take-it-or-leave-it proposition living in the Bay Area. No need to over-schedule your family life to death, for fear of missing out. Every waking moment there’s an event, a gathering, an open space, just outside your door. Some days are better spent relaxing on the homefront but when you have the urge to tap in to the pulse of the city you are more than welcome to.
RT: What does the perfect Bay Area Sunday morning look like?
MH: It is cool in the shade, warm in the sunlight, which is plentiful, beneath a cerulean blue sky. Just outside the Exelsior Branch Library the Alphabet Rockers, Allison Faith Levy and Lucky Diaz and The Family Jam Band are checking mics and preparing to wow the crowd of families at Sunday Streets. Both sides of the block are lined with craft booths and food trucks and the air is ripe with childrens’ laughter, song and grill smoke.
RT: What is your latest obsession?
MH: Kindie music. The Bay Area is becoming a hub for real bands making real music for real kids.
RT: What is your favorite local “gem” in the Bay Area?
MH: CuriOdyssey, in San Mateo, is a personal favorite and has hosted us and our kids a bunch of times. The hands-on science experiments and interactive animal sanctuary are incredibly rewarding for our dads and kids.
RT: What does “family night” mean to you?
MH: As well as being an organization in which dads are finding comfort, camaraderie, fellowship and fun, we also pride ourselves on being hosts of periodic full-family events. We have invited all members of our families to tour Levi’s Stadium, attend shows and concerts and are looking forward to starting an annual SF Dads Group Family BBQ, this year, at Crissy Field or another iconic location. We are also looking into putting on a Kindie Music Festival for the whole family, somewhere like Children’s Fairyland or other comparable venue.
RT: Why do Bay Area moms rock?
MH: We’ve found that moms in our area are, by and large, incredibly supportive of our aims. Moms groups are helping us spread the word about our resources, workshops, birth seminars, playgroups and meetups. We are all part of that village that it takes to raise a child and for the most part, unlike stories I’ve heard from ostracized dads in other areas, Bay Area moms recognize and often champion the role of active, involved and enthusiastic dads in our community.