Dads and kids bond at overnight camp

Participants of the Dads for Life Camp near the F1 Pit Building during the 3km Family Route March yesterday evening.
Participants of the Dads for Life Camp near the F1 Pit Building during the 3km Family Route March yesterday evening.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Events coordinator Joe Sim, 36, spent Sunday night in a cramped two-man tent with his eight-year- old son, alongside more than 200 other father-child duos.

They were taking part in the Dads for Life Camp at the F1 Pit Building, organised by the Centre for Fathering.

"The sleepover was very fun. The bonding really happens when you share the tent at night and tell stories," said Mr Sim, whose two other children are aged five and three.

The camp, held as part of the NS50 showcase and in conjunction with the Army Open House, also featured a 3km Family Route March yesterday evening led by Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin.

Mr Tan, who has two children, told the camp participants: "Parenting really involves both parents. These days, you have dual family incomes. Both parents, both work, but fathers and mothers all have different roles. And the roles are important."

He shared how he put off attending a father-son camp with his son for two years, even though he thought it would be good, because he did not have time.

"Then I realised that it's not about waiting and seeing whether my schedule allows (me to do it), but that I should actively work it into my schedule," said Mr Tan, who added that time is "the most precious thing we can provide for our children".

Mr Tan said parental involvement, particularly the father's, has to begin "as early as possible".

"Don't just wait till we think our children are older and can start to engage (with us)," he added, urging attendees to spend time with their children and to encourage other fathers to do likewise.

"The impact of the family's presence, the interaction between parents and their child, is really, really important."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 30, 2017, with the headline 'Dads and kids bond at overnight camp'. Print Edition | Subscribe