January 01, 2019
For volunteer and father Mike Dietz, joining the Adventure Guides program has proven to be a life-changing decision. The program has become an integral part of his family’s lives, and he hopes to share this special experience with other parents. Strong community ties and a profound appreciation for the outdoors are a few tagalongs of joining Adventure Guides. Yet, the founding mission of the program is to strengthen the bond between fathers and their children.
Mike and his wife, Colleen, have been married for 12 years and have two children, Tyler, age 9, and Hannah, age 6. Mike started the boys Adventure Guides circle in Batavia after neighbors and friends shared their own positive experiences with the program, and later joined the girls' circle with his daughter Hannah.
The program gives families opportunities to connect with their community and learn new skills through other outdoor activities, such as camping and fishing. The three yearly camping events, each bringing together about 200 Adventure Guides parents and children, are a major highlight of the program. Mike and his children enjoy participating in the monthly meetings and camping events together. The YMCA Camp MacLean is one of their personal favorite camping sites.
Mike and his son and daughter have gained a great deal from this experience and often recommends the program to other families. To Mike, the best parts of Adventure Guides are getting to spend time with his kids outside of the house, as well as the opportunity for them to build new connections. His children appreciate the friendships and experiences they’ve gained.
“My kids have been able to meet kids from all different schools around here, not just their schools. They've been able to do that and it also allows me to meet dads. I really enjoy their friendship, their company and hanging out with them,” shares Mike. Spending time with the community and creating lasting memories is what makes their relationship with Adventure Guides so special.
Parents and families in the Naperville, Elmhurst, and surrounding communities interested in joining the YMCA Adventure Guides and Explorers Program can visit the Y’s Adventure Guides website for more information.