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Somerset County YMCA - HomeFor Youth Development; For Healthly Living; For Social Responsibility

Helping You Live Better

Honoring Fathers & Father Figures in All Their Roles

by Cristina Williams | Director of Digital Media, Somerset County YMCA | Jun 16, 2017
Fathers Day Blog

The Y has a long history recognizing fathers and the vital roles they play in our families and communities. On July 19, 1910, Spokane YMCA first celebrated Father’s Day after Sonora Louis Smart Dodd advocated for a day to honor men who were responsible for cultivating healthy, happy children and preparing them for life’s challenges. Her own father, William Jackson Smart, raised six children as a single parent. Stemming from this inaugural celebration, Father’s Day became a national holiday in 1972. Somerset County YMCA has always been committed to men’s well-beinga and developing programs that support them in fatherhood and as father figures.

At our Y locations, we offer a variety of programs for doting dads and personal wellness. The latter is the foundation for building strong, connected families and for the endurance it takes to make it all happen. “Studies show that children with close relationships with their fathers and other adult male role models have more self-confidence, exhibit less depression, perform better academically, and engage in significantly less drug and alcohol use.”1 Why not give the gift of holistic health to that special man or men in your life this Father’s Day and Men’s Health Month? Below are just a few offerings and highlights of what they’ll find at the Y this summer.



Personal Training

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It all starts with a fitness relationship – help foster that connection with personal training sessions in which men can get results and improve health with one-on-one guidance from our certified Personal Trainers. Trainers will design a program tailored to their interests and ability levels to help reach fitness goals. Get them started with an introductory tri-pack. Learn more.

Boot Camp

Help get dad outside and get fit. Somerset Hills YMCA and Bernards Township are partnering to offer a 6-week boot camp experience in the park. Drop in with a water bottle and towel. Be ready to exercise with the sun on your face and the grass beneath your feet. 


Hop Father and Son Team displaymode=Hop Father and Daughter displaymode= We all like challenges and the Y has several this summer, including a Mini Indoor Triathlon, Tour de YMCA: 4-Week Fitness Challenge, and Swim the Challenge! The Y Summer Challenge is a great personal option. All in all, they’re a great way for dads to engage with their children in healthy living. We’d like to give a special shout out to Y dads who participated in this year’s Hillsborough YMCA Hop 5K. Congratulations to the winning father-son team Joyjit and Prajit Kundu and to another Y father-daughter team Doug and Charotte McLaughlin. These dads are great examples of men who encourage their children to persevere through challenges!



Somerset Hills YMCA's Adventure Guides program, for fathers and their children, helps to strengthen the parent/child bond and was designed to foster healthy relationships with fathers. In the program, parents lead, direct, influence and teach while presenting opportunities for their children to explore the world around them. It also builds community with other families who have children the same age. Past participants are still in touch and share how the adventure continues for them, their children and new friends. Learn more.


For dads who are fans of “Dancing with the Stars,” here’s a chance for them to dance their way to fitness at a LaBlast class with a veteran of the show and program creator, Louis Van Amstel. They might even learn a few moves to show off on a night out.

The Y is known for the diversity of its dance programs, particular number called “Dancing Dads” performed at the annual dance recital, which is always a highlight. These caring dads surprise their little dancers with choreographed dance skills that they practice for weeks before the recital – talk about unconditional love!


chopped displaymode= A father son duo (and Y Family) were named “Chopped Champions” on a special Father’s Day episode, which aired on June 13. Tune-in for upcoming airings on 6/22 at 8:00pm and 6/23 at 3:00am. The pair are Ronit Bivas’s (Hillsborough YMCA, Director of Child Care) husband and son. Congrats! 

Ice Cream Social
Take dad out to enjoy his children’s favorite food on National Ice Cream Day when they’ll get to make their own sundaes. The kids will love him for it.

Taco Tuesdays: (or Thursdays if Tuesdays get away from you like they do for most busy families.) 

Here’s an interesting recipe to try courtesy of YMCA of the USA. This is a great family date night and a good way for children to learn about healthy eating while getting creative with dad.

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Somerville YMCA has a movie program with the hits children like – adults, too. Whether they’re indoors or outdoors, these outings are perfect for some essential daddy downtime with the kids and bringing the whole family together. Next up: an outdoor showing of Disney's "Moana" on July 7 at 7:30pm and an aquatic showing of “Finding Dory” on July 14 at 7:30pm. Popcorn and fun will be provided!

Y DAD SPOTLIGHT: Qaadir Pollard, Somerset Hills YMCA Wellness Director


Qaadir, or "Q" as he is known to his Y family, can be seen around the Y leading a variety of Wellness activities and with his 11-month-old daughter, Amani. He also has a 10-year-old son, Nadir – the two have a father/son date every Friday. Q and his son talk about current events and he encourages the young boy’s brainstorming of ideas to aid in developing leadership skills; he wants to be his own boss one day. To Q, “fatherhood means providing a better lifestyle than what I experienced growing up. This means teaching my children how to work smart, create wealth and change the trajectory of my family’s history.” Q’s personal philosophy is aligned with the Y’s core values – he positively impacts and empowers so many in our community.

Y DAD SPOTLIGHT: David Carcieri, Somerset County YMCA President and CEO


Somerset County YMCA is led by David M. Carcieri, President and CEO – and father of three, which is the most emotional role of his life and one that forever changed him. Seeing his children through the different stages of their lives has given him both joy and life lessons. His personal and professional goals are aligned in this way: he’s passionate about inspiring healthy, productive and independent adults who are integral parts of their communities, give back and are reliable. He is supportive by giving them the platform and space to grow and learn from their mistakes. This growth mindset is a philosophy he brings to the Y. “Seeing how the Y supports families is something I’m very proud of,” says David. His own children have grown up in the Y and have enjoyed many experiences there with him and on their own. This, he says, is “another way the Y supports fathers and families – there’s no shortage of personal wellness opportunities and fun, family-oriented programs. The Y provides a place where parents feel confident that their children are safe and happy.”

On this Father’s Day, in today’s world, what better place to be than the Y.


About the Author:
Cristina E. Williams has worked for and alongside youth-serving and women's organizations for nearly a decade. Her desire to foster youth development and dedication to family health is what brought her to Somerset County YMCA, where she serves as the director of digital media. Through digital media platforms, Cristina believes heightened awareness can be achieved around the Y’s mission, including the social responsibility initiatives that drive her. Prior to joining the Y, Cristina worked in communications, advocacy and prevention at two state coalitions addressing interpersonal, child and domestic abuse.


[1] Retrieved from Chicago Tribune, June 12, 2017; At YMCA, Father’s Day is a Reminder of the Important Role Dads Play in Children’s Lives

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