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Dads aim to spend time with their kids

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published October 20, 2015

 Emma-Grace Budry, 7, canoes during a campout with Three Fires Longhouse at Mystic Lake last year.

Emma-Grace Budry, 7, canoes during a campout with Three Fires Longhouse at Mystic Lake last year.

Photo provided by Ken Budry

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Troy resident Wade Tennant wanted his daughter Grace, 8, to learn the same kinds of skills she would learn in Boy Scouts, with him.

So he and some other local dads who wanted to spend time with their sons and daughters started Three Fires Longhouse, a spinoff of a similar group offered through the YMCA.

Tennant, secretary for the organization, said the group aims to strengthen the father-child bond.

“About 60 families are currently part of the circles in the Three Fires Longhouse, in which the children are separated into different age groups and sexes,” Tennant said.

He said the groups hold three campouts a year that focus on social skills, team building, lifelong bonds and spending time with dads.

The campouts are held at YMCA facilities, and activities include hiking, archery, horseback riding, a zipline and canoeing.

“I was always looking for a group to give dads an opportunity to spend time with their daughters,” said Ken Budry, of Troy, president of the group. He has two daughters, Emma-Grace, 7, and Anna, 10.  He said he noticed that other groups were designed as drop-off programs.

“I was looking for something to participate in, and not just do crafts,” he said.

“Usually moms are the primary activity planners,” he said. “It gives fathers an opportunity outside their comfort zone to be with other dads, spend time with their children and spend time with dads of children they are growing up with,” he said. “It fosters relationships between parents as well.”

He said that at first, some of the dads are a little hesitant.

“But now everyone promotes it as much as possible,” he said. “Dads come and love it.”

He noted that moms have been very supportive in getting the word out about Three Fires Longhouse.

Children earn patches for each event they participate in.

Budry said that, this year, his focus is on the city of Troy — to tour the police and fire stations and Department of Public Works building, as well as volunteer to help seniors rake leaves.

The group is open to boys and girls in kindergarten through eighth grade and their dads.

For more information, call (248) 238-8323 or email contact@3fires.org.

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