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Dads' Bucket List to hold first big event for dads, kids | News

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Dads' Bucket List to hold first big event for dads, kids

DUNWOODY, Ga. -- A group of dads from the Dunwoody area are encouraging others to take a break from their busy careers and engage with their kids in unique, shared experiences.

The group goes by the name "Dads' Bucket List," and they're planning their first large-scale event on March 1 called the "Checklist Challenge."

PHOTOS | Dad's Bucket List

The husband of 11Alive's Jennifer Leslie is one of the dads who started the group a couple of years ago. Now the group wants to get other dads and kids involved.

"Bottom line is, we're trying to have fun times with our kids while we still have them and they're young and they want to hang out with us," said Jennifer's husband, Matt Boettcher.

The group started a couple of years ago with an outing to the top of Stone Mountain.

That led to more unusual experiences. They went behind the counter at Waffle House, harvested pears for families in need and even built a float for Georgia's largest Independence Day parade in Dunwoody.

"Each month, my kids ask me, 'What are we going to do with this month?', said George Markley.

It's been a hit with the kids.

"My dad's always at work and always traveling, so this gives me a time to be with him," said Jack McWard, 10.

His dad said the group provides great camaraderie with other dads, too.

"Raising kids is not easy," said Phil McWard. "You have trials and tribulations, and you can talk to other dads. It's a good sounding board."

One seven-year-old in the group, Avery Watts, enjoyed the time with his dad so much that he wrote a story about it at school.

"You go so many places," said Avery's dad, Kevin Watts, as he read the story aloud. "Dads bucket list is so fun. I don't know what we're going to do next."

During an overcast morning in late December, the dads and kids gathered for their first "polar plunge."

"This is crazy, this is crazy," said Jamie Ruark.

They gathered around a pool and dumped some ice in the water to make it even colder.

Then, one by one, they jumped in.

"It's cold, very cold," said Matt Hickman.

"Where's the sauna?" added Mike Holmes.

The polar plunge was for dads only, since there's no way the moms would agree to let the kids jump in such cold water.

"When they jumped in, I would have never thought my dad would have done that outside of Dads' Bucket List," said Lauren Markley, 11.

The feedback's been so positive that the group wants other dads to join the adventure.

The Dads' Bucket List Checklist Challenge will take place at Cagles' Family Farm in Canton.

Dads from across metro Atlanta can sign up with their kids to take on the kind of challenges you see in shows like "Survivor" and "The Amazing Race."

It's geared toward boys and girls, ages 4 to 14.

It's great for moms, too, since they get a guilt-free day off.


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