The Thrivent Financial All Pro Dad Father And Kids Experience With The Minnesota Vikings

The Thrivent Financial All Pro Dad Father And Kids Experience With The Minnesota Vikings

Venue: The fieldhouse at Winter Park, Eden Prairie
Attendees: Approximately 1,500 Minnesota kids and dads
Rentals: Skyway Event Services
Entertainment: Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress, Vikings’ defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, former Vikings assistant coach Dean Dalton, announcer Paul Allen, and members of the St. Olaf College football team
Event Planners: Family First and Scott Erdahl, Vikings events and hospitality coordinator

 

If it’s true that the families that play together, stay together, then All Pro Dads is onto a big concept. All Pro Dads is a program of Family First, a nonprofit organization with close ties to the NFL. There are 18 chapters of All Pro Dads in Minnesota, most in Twin Cities suburbs but at least one in far-flung Bemidji. The Father and Kids Experience is just one of the All Pro Dad events on offer; there are monthly breakfasts for children and fathers, an All Pro Dad blog, and the opportunity to receive fathering tips via e-mail

At the Viking’s first Father and Kids Experience, families paid only $10 for dad and up to four kids. Attendees fueled up on orange juice and bagels, then listened to Coach Brad Childress, former coach Dean Dalton, and assistant coach Leslie Frazer talk about their family experiences, the importance of fatherhood, and how to foster loving relationships between men and their children. In the course of the three-hour event, dads and kids enjoyed a series of six football stations where they played interactive games designed to show how football can demonstrate positive values for kids and fathers. At the quarterback station, for example, “you might have the father passing the ball to the son or daughter,” says Scott Erdahl. “That’s a football skill, but the underlying message is about connecting with each other or how it takes teamwork to complete a task.”

One of the challenges that they encountered at Winter Park was a lack of parking. “Luckily the event was on a weekend and we were able to use a rather large ramp by the marketing and sales offices across the street from the fieldhouse.” The fieldhouse itself, Erdahl added, “is not built for events, it’s built for practicing, so there isn’t built-in lighting or built-in sound. We always have to bring all that in.”

The simplicity of the event was one key to the Father and Kids Experience’s success. “CPC [Experiential, based in Eagan,] brought in some inflatable interactive activities, and Skyway [Event Services] provided some help on tables, but the event is pretty self-sufficient,” Erdahl says. “The idea is for the families to come in and have a good time together for a few hours, and hopefully carry that good time through their daily lives.”

The event was a huge success, reports Erdahl, who takes pride in the fact that they sold out the event on the very first try. “The smiles and the hugs are kind of heartwarming,” Erdahl says. “People came away from it saying they can’t wait to come again next year.”