James J. Hanrahan
James is an Adventure Guides Dad from the Fullerton Family YMCA
Four years ago I reluctantly made a commitment to join the Adventure Guide/Princess program on my wife’s urging. Being a business owner who travels a lot, my wife and I knew that if I was to spend real quality time with my two girls I needed to be a part of something that would get us out together on a regular basis and have real daddy/daughter time.
At the time my oldest was in first grade and we joined the Coyote circle in the Fullerton/Brea area. We had an amazing first year going on campouts, day trips and working on achieving goals together. My daughter made new friends from different schools and ages and I made some great friends with Dads who shared like goals and a commitment to family. During that first summer the Expedition leadership asked if I was willing to start a new circle and break away from the Coyotes as their group past a manageable size. Consulting my daughter about the opportunity to start a new circle she was actually very excited to be a part of something new even though it meant leaving many of the new friends she had just made. With two Coyote families, we started the Blue Jays. My younger daughter, who was in preschool, joined up and with some new families we set out on a great and rewarding challenge.
Now entering our fifth year in the program I have stepped up to be the Navigator for the entire California Wild Expedition. With about 110 families CA Wild is the Expedition for North Orange County; we have a total of 10 circles with girls ranging in age from 4 to 12 years old.
I cannot imagine not taking this journey with my daughters. We have been given a chance to really get to know each other and have had experiences that will last a lifetime. The positive influences and support from both the Dads and the YMCA has made me a better father and better friend to my girls. Seeing my girls grow up and embrace the tough call to be leaders is an additional invaluable benefit. Time will pass you by and joining the Adventure Guide program will give you the opportunity to be the best father you can be, don’t put off being a part of something truly awesome.