To celebrate Father's Day, we asked our ambassadors, athletes and contributors to share their thoughts about fatherhood: what it means, how it changed them, and how their fathers shaped their lives.
Take a few moments this weekend to thank the special father, grandfather, uncle, brother, and friend for all he does. Happy Father's Day!
The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature.
~ Abbé Prévost
Being a dad is a challenge in almost every way. What I want more than anything is for my son Cody to be a happy, well-rounded, productive and respectful young man. There isn’t a black and white book on how to do that. So I walk the walk and talk the talk with him. I share as many different experiences with him, both fun and mundane. We make our own happiness. I hope he continues to make his own happiness, because I know he’s helped me be happy.
Fatherhood is about teaching and sharing. Teaching things that can’t be learned in a book or on YouTube and sharing moments that cannot be bought with money. I'm so fortunate to have a young man like Cody in my life, and I hope I live up to the incredible challenges of being a dad.
~ Zach Carbo, Living the High Life
Photo Credit: Nick Broms
I broke my left collar bone in the Fall of 2013 and again in the Summer of 2014. I lost two seasons of cyclocross, but I gained the opportunity to spend more time with my incredible daughter, Lupine. I was her coach, mechanic, and driver. Most important, I was her Father. I watched her get stronger, compete at a national level, and grow into a better athlete and a better person. It was one of the best opportunities of my life. This Fall and Winter, we will both be racing together again, wearing KÜHL colors. I can hardly wait.
~ Robert Hamilton, KÜHL CX Cyclist
Part of the joy in being a father is seeing the world through your children's eyes. Kids get excited at things we adults take for granted: like waking up, playing with dinosaurs or going to see real live turtles. I've seen turtles many times, but seeing them with my two youngest boys was something special.
I am lucky enough to be the father to four amazing kids. If I do nothing else in my life right, I hope to at least be a good dad, as my dad was and is for me. Father's Day usually consists of spending time with my babies (they will always be my babies no matter how big they get) and calling my own father to thank him for all he has done for me. It has a nice symmetry to it: he was a great dad; I hope to be the same for my kids; and perhaps some day they will for their kids.
But honestly, this is how it is every day of year. Being a father is a 24/7/365 job…and I love it.
Looking back over the years, the starting point for my love of the outdoors most likely began with the "Annual Hildebrand Family Camping Trip" to Firefly Lake. Every July, my Dad would pack up the family and head north. We explored the lakes, caught frogs, picked blueberries, rode bikes, and enjoyed all the great outdoors had to offer.
As I got older and starting venturing further from home, my Dad (and Mom) would come see me wherever I was to see what I was up to. They have driven with me cross country (more than once), backpacked over 11,000 foot mountain passes, chased bears and porcupines with me, four wheeled on sand dunes to catch a glimpse of endangered birds I worked with, and have been to Europe to visit me!
Even more important than instilling a love of nature and adventure, my Dad inspires me to be a better person every day. Through him, I see genuine compassion for others, the dedication and hard work of having a family, integrity to make the right choice even when the wrong one is easier, and to be open minded to all people regardless of circumstance. My Dad never told me to do these things…rather it's through watching his actions that I've seen the kind of person I want to be.
I’ve achieved and experienced some great things in sport and in the mountains, but no activity has been as rewarding as being the father of two wonderful sons. My wife, Lisa, gave birth to Cameron in 2000 and Jonathan in 2002, and so raising these two boys has been our most important task the past 15 years. While outdoor recreation—and, specifically, rock climbing—as a family has already created many life memories for me, I take great pride in raising the boys to be well-rounded, competent and confident in a wide range of endeavors and to embrace challenge wherever it may appear (school, sports, personal relationships, etc.). Only time will tell if my sons become climbers for life (like their mom and dad), but for now I view each day that we do climb together as icing on the Father’s Day cake!
~ Eric Hörst, Climber, Coach & Author
I am so thankful for Scott. He is amazing with our daughter, and she is so much the better for all his influence and ability to challenge and entertain her. Scott has the amazing ability to engage Kiera by making things fun, especially our adventures outdoors. He uses tricks and clever tactics to help engage her, or distract her, whichever is needed. Scott and Kiera constantly banter and exchange funny word rhymes. He challenges her to mini races and "I bet you can't" activities, and she loves being challenged by him and "beating daddy."
My father has one of the greatest stories I have ever heard. When he would tell it to me as a child, it seemed like an adventure story and not actual events that transpired in his young life, growing up and then escaping from Havana, Cuba. Little did I know that because of what he endured - and how many times I heard his incredible story - his experience would shape the woman and athlete I would become. I have never been so proud to share my family history and show the tremendous love I have for my dad.
Read Allie's incredible story about her father's escape from Cuba.
~ Allie Burdick, Vita Train For Life
Becoming a father has been a great change in our family's outdoor adventures. Now our time becomes more focused, and we can see the excitement through the eyes of our kids. I love the fact that our children start to enjoy and ask to do the things I do. They have started doing kids' bike races and love coming up on the podium with me. Fatherhood means that now my job becomes making memories for these two tiny people that they will remember for the rest of their lives.
My dad has always been a huge influence on being an outdoor lover. From birth, I was outside. Inside was considered a four letter word - even though it has six. Camping, fishing, hunting, snowshoeing, hiking, cross country skiing or just sitting outside and enjoying the sound of nature. My dad didn't think that because I was a girl, I needed to stay home. No way. I was expected to be out there doing the exact same things my brothers did. One of my favorite sounds ever is to hear the wind blowing through the trees and nothing else. It reminds me of childhood memories of being out in nature, listening to the sound of silence, thanks to my dad. Now I'm building new memories with my children.
~ Angela Bekkala, Happy Fit Mama
Going on great adventures with my daughter Natasha has kept us close. This is a picture of the two of us hiking in Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland. This is towards the end of an 80-day road/camping trip from Tofino, BC to Red’s Bay, Labrador. We were as happy and content as the picture shows.
May 5, 2012, my son Josh completed the St. George, Utah Ironman triathlon 140.2, as the youngest finisher at age 18. Seeing Josh cross the finish line and hearing them announce "Josh Virchow, YOU are an Ironman" was a proud moment as a father. Later I asked an Ironman official why there aren't more teenagers who compete inIronman triathlons. His response was simple and to the point: "Young athletes do not have the mental fortitude to compete."
As a father, I gave my kids instruction, guidance, and advice. I taught them mental toughness, in their approach to athletics and applying this teaching in their lives, making them better kids, better teenagers, athletes, and into adulthood.
When this returns full circle, where my son Josh teaches me, inspiring my life, and I learn from him the very principles I taught him as a child. This, is the ultimate reward to me a father. I love fatherhood and I love my Ironman.
~ Kenyon Virchow, I Love Utah
Being active outdoors has always been a family priority. So when Sophie was in full walking mode at the age of two, we drove up Little Cottonwood Canyon for a Father's Day hike. We parked and prepared for our hike. Several feet from the car, still in the parking lot, Sophie stopped, bent down, studied, and then picked-up a small pine cone. I encouraged Sophie to move along as we had not yet started our hike. A few more feet and Sophie stopped again, this time to study a potato bug that had caught her attention. Once again I shuffled Sophie along. Alas, a few feet onto the trail and Sophie stops again; my internal dialogue begrudgingly thought “what could she have possibly found this time, we have not even started our hike yet.” Exasperated, I bent down to see what had caught Sophie’s attention – a tiny purple flower, so small yet so perfect. In an instant it hit me, Sophie had already started the hike! Living in the moment, exploring the wonders of nature; while I was rushing to nowhere. My child was the master; I was the student. This teaching and awakening is a Father's Day gift I will never forget.
The greatest gift you can bestow on your child is your time, and that's exactly what my father has given to me and my siblings. It is through his own examples of exploring the globe on a shoestring that I'm a outdoor lover today. He bravely took his kids to live in the African bush at the unripe ages of 3-7 years, so I was destined to be an adventurer from the start! With eyes that twinkle with wisdom and untold jokes he makes any little outing an epic journey. A carpenter by trade, my father loves nature and sharing his unending knowledge with anyone he meets.
~ Sophie Lee, Hinturland
Having kids was extra motivation to hike, bike, ski and to show them the most fun is just outside the door. My daughter (now college age) brags to her friends that her father "dragged" her on backpacking trips when she was 7 years old. We had wonderful trips to the Unitas. At the time, some of our most memorable trips seemed to be disasters. One year the mosquitoes nearly ate us alive. We all ended up in the tent at 6 pm to escape the bugs. Me, two kids (9 and 7 years old), and a 75 lb dog in a two person tent. That was a long night!
Being a Dad means passing on a love for the outdoors to our children. The looks of joy and amazement on their faces when they see something new or experience a new adventure means I'm on the right track. I'm building love and respect now, in hopes for the future.
~ Sean Monnett, Hiking Dad
Happy Father's Day! Thanks to all of the amazing men who shape our lives, day in and day out.