Leaving the icy streets of Kansas City, Lee embarked on a weekend of a lifetime in February at the third annual Dad 2.0 Summit in the perfect 70-degree sunny weather of San Francisco. And although the weather may have been enough to tempt us to make the trek to the West Coast, even more were the nearly 300 amazing dads that we would meet and reconnect with in one of our favorite weekends of the year.
The last year has been marked as the Year of the Dads, and it’s clear why. The Dad 2.0 Summit reflects this new optimism and the real strength of modern dads. Each day is filled with lectures, small group discussions, panel interviews and quick coffee runs. And late night outings are filled with conversations on how dads across the country continue to defy typical male stereotypes about fatherhood. Each was eager to share his own story about being pushed into this box of inattentive-father and how he has broken free to share stories of being an involved and loving father and putting a little good in the world.
Stereotype 1: Dads have no idea what they’re doing.
Clueless father figures with no idea how to communicate with their children, change a diaper or “babysit” their own offspring are riddled all over television. But just a few conversations with the dedicated fathers from Dad 2.0 quickly trashed this stereotype and revealed a world of dads who spend time with their children, stay home when they’re sick and attend every soccer game – while enjoying every second. Don’t get me wrong, a majority of attendees could still be caught at one point or another with a beer in their hand talking sports, facial hair and review of their new favorite gadgets. But nothing can brighten their eyes like talking about their children at home, eager to share new photos and stories about them and their latest adventures and discoveries lead by the man in their lives.
Stereotype 2: Dads are chained to the boardroom, feeling more comfortable at their office than helping at home or attending school events.
Fathers – like their partners – have an individual list of priorities, and most begin with their families. All of these fathers have taken a day to supervise a field trip, present at Career Day, bring cupcakes for Junior’s birthday and many even take on the main role of Caretaker. Work-life balance can be difficult for anyone, at any age or stage of their lives – but these dads set an incredible example on setting goals in each role you play. They decide what’s important and follow their heart which leads them to harmonious satisfaction in supporting their families at home and the bottom line at work.
We’ve learned more and more about these stereotypes and the guys defeating them throughout the last year. We’ve followed their stories online of successes and struggles, making us even more excited to celebrate their journeys at Dad 2.0 this year.
The Summit kicked off with a THANK YOU from Lee to each of the dads for their inspiration and teachings since beginning their blogs, opening their hearts to audiences across the world and overall “knocking our socks off.”
We then jumped into a whirlwind of product trial and conversations with more than 250 of the attendees. The Lee team created a Denim Den, complete with a immense amount of denim (more than 400 pieces!), comfortable couches, vintage Lee memorabilia, a green screen photo station to capture each guest’s perfect fitting pair of jeans and, of course, Kansas City’s own Boulevard Beer. We invited attendees into the Civic Suite at the Park Central Hotel to try Lee’s latest lines of Modern Series and Premium Select products with the help of one of Lee’s own Modern Series designers. And, after finding their perfect fit each Dad got to take home a pair for themselves.
This year’s Summit led us to some incredible advantages since attending last year. The most obvious: we knew the dads! We enjoyed catching up with so many of the people we have partnered with throughout 2014. Each was eager to share their feedback after wearing their jeans over the last year. Some of our favorite comments from new and past Lee converts?
- “I loved the jeans I got from you last year so much that I went out and bought five more just like it!”
- “I am a tried and true jeans wearer, and I’m definitely a Lee convert now.”
- “I can’t believe this is Lee! I haven’t worn Lee since I was a kid, but I’m looking forward to checking them out again.”
Throughout the weekend, we had the opportunity to fit 250 attendees with new jeans and follow great conversations on social media recapping each guest’s positive experience in the Denim Den.
Since our February excursion to San Francisco, we’ve continued to have great conversations with many of the dads who attended the Summit. Discussions have already begun on exciting partnerships and more #LeeGoodDeeds from our new friends.
2015 continues to shape up to be another great year – and another ‘Year of the Dads.’