The Down Low on Rad Dads Edmonton Chapter (+ Father’s Day Concert at 9910)

You’ve likely heard of them.

The Rad Dads are making waves in Edmonton.

Meet Kristian, Darren, Mike and Kelly — just four of the Rad Dads — who were volunteering at the Annual Family BBQ for The Terra Centre for Teen Parents.

Rad Dads Edmonton Chapter is a new, supportive community that hosts an event every few months for local fathers. They also volunteer for local charities. They host Kool Kids events every few months, which are informal and fun hangouts for the whole fan-jam — moms included. Tell your hubbies, neighbours, friends and anyone else you know who is a papa. These guys are rad.

It’s Father’s Day this Sunday, and the Rad Dads will be celebrating. Their Bring the Noise Koncert! (a Kool Kid event) will be held from 1 – 5 pm at 9910, below The Common — and you’re all invited. The Rad Dads will have live music, games, prizes and dancing. If you bring a box of size 4, 5, or 6 diapers, you’ll get a $15 LOVEPIZZA gift card in return.

Image: Rad Dads / Nigel Hood of Hotel Graphic Design Company

Want to know more?

I asked Kristian (the founder) if he’d do a Q + A for my blog. He agreed! 

1 | What is Rad Dads all about? 

I get asked this question all the time, and I still have yet to piece together an answer that I am completely satisfied with. For this reason, I think the Rad Dads vision will be one that is constantly evolving and growing.

As for now: we are a group of fathers that have a goal of hosting 4 “dads-only” meetings a year, centering around a theme. At these meetings, we share experiences and hopefully learn something in an informal setting while washing it down with a cold brew.

(Did you hear that Dads? Brewwwww……..) 

So far, we have had 2 of these meetings at 9910. It’s become somewhat of our clubhouse. (We are so grateful for Rob and Kyla of The Common to have provided that space for us.) The first meeting had a theme of building (as in, building the community of Rad Dads) and the second meeting had music at it’s core.

I’ve structured the meetings as follows: reaching out to some craft brewery to provide a cask for the night, some form of entertainment, collecting donations for a local charity, and then end the night with a guest speaker, centered around the theme. I ask someone that relates to dads or is in fact a dad themselves.

In the months between the dads meetings, we have organized what we call Kool Kid events. These are meant to tie back to the prior dad meeting theme and be an all-inclusive family friendly (moms welcome) event for parents to have fun doing something different with their kids.  The first Kool Kid event was what we called “Build & Bond” Lego Party.  Essentially, a Lego free-for-all building marathon that included an animal balloon artist and other goodies.

The second Kool Kid event, Bring the Noise Koncert! is coming up on June 18th (Father’s Day) from 1-5PM at 9910 (9910B-109St).  This event is a family-friendly “rock concert” with DJ Rob Common (part owner of the Common and awesome dad and DJ) starting the dance party off then ending with a short set by The Barkells. (They’re an awesome local cover band!)

Rad Dads Logo: Designed by Nigel Hood, Hotel Graphic Design Company

2 | Tell us who you are — and why you started Rad Dads.

Who am I…hmmm.

My name is Kristian Basaraba, High School Science Teacher by day and a Rad Dad (most days) to my five-year-old boy by night.  As to why I started Rad Dads, that reason may have its roots in me growing up in the punk rock community and being inspired by messages of many different bands like CRASS, Propagandhi, MDC and Dead Kennedys.

They all have the underlying message: if you want the world to be a better place then you must take action and do something about it yourself (DIY ethos) and hopefully empower others to join you in your quest.

I took inspiration from their ideas and stumbled across a group in Vancouver. From there, Rad Dads Edmonton Chapter was born.

I modelled my ideas around what the dads group in Vancouver was doing and put my spin on it.  It has also become a sort of creative outlet for me in that I get to work closely by my good friend Nigel Hood, of Hotel Graphic Design Company, who is responsible for all of our bad ass images and esthetic.  We both have five-year-olds, have similar interests and believe in this group.

I came up with this idea, ran it by Nigel and another close friend Braden Sustrik (although not a dad) and rolled with it – an attempt to have some fun, plan a few events and see where it goes.

I’d like to say I had this epiphany and this visionary aspect as to why but thought it was a good idea. I just haven’t seen any dads groups out there, and was tired of the “deadbeat dad” moniker that seems to (in my opinion) permeate pop culture and society in general  — but it is changing — and we want to be part of that change.

3 | What was new fatherhood like for you?

If by new fatherhood, you mean going from having no kids to having one, in all honesty — I was terrified.

(and still am I think!)

I am a school teacher, and the pressures kids have these days made me weary about bring another human being into this world that I was responsible for. So yeah, terrified, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

The (ongoing) experience is amazing – other friends I hung out with that had kids before I did always used the cliché “You don’t know what true love is until you have a kid.” That statement is a cliché for a reason – because it is true!  I evaluate a strong relationship (friendship or other) on how much the other person teaches you, and vice versa, and the lessons my son has taught me probably far outweigh the lessons I have taught him up to this point.

For that reason, it’s unbelievable.

4 | Why do you think Edmonton is a great place to start and raise a family?

Edmonton has a lot to offer.

It has a beautiful river valley, growing downtown core, strong community leagues, awesome festivals, and many athletic opportunities for children, great schools, the list goes on and on.  I’m proud to say I live here and think this city has many interesting and artistic people that make this place exciting to live, whether you are old or young.

5 | What is your vision for Rad Dads — where do you see it in 5 years?

This is something some of the dads and I are trying to figure out right now.

I would personally like it to become a non-profit organization that provides mentorship opportunities in the community and models positive parenting in some form or another as well as plans some “fun” events for dads.  I want us to be more than event planners – I’m calling for us to be community changers.

6 | Where can Dads in Edmonton find more information?

You can find us on Instagram (@RadDads_Yeg), Twitter (@RadDads_YEG) and Facebook (@raddadsyeg).

Huge thank you, all of you Rad Dads. You’re doing incredible things in our community!

Make sure you read YEG Inspired’s Interview with Rad Dads Edmonton Chapter.