Before Girls For A Change and Camp Diva Leadership Academy merged into one organization, the two collaborated to run a Girl Action Team (a signature program of Girls For A Change) within Angela Patton’s Camp Diva Leadership Academy.
After engaging participants in discussion around an issue they felt passionate about, they chose to focus on developing stronger relationships with their fathers - and helping other Black girls do the same. The first Date with Dad Weekend was a community-wide Daddy Daughter Dance where girls and their fathers were invited for dinner, dancing, comedy, and fun activities. The dance was incredible. Unfortunately, some of the girls in the program felt left out of the experience because their fathers were incarcerated.
“What if we had the dance in the jail?” - the question that ignited the event “A Dance of Their Own.”
The girls wrote to a local Sheriff and asked if daughters could spend a special afternoon with their incarcerated fathers to enjoy “a dance of their own.” Former Sheriff C.T. Woody, at Richmond City Justice Center, said “yes,” and the very first Daddy Daughter Dance in jail was born.
Designed to take place within a correctional facility, participating fathers dress in semi-formal attire for a date with their daughters, with no physical barriers between them. They enjoy a meal, live comedy, games, a dance, and other activities aimed at father-daughter bonding.
To prepare for this meaningful event, fathers, mothers/guardians, and daughters participate in community healing circles led by trained facilitators. These sessions build up to a culminating celebration, aimed not just at enhancing the bond between fathers and daughters, but also at strengthening family relationships as a whole, reinforcing the family's unity and resilience.
This impactful program was the topic of a TEDWomen Talk given by the CEO of Girls For A Change, Angela Patton. Years later, Film Director Natalie Rae discovered her TED talk, felt an immediate connection to its message and impact, and reached out to tell the story. Natalie and her crew attended one of these dances and followed four very special families through the process. After an eight-year journey, Daughters will be premiering at the Sundance Film Festival.
Connecting Fathers And Daughters
Wherever They Are
Established in 2008 by Camp Diva Leadership Academy’s Girl Action Team, Date With Dad Weekend is a fun-filled weekend for dads and daughters at various locations throughout the month of March.
“There’s no denying that a woman’s relationship with her father is one of the most crucial in her life. The quality of that connection— good, damaged, or otherwise—powerfully impacts dads and daughters in a variety of ways. A father’s effect on his daughter’s psychological well-being and identity is far-reaching. A daughter’s sense of self, for instance, is often connected to how her father views her. A girl stands a better chance of becoming a self-confident woman if she has a close bond with her father.” - Angela Patton, CEO
We were honored to have the iconic Bruce Weber attend one of our dances to photograph participants. Here are just some of his beautiful photos. Bruce Weber is an American fashion photographer and occasional filmmaker. He has made ad campaigns for Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Pirelli, Abercrombie & Fitch, Revlon, and Gianni Versace, and made work for Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair, Elle, Life, Interview, and Rolling Stone magazines.
Photos by Bruce Weber
Scroll through our video library to see past Date with Dad Weekend events
Past Weekends Have Included
Real Father Awards
Celebrating fathers who have an impact with their children and community
Annual Date with Dad
Dinner and dancing
Daddy Daughter Dance
Girls with incarcerated fathers