Zach Holcomb and his son Alex participate in a challenge.
Zach Holcomb and his son Alex participate in a challenge.

Nothing says quality time quite like competition.

The second Checklist Challenge hosted by Dad’s Bucket List takes place Oct. 25 as an obstacle course meets “The Amazing Race” in Dunwoody’s Brook Run Park.

Councilman John Heneghan took part in the first Checklist Challenge on March 1 and he encouraged Matt Boettcher, founder of Dad’s Bucket List, to host a second Checklist Challenge in Dunwoody.

“He put the bug in our ear to have the second one in Brook Run Park,” Boettcher said.

Other dads encouraged the members of Dad’s Bucket List, a Dunwoody-based group of fathers who take part in outings with their children, to repeat the challenge event. A few days after the first Checklist Challenge, Boettcher said he received a couple of unsolicited text messages from people who wanted to share what obstacles their kids like the most. “That somebody was interested enough to share feedback, encouraged us in continuing,” Boettcher said.

Boettcher said he ran into a dad about six weeks after the first Checklist Challenge who loved the event and said it wasn’t the kind of thing he usually would have done with his kids. The dad told Boettcher he usually sticks to the “old standbys” of movies and passive events, but the opportunity to be active with his child impressed him.

“Testimonials like that gave us the energy to build,” Boettcher said.

Boettcher said the Checklist Challenge has the potential to become an annual event in Dunwoody, and possibly take place in other cities too.

“We have other ideas on what Dad’s Bucket List can be doing,” he said. “One of the things we’ve always been interested in is unique experiences.”

This time, the Checklist Challenge will be more of a race, where dad-and-child teams can compare times against other teams.

The first Checklist Challenge was about obstacles, Boettcher said, and if you did the obstacles, you got a chip. Those accumulated chips were checked off on the leader board.

“Now we’re doing challenges as well as obstacles, so dads and kids will team up to win challenges against other teams,” Boettcher said, noting it will be more like “The Amazing Race.”

Brook Run Park will have about 15 obstacles, and dads can arrive with their child or children any time between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Participating costs $15 plus a $1.82 fee per participant through Oct. 15, then $25 plus the $2.37 fee after that.

Teams will receive a time stamp when they check in, and while there isn’t a time limit, participants can expect to spend about two hours challenging themselves.

Each station takes about five to 10 minutes, Boettcher said, adding that some obstacles are mind puzzles and some require strength. A minimum of 15 obstacle stations will be available, but teams don’t have to stop at every station.

“This is an opportunity to get out there and see what you and your kids can accomplish as a team,” Boettcher said.

The Oct. 25 Checklist Challenge takes place between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Participants should plan to spend about two hours in the park, Boettcher said. “Disconnect from the normal activity stuff, disconnect from your work life and do something unique and fun with your kids,” Boettcher said.

The crafting of the experience is the best part for Boettcher and his two sons, ages 8 and 6.

“My kids are chief product testers,” Boettcher said. During the first challenge, “we didn’t get a chance to participate, but I hope to rectify this on this time around.”

The group of dads keeping Dad’s Bucket List going, Beottcher said, wants to create activities to break out of the routine and create lasting memories with their kids.

“It’s not a club with members, but 20 to 30 dads have taken part in multiple outings with us, and that continues to grow,” Boettcher said.

He said the events like Checklist Challenge are designed by dads, for dads and their kids.

“Everything is built by us, so it has that look of ‘something my dad did with his hands,’” Boettcher said, noting the obstacles are thoughtfully put together and tested. “We figured out a fun way to put together an event, and it’s not corporate. No bounce houses.”

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