It’s been 20 years since the formation of the National At Home Dad Network’s annual convention. To celebrate this milestone we will be counting down to our convention in Raleigh by featuring past and present attendees, who will share why this gathering of modern fathers is so important.

Week 3! Wow, the momentum and anticipation are building! This week we featured Chad Welch, NAHDN board member for four years and Vice President for two years. He’s going to tell you why you won’t regret attending the convention and just how much the organization has grown over the last twenty years because of volunteers like himself.

Week 3 –  Chad Welch, St. Louis, MO

  1. FullSizeRenderWho is in your house? Tell us about your spouse, kids etc.

I have been married to my wife for 20 years.  She is a pediatrician.  We have two boys, 15 and 9.

  1. How long were you, or have been a stay at home dad?

I have been the primary caregiver since our first son was born in 1999 when my wife was in residency.  She finished residency when he was 18 months old.  At the time I started staying home.

  1. What city/ cities and year(s) did you attend the convention?

Omaha 2009-2010, DC 2011-2012, Denver 2013

  1. What is your best memory from a convention that you attended?

My favorite memory was in DC when Al Watts was up for re-election to the board.  We were at a point in the organization that it would have been hard to survive without Al’s leadership.  But at the convention nearly half the guys are new.  Some of us feared that guys might not understand how important Al was to the organization.  So I took upon myself, without Al’s permission or knowledge, to become his campaign manager.  I created a website, Facebook page, and had buttons printed that I passed out at the convention.  While much of it was done with humor, the intent was very real.

Al got re-elected and the organization continued to grow into what it is today.  They better give him one hell of a send-off this year in Raleigh.

  1. Why should someone attend the convention?

I knew about the convention back in 2000 but never saw a reason to attend. It wasn’t until we moved to St Louis and the convention was a drivable distance that I decided to give it a shot.  I was very tentative going to that first convention. I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t know what to expect.  I stayed at a different hotel to save money.  I planned to come back Saturday night.  In fact I had tickets for a football game that Sunday.

I was surprised how quickly I felt connected to this group of men.  The mere fact of all being the primary caregivers for our families created an almost immediate brotherhood.  I ended up staying Saturday night to spend more time hanging out with the guys at the convention.

My suggestion to anyone thinking about attending the convention, try it.  Take that leap. You may end up making new lifelong friends.  You may decide you are never going to miss a convention again.  You may even decide that it isn’t something you have to do every year.  But I don’t know anyone who regretted going. You will enjoy yourself and you will learn something.

Follow #RoadToRaleigh and #AHDCon on Twitter and Instagram and read about our featured dads every Friday until the convention as we count down to the 20th Annual NAHDN Convention