In the past two years, The Malibu Times has received photos from an end-of-the-year gathering featuring a handful of Malibu dads, all in different stages of fatherhood. This year, with another Father’s Day come and gone, we spoke to the leaders of the group.  

Malibu dads John White and Steve Clarke started an annual Christmas get-together for dads at local watering hole Ollie’s Duck and Dive in 2016. The two invited other dads they had met through their kids’ schools, sports teams and churches.

“The idea started a couple years ago,” White said in a phone call with The Malibu Times. “I have some friends in Texas who used to throw a Christmas party every year and they would ask everyone bring a toy for Toys for Tots.” 

He explained that there was a “real appetite” among fathers in Malibu to come together—not only as a group of guys, but also to help a charity. 

Held in early December, the only rule is that dads must bring a toy for donation to Toys for Tots, a program run through the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve that donates toys to kids whose families cannot otherwise afford them.

“It’s a cool way to connect with other dads and make some new friends,” White said, adding that those in attendance—about 30 people each year—are grateful for the informal event. 

In an email to the Times, Clarke said, “It’s been a really rewarding experience, as the guys all share a common bond of being a Malibu dad, so it’s always a fun time, but we also get to support a great cause. And the dads are very generous, with some bringing several gifts for needy children!”

They have plans to start an end-of-summer event so the group can meet twice a year. The third annual get-together is set for December of this year.

For Father’s Day, however, local resident John Cross throws a Father’s Day Funfest. In its third year, the funfest draws families from Malibu West.

“It’s grown just in reputation and me inviting outside friends,” he said in a phone call. “It’ll never be something huge that everyone in Malibu would go to.” 

Instead, it’s a community get-together, complete with burger and hot dog grilling and a ton of games for kids and dads alike.

The dads and kids are paired up to compete in a host of activities like a three-legged obstacle course (“always a challenge on the beach”), bucket brigade event, an egg toss and a new game for this year, which involves push ups and chin ups for the dads.

Cross was particularly excited for the egg toss; since the teams play in sand, the eggs don’t always crack when they land on the ground—even if they’re going 40 feet in the air.

This year, the event will take place at the end of the month at the Malibu West Beach Club. 

“I make sure to do it every year,” Cross said. “Last year, we probably had 40-45 people.”

For more information on the Toys for Tots charity foundation, visit toysfortots.org.

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