As summer comes to an end, the Light Foundation and its flagship program, Camp Vohokase celebrate the conclusion of another successful 8-day camp at its beautiful 500-acre facility Chenoweth Trials, in Darke County, Ohio. This upcoming year will mark the 15th year of its Cultural Leadership Program, Camp Vohokase. In those fifteen years, the faces change but our mission of providing these young men an opportunity to grow into great leaders in both their lives and own communities remains the same.
A key element of our program are the Hometown Visits that our Camp Vohokase Director Brandon Ervin makes quarterly with each class in the program. Additionally, he taps in with each young man through check-in phone calls and makes sure they all are keeping up with community service hours and academic success in the classroom. Getting together in person three times a year for a Hometown Visit allows us to build stronger bonds and work together in our mission of accountability and leadership.
The heart of the foundation’s operations take place in Darke County, Ohio, where the Vohokase Cultural Leadership Program Junior class is located. This gives an advantage to our Juniors; Chastan, Ethan, and Dakota, when it comes to community service and career educational opportunities. Just an hour southeast in Dayton, Ohio, these young men recently had the opportunity to learn and explore the Dayton Air Force Museum about the ones in America’s history who risked their lives protecting our great country.
The young men explored all four hangars of the museum that told a story with its timeline in American history. Our sophomores had the chance to work through a scavenger hunt as they got to learn about the young men and women who have fought for this country in all the wars throughout our history. The scavenger hunt became more serious when one of our guys, Ethan Massie, started looking for his great grandfather who served in both World War II and the Korean War. Although the Air Force Museum is only a short distance away from home, this was Ethan’s first time visiting the Museum.
After scanning through many artifacts and shrines we finally located American minister and United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Dean Hess, Ethan’s great grandfather. Colonel Hess was a highly decorated Lieutenant who received many medals including the Silver Star for “Kiddy Car Airlift”, the documented rescue of 950 orphans and 80 orphanage staff from the path of the Chinese advance during the Korean War on December 20, 1950. We are grateful for people like Colonel Hess who inspire men and women to fight for our country’s freedoms. Our Vohokase Cultural Leadership program has opened the door to the military for a few of our past alumni and these career educational tours help these young men decide what they want to do with their lives after high school.
At the conclusion of the tour, the campers left with the appreciation for those who have sacrificed everything for this country and its residents. Educational career opportunities allow our campers to start thinking about what comes next for them in their journey after graduating high school. We owe a great debt to those who have risked their lives for our safety. Leadership is the sacrifice and bravery of the men and women serving in the United Stated Military and those are just a few of the traits we look to instill in these young men through the Vohokase Cultural Leadership Program.