As we embark on a new year, we’re excited about all of the possibilities for meaningful change and long-term impact on the youth and the communities we serve here at the Light Foundation. We revel in the fact that 2021 brought with it the chance to make a difference in the lives of nearly 8,000 individuals who came through our Chenoweth Trails facility in Ohio or attended one of our many youth-based leadership programs, but it’s time to turn the page now and start fresh. There’s so much work to be done and we’re already getting down to business.
2022 will foster many opportunities for our stellar team of committed staff, volunteers and Light Foundation ambassadors to expand our reach. This Spring will see the return of our annual Ohio Youth Turkey Hunt and the second year of our highly successful Rhode Island Youth Turkey Hunt.
A few months down the road, we’ll also welcome back area high school sophomores, juniors and seniors to our annual Light Foundation Leadership Conference at Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, for the first time in two years. We’re thrilled to be able to work with a new generation of young people to build the critical skills they’ll need as they take the next step on their leadership journey.
We’ll also launch a brand-new offering later in the year called “Hooked on Fishing.” It’s the former flagship program for a Darke County, Ohio, nonprofit founded by community leaders John Winger and Donnie Drew Sr. to teach future generations the fundamentals of fishing. As we take over the program and build on the legacy that John and Donnie started, we’ll provide the youth we serve with another unique opportunity to instill in them a passion for the outdoors. Ideally, they’ll get “Hooked on Fishing,” as opposed to all of the other negative distractions they’re exposed to in today’s world. As an added bonus, we’ll work with high school mentors to lead the program along with our team and gracious volunteers. We will offer them another chance to earn recognition and certification from our Leadership Academy.
As we head into summer, we’ll host three other impactful programs – our Matt Light All Conference Football Camp, our Camp Vohokase Cultural Leadership Camp, and our Timber Frame Leadership Camp. The latter, an exclusive S.T.E.A.M.-based course that teaches leadership through the ancient art of timber-framing, will bring together a select group of prospective young builders who will spend three days at Chenoweth Trails taking a 3-D structure from concept to completion. Our own flagship program, Camp Vohokase, will assemble 16 young men from cities and towns across the country to learn lifelong skills that will help them be R.E.A.L (Responsible, Ethical, Accountable, Leaders). And finally, The Light Foundation’s much-anticipated football camp, run by our founder and 3x Super Bowl Champion Matt Light and other veteran coaches, will serve more than 250 young athletes from Ohio, Indiana and beyond.
We also have a full event schedule on the books that includes fundraisers like our 9th annual Fools’ Night Out, our 2nd annual Corporate Training Day, and our 18th annual Matt Light Celebrity Shoot-Out here in New England, and our 9th Gauntlet Trail Run and 3rd annual Winter Wonderland back in Ohio. So many of our events continue to grow in scope and size, and their longevity and success are a testament to the incredible supporters we are lucky enough to call our own.
To say that we’ll be busy in 2022 is likely understating the obvious. That said, we love what we do, and we’ll continue to strive to make a lasting impact in the lives of the young people we serve, mentor them through unique programming offerings, and build leaders who will pay forward the lessons we’ve taught them in their own families and communities. That’s what “normal” looks like to us, and we’re already pushing forward, full steam ahead!