GREENVILLE, Ohio…The Light Foundation, a nonprofit founded in 2001 by three-time Super Bowl Champion and former New England Patriot Matt Light and his wife Susie, will welcome four new campers this weekend to Camp Vohokase, its outdoor leadership camp. The 5-day outing will be held July 12th through July 17th, 2020, on the Foundation’s 500-plus acre facility, Chenoweth Trails, in Greenville, Ohio.
Camp Vohokase is the Light Foundation’s flagship youth program, a four-year summer camp which takes 16 boys from key cities and towns across the country and brings them to Chenoweth Trails, a 500-acre plot of land located on the outskirts of Ohio’s Darke County, where Light grew up. Camp Vohokase was designed to help teenage boys become R.E.A.L. (Responsible, Ethical, Accountable, and Leaders) by challenging them with team building activities, participation in community service projects, career educational tours, and a conservation-based project that enhances the facility each summer.
The Light Foundation team guides these young men throughout their entire high school career, following them and providing resources year-round. Upon completion of the program, they graduate with the lessons they have learned and the skills they’ve acquired to carry on the torch of leadership within their own communities. This year, the new group of campers are from Darke County, Ohio – Dakota from Arcanum, Chastan from Mississinawa, Gage from Franklin Monroe, and Ethan from Greenville. The usual 10-day program was modified this year to a 5-day one due to the phased reopening of facilities during the pandemic.
“We’re incredibly excited to welcome four young men from across Darke County,” notes Light. “They obviously have a strong connection to the area, and we look forward to teaching them more about the incredible people, community members, and resources that make our program unique. I know they’ll fit right in with their fellow campers, who will be happy to show them the ropes,” he adds.
The other young men in the program hail from Washington, D.C.; Hammond, Indiana, and graduating this year are three campers from Gloucester, Massachusetts. Other communities involved in Camp Vohokase over the years include New Orleans, Louisiana; Nashville, Tennessee; Woonsocket, Rhode Island; West Lafayette, Indiana; and both Worcester and New Bedford, Massachusetts. Each location has a connection to Light and his family.
While at Camp, the boys are exposed to outdoor pursuits they likely don’t have a chance to access in their hometowns – like hunting, fishing, archery, paintball, dirt bike riding and ropes courses. They also participate in daily group workouts, team-building activities, and nightly “fireside chats,” to discuss expectations for the summer, short and long-term goals, and issues they may be struggling with in their daily lives.
This year, they will be doing landscaping for a municipal building as part of their community service, and they will visit three local farms to learn more about careers in agriculture and food sourcing. Their onsite project will be to help construct the foundation for a new treehouse on the grounds of Chenoweth Trails.
“We continually work hard to make camp a fun, educational experience. We teach these young men that they’re capable of anything with hard word and determination,” says Light. “Although they come from different backgrounds, they soon realize that their journeys are very similar — whether dealing with family issues or peer pressure.
They come to find common ground, to understand that they aren’t alone, and that others are facing similar challenges,” he adds. “Witnessing their transformation into leaders and seeing them help others along the way means we’ve done our job – and that’s a really rewarding feeling.”
Light’s plan for Chenoweth Trails continues to evolve. What began as a few tents in the woods has become a 500-acre facility with yurts, a cooking area, pavilion, a turf field, gaga pit, rock balancing, trails, team building elements, amphitheater, and a newly constructed welcome center. Any additional donations or facility fees directly help Light continue his expansion goals. In 2019, more than 7,500 people visited the facility for a variety of different programs and initiatives.
For the Light Foundation, making a difference is what it’s all about. “At a time when young people really need support, direction, and positive role models, we want to be a beacon for them,” Light says, “to strive work hard, put their best foot forward, and become champions in the game of life.”
For more information about the Light Foundation, please contact April Brubaker or Brian Rehmert at 937-316-6352.
About the Light Foundation:
The Light Foundation (www.mattlight72.com) was established in 2001 by three-time Super Bowl Champion and three-time Pro-Bowler Matt Light, and his wife, Susie.
The Light Foundation strives to instill and augment the values of responsibility, accountability, and hard work by providing youth with unique outdoor learning experiences that assist them in reaching their highest potential.
Its goal is to lead young people down a path to becoming responsible members of their communities who can pass on the torch of leadership and achievement to their friends and families.
Light was drafted in 2001 out of Purdue University, and was the anchor for the Patriots offensive line for more than a decade, before retiring in 2012. He received the third New England Patriots Ron Burton Community Service Award in 2005, and in 2008, was presented the President’s Volunteer Service Award for his outstanding work in the community by the Bush administration.
In 2012, Light was named Pop Warner’s Humanitarian of the Year, in 2014, was honored with All Sports United’s Humanitarian Award, and in 2015 received the Man of the Year award from the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s New England chapter.
In 2018, Light was named to the Boston Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” list, and in 2019, was also named to the publication’s “Power 50” lineup. Matt Light was also inducted into to the New England Patriots Hall of Fame in 2018. Since its inception in 2001, the Light Foundation has raised more than $7 million for various programs and initiatives.