GREENVILLE — The Light Foundation, co-founded by three-time Super Bowl champion Matt Light and his wife Susie, is preparing for its fourth annual Timber Frame Leadership Camp at Chenoweth Trails from July 17 to 20, in partnership with Generation T, powered by Lowe’s.
This year, 17 young people will learn STEAM skills (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) as they work together to construct a 56-foot bell tower at the entrance to Chenoweth Trails, the Foundation’s 500-acre facility in Light’s hometown of Greenville, Ohio. They will convene for a three-day overnight program designed for those interested in acquiring hands-on trade skills, learning about the ancient art of timber framing, and gaining critical leadership experience along the way.
As part of its commitment to supporting skilled trades education, Lowe’s is sponsoring this year’s camp for the second consecutive year and will have Lowe’s store associate volunteers on hand to assist with the build. Past camps have seen the construction of a storage shed, elevated treehouse, and a 40-foot covered bridge. But this year, Light chose the bell tower project to represent the most visible structure on the property.
“We will utilize the bell in our programming as a way to ‘ring in’ a special moment at one of our youth programs, as well as a unique way to honor an individual’s accomplishment. We will also use the bell as an incentive or to start an event,” adds Light. “One thing we won’t do is allow the bell to be rung without somehow first earning the right to do so.”
He says the bell will stand a little over 50 feet tall and be comprised of four major sections: the base, house, belfry, and spire. It will also feature a walkway around the house portion that will provide a magnificent view of camp and the fields to the south.
Light discovered the antique bell in an old timber frame structured bank barn south of Palestine, Ohio. He knew this piece of history needed to have a home that would withstand the test of time and brought it back to Chenoweth Trails to be restored in advance of this summer’s Timber Frame Leadership Camp.
“This historic bell was placed on a homestead a few miles away from its new location at Chenoweth Trails after being received by the owner from a church in the late 1800’s,” Light notes. “There’s a lot of history here and it’s great to be able to teach it to the young people attending this program.”
The project also marks the second collaboration between the Light Foundation and Lowe’s. Light is a member of the Lowe’s Home Team, a partnership between current and former NFL players and Lowe’s, dedicated to helping communities and encouraging DIYers to achieve their home improvement goals.
Last year’s bridge project was one of Lowe’s 100 Hometowns projects, a national community-based campaign created to celebrate the company’s centennial. Past and future timber frame projects will be accessed by the nearly 8,000 individuals who use the property annually through various programs and initiatives.
“I am grateful that Lowe’s is directly supporting our programming again. It’s a relationship that I don’t take for granted,” Light explained. “They understand how passionate we are about teaching young people useful skills like timber framing and construction, and we appreciate how they continually step up to help us make an impact. It’s bound to be a success when you work together with a dedicated group like theirs is!”
This year’s attendees come from all over the Miami Valley and as far as Massachusetts! The selected applicants for the fourth-annual program are: Josh Baker, Lexi Biddlestone, Braden Cockerham, Kale Delk, Christian Farmer, Tasya Felver, Lance Greer, Caleb Hartman, Mora Menzie, Izabella Painter, Luke Rammel, Tray Rammel, Dan Siefring, Kira Tharp, Copeland Woodall, Nate Wright, and Liam Jasenski.
There is also a wide array of timber frame instructors who volunteer their time for the three-day camp. Those include Caleb Miller, John Miller, Junior Raber, Logan Menuez, and Willow Hyde with JCM Timberworks along with Mike Christman, Terry Clark, Jim Poeppelman, Raymond Friend, Mitch McCabe, and Sofie Nieport who are all local craftsmen to Darke County, Ohio.
The Light Foundation’s mission is to take young people out of their everyday environments and provide them with unique opportunities that ignite their passion, purpose, and motivation to succeed. It would not be possible without the support from area businesses. The sponsors for the Timber Frame Leadership Camp are: Lowe’s, JCM Timberworks, Tuscarora Wood Midwest, Dr. C David Trimble, Kline Timber Company, Flaig Lumber Co., Ansonia Lumber, Kustom Woodworking & Cabinetry, Frank Miller Lumber, Friends of Ohio Barns, and Ark Reclaimed Wood.
Light is anxious to kick-off the build later this month, following a lot of hard work and preparation. “We’ll focus on building the base and house sections of the tower during camp, and it will be awesome to see it all come together,” he concludes. “It will be great to finally make this dream a reality.”
For more information about the Light Foundation or the Chenoweth Trails facility, visit their website: mattlight72.com or their social media channels: @lightfoundation.