By Drew Terhall
GREENVILLE — It was another successful youth camp for the Light Foundation this past week. From July 16-19, 21 kids from around the country participated in the fifth annual Timber Frame Leadership Camp at Chenoweth Trails.
Co-founder of the Light Foundation and three-time Super Bowl champion Matt Light said he wanted to go back to the basics for this year’s camp and have the kids make something they can take back with them. In years past, the campers would work on big monuments that would stay on the property. Last year, the camp built a three-story bell tower.
This time, the campers made sawhorses for themselves. Lights said the campers seemed excited to go through the process and take back something they made from scratch.
“Day one was all about learning the basics and how to approach the project. Day two, they started cutting. Here on day three, they’re finishing up what was actually a lot more work than I think a lot of us thought. They’re seeing their project come together and they’re kind of works of art,” Light said.
The campers also ventured out and visited different places around the area to see first hand carpentry in action.
They took a trip to Historic Bear’s Mills and got to see a timber frame come to life when the mill was activated. The campers also went to Frank Miller Lumber and saw how they operated. Light also took them on a barn tour on a barn he is reclaiming in Maria Stein. The campers got to hear the history of the barn and the different uses it served.
On top of all of that, they also listened to guest speakers throughout the camp. Aside from just sponsoring the camp, the local businesses and local people took time to educate the campers and be a big part of their camp.
“It’s always the people. It’s the instructors, the helpers, our assistants, counselors, cooks and business leaders that invite us into their area. That’s what makes this special,” Light said.
The campers put their heads down and went to work during the three-day camp. But once the kids completed their tasks for the day and cleaned up, they got to enjoy some camp activities.
Late in the afternoon, the campers got to enjoy fishing, swimming and ended the night with a fireside talk and games. Light said they had a fireside chat about qualities employers look for in an employee and about the opportunities that are out there.
It’s also a chance for the kids to get to know each other. Kids from as far as New England attended the camp.
“They put in a ton of work when they’re in the shop. But when they’re outside the shop, they get to have a lot of fun. If your kid, that’s what you live for. You want to have fun,” Light said. “They get to meet kids from other walks of life, from other parts of the country. They get to do something that not everybody gets to do. It’s not on a device, there’s no app for this. You have to actually put some effort and some time in.”
A lot of people had a hand in making this camp happen. From the sponsors to the volunteers who dedicated time to help the camp, it took everyone to make this camp a reality. Light said he is thankful for the support the foundation receives to have this camp every year.
“We’re very blessed, we got a lot of support. Things like this don’t just happen, it takes awesome people. We got an awesome crew out here doing awesome things,” Light said.
Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]