GREENVILLE—The Light Foundation, founded by former New England Patriot and 3x Super Bowl Champion Matt Light and his wife Susie, recently announced the dates for its 2022 Matt Light All-Conference Football Camp.
The community-based program, now in its 29th year, will take place on Monday, June 20 and Tuesday, June 21, at Greenville’s Miami Valley Hospital North Stadium at Harmon Field. Three hundred-thirty youth, between the ages of seven to thirteen will be in attendance – the most ever in the history of the Camp.
In recent years, online registration has resulted in high demand for the program, with full capacity being reached in just under 24 hours. In order to be able to impact more players, the Foundation required more funding for expansion, so it applied for a grant through the Bill Belichick Foundation. After receiving notification that it was awarded the $10,000 stipend, the nonprofit’s team brainstormed some new and innovative ways to add eighty more youth to the Camp and provide a new level of leadership training in the process.
This year, 250 young players entering grades second through sixth will attend the Matt Light All-Conference Football Camp to enhance their skills and knowledge of the game. Eighty additional students, entering grades seventh and eighth, registered under the new mentor program, Light’s Leaders, for an opportunity to lead the younger generation under the guidance of experienced coaches.
“Not only is the number of young people impacted expanding, but so is our ability to mentor future leaders through our Leadership Academy, which is built into all of our youth programs we offer,” says Matt Light. “While the purpose of this camp is to help kids develop the fundamental skill of being a great football player through instruction, the objective is much greater. We offer the campers a variety of hands-on learning activities that support their social and emotional learning; build strong, good character; and equip them with the tools and skills needed to start their leadership journey and stay with them every step of the way.”
Aaron Shaffer, Greenville High School’s Athletic Director, and Head Coach of the Camp is excited about the enhancements to the program and its ability to grow young leaders who can pay their lessons forward. “Each attendee will walk away from the two-day program with a better understanding of pride, discipline, attitude, and team play – and Light’s Leaders will enjoy a unique opportunity to take on an even more challenging role.” He also thinks it’s pretty exciting for the campers to learn the sport at Matt Light’s old stomping grounds. “This is where Matt played during his youth, and it’s really inspiring for these young athletes.”
The camp is well known for the knowledgeable coaching staff, which is comprised of many high school coaches from the surrounding area, college coaches and former college and pro-players.
Schools represented at the camp will include Anna, Ansonia, Arcanum, Bradford, Brennan, Brookville, Columbus, Covington, Dayton Christian, Decolores Montessori, Eaton, Edgewood, Fort Recovery, Franklin Monroe, Greenville, Marion Local, Miami East, Minster, Mississinawa Valley, Monticello, National Trail, Newton, Northeastern, Preble Shawnee, Sidney, St. Christopher, Tippecanoe, Randolph Eastern, Tri-County North, Tri-Village, Troy, Troy Christian, Twin Valley South, Union City, Versailles, and West Carrollton.
“When Larry Masters started this tradition nearly three decades ago, he wanted to ensure it was free for the community, and the only way to do that was to get local businesses to financially support the annual Camp,” notes Light. “We’ve been blessed to have that same level of support all these years later. We remind the attendees and their families every year who our local supporters are and encourage them to patronize those businesses and thank them for underwriting this much-needed program.”
Financial support for the Matt Light All-Conference Football Camp had been provided by the following: Touchdown Sponsors: Bill Belichick Foundation, NFL Foundation, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, Miami County Foundation, and Greenville Moose Lodge #329. Next up are the First Down Sponsors: Wayne Health Sports, Wayne Healthcare, Greenville City Schools, Dr. Dave Trimble, Treaty City Industries, American Legion Post 140, Jafe Decorating Inc., Greenville National Banking Center, C.F. Poeppelman Inc. / PEPCON, and Dairy Queen. A nod of gratitude goes to the Second Down Sponsors: Bolyard Heating & Cooling, Flaig Lumber Co., Inc., Dave Knapp Ford Lincoln, Scott Family McDonalds, Hittle Buick GMC Inc., Mote & Associates Inc., Zechar Bailey Funeral Homes, Prosperity Promotions, and Park National Bank. The Third Down Sponsors stepped up to help, too. Thank you to: Gordon & DeSantis Orthodontics, LLC, Dr. Stephen R. Stentzel, D.D.S., Spirit EMS, Ansonia Lumber. Thank you to the Fourth Down Sponsors as well: Hamilton Auto Sales, G & G Floor Fashions, Greenville Federal, VPP, Double M Diner, and Studio 1 Hair Design.
Program Director April Brubaker has seen the Camp evolve over time and is especially excited to kick things off this year. “The four desired outcomes of our Leadership Academy are for the youth we serve to become more informed, more inspired, to build additional skills, and to believe in themselves,” she adds. “We put our mission into overdrive this year by adding more campers and the Light’s Leaders mentoring opportunity — and we can’t wait to see the impact it makes on these young lives!”
About the Light Foundation:
The Light Foundation (www.mattlight72.com) was established in 2001 by 3-time Super Bowl Champion and 3-time Pro-Bowler Matt Light. Matt was drafted in 2000 out of Purdue University and become the anchor for the Patriots Offensive Line until his retirement in 2012. 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. Matt Light 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, he won the Pop Warner Humanitarian Award, and in 2014, was selected by All Sports United as its Humanitarian of the Year. Since its inception in 2001, the Light Foundation has raised nearly $6 million for various programs and initiatives. For more information, please check out the Light Foundation’s social media pages at www.facebook.com/