Bradford students roast marshmallows at Light Foundation Summer Smiles program

Summer Smiles End of the Year Celebration at Chenoweth Trail

Light Foundation hosts 50 Bradford students at the Summer Smiles program

The Light Foundation hosted 50 students at the Summer Smiles program which is a free summer lunch program available for the youth of the Bradford Community.

When Program Director April Brubaker heard what her fellow classmate Dottie Carder and a group of volunteers from Bradford community members were doing for the community of Bradford she was all about jumping on board.

Realizing her busy Light Foundation schedule during the summer did not give ample opportunity to participate during the day for daily lunch at the Community Club, her brain instantly went to an end of the summer celebration at Chenoweth Trails.

Helping host the event from the Light Foundation was Brandon Ervin, Camp Vohokase Director who led the archery activity, Brandi Spille, Admin Assistant & Social Media Specialist who led the hike in the woods and rock balancing activity and April Brubaker, Program Director who led Gaga Ball and additional activities.

“We rotated stations in the morning with the assistance of volunteers and served lunch to the youth and grounds and maintenance crew from the Light Foundation in appreciation of the work they do to keep this place in tip top shape,” said Brubaker. “After lunch we headed to the pond for an adventure with volunteer and long-time friend of the foundation’s, Bufford (AKA Dwight Edwards).”

“The fishing was Hit,” continued Brubaker. “Anytime you have Bufford involved with the youth it’s an additional bonus, he just has a way with kids. I didn’t hear him tell the kids that its good luck to put a fish in your pocket, but he probably did, so parents don’t be surprised in you find a fish in your laundry.”

Five volunteers from the Summer Smiles program, Evie Hudelson, Abby Hopkins, Jim Tyson, Natalie Royer, and ringleader, Dottie Carder helped make the day’s event a big success.

“We had a wonderful time at Chenoweth Trails,” Hudelson stated. “The volunteers and youth had a great time. The youth’s favorite activities were fishing and archery. By far that’s all you heard about on the bus ride back to town.”

“It was great to see these kids enjoying nature and to see and hear all the great things the Light Foundation has to offer the youth of Darke County through their youth programs,” Hudelson added. “We had several kids show interest in participating in the Light Project, Turkey Hunt, and Timber Frame Camp next year and some who have participated in the Matt Light All Conference Football Camp in the past.”

“We can’t wait to bring the group back next year,” said Carder. “The youth are already making plans and have stressed that next year they want to swim and kayak at the pond but that’s going to take some volunteer lifeguards.”

“It was a pleasure to partner with another like-minded nonprofit organization in our community who is making a positive impact on the young leaders of our future,” stated the foundation’s director. “Usually when groups utilize the Chenoweth Trails facility through our Chenoweth Outreach program they facilitate their own activities for their stay.”

“We do enjoy hosting on occasion and feel it is a way for our employees to give back and see firsthand just how the great outdoors impacts the youth of our community,” Brubaker concluded.

To learn more about the Light Foundation please visit their website at www.mattlight72.com and follow them on social media.

Those interested in donating to the Summer Smiles program may send a check to 504 Patty Drive, Bradford, Ohio, payable to Summer Smiles or make food donations next summer. For additional information about the Summer Smiles program please call Dottie Carder at (937) 418-3833. Plans are underway for next year.

Light Foundation and Bradford staff help with Light Foundation Summer Smiles program. (L-R) Evie Hudelson, April Brubaker and Dottie Carder. (Front) Harper Moore.
Bradford students learn archery at the Light Foundation Summer Smiles program.
Light Foundation Administrative Assistant, Brandi Spille helps Bradford student at Summer Smiles program.
A young Bradford student plays dodge ball at Light Foundation Summer Smiles program.
April Brubaker, Light Foundation Program Director looks on as a Bradford student takes a turn at archery at the Light Foundation Summer Smiles program.
Darke County Now Editor Gaylen Blosser

Gaylen Blosser / Publisher

Gaylen Blosser is a sports enthusiast and has covered high school sports for nearly 20 years in Southwest Ohio. Gaylen has been a media sportswriter while most recently serving as Sports Editor for the local newspaper and will now serve as editor of Darke County Now while continuing to cover athletics. Gaylen is an accomplished photographer who has captured thousands of athletes in action over the years and is the recipient of the OHSAA Friends of Athletes Award and OHSAA Respect the Game State Award. Contact Darke County Now Editor Gaylen Blosser at gblosser@darkecountynow.com or 937-459-9547.

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