GREENVILLE, OH — The Light Foundation is beginning to burst with holiday excitement! The Darke County-based nonprofit is preparing for its second annual Winter Wonderland at Chenoweth Trails, which will take place from December 10th to the 12th. It will be a weekend filled with fun for all as the team there prepares an amazing custom light display at its facility in Greenville. The weekend-long event is free to attend, but donations are encouraged to help the Foundation continue its mission of taking young people out of their everyday environments and providing them with unique opportunities that ignite their passion, purpose, and motivation to succeed.
The nonprofit, founded by former NFL Super Bowl champion Matt Light and his wife Susie, hosted the event for the first-time last year after being gifted nearly 200 six-foot pre-lit artificial trees from Lowe’s Home Improvement for a holiday-themed corporate initiative. The Foundation turned the opportunity into a very well-attended event in 2021, and after seeing the faces of kids light up and old friends mingling, the Lights knew they would have to make Winter Wonderland an annual offering.
“Winter Wonderland at Chenoweth Trails was a huge success last year, but we always think to ourselves…how can we build on a great idea?,” says Matt Light. “So, this year, we’ve decided to expand the light show to our timber frame constructed tree house that sits 16 feet in the air and our newly constructed 40-foot-long covered bridge. It’s going to be magical!”
The tree house was built during the Light Foundation’s Timber Frame Leadership Camp in 2020 and the covered bridge was built this past summer during the 2021 program.
“Our Corporate Partner, Lowe’s, has been instrumental in the Foundation’s growth this year. In addition to donating all the trees, they’ve also supported us with grant funds, a slew of tools, and even a crew to help assemble the covered bridge during our annual Timber Frame Leadership Camp,” states Light. “We are so grateful for their support in every way.”
The Light Foundation’s Winter Wonderland at Chenoweth Trails fundraising event will run three nights: Friday, Dec. 10, from 6 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 11, from 6 to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 12, from 6 to 9 p.m. There is no RSVP needed and only a small donation is recommended to enter the dazzling holiday-themed display.
“With the donation, guests will be able to enjoy a memorable outdoor walk through sparkling holiday lights, a life-size nativity scene, a craft, a chance to win prizes, and some refreshments, including, hot cocoa and s’mores over a hot fire!” notes Program Director, April Brubaker. “Kids will also be able to bring a letter for Santa to drop in a special North Pole express mailbox handcrafted by some special elves.” She says this event will also serve as a monthly Family Fun Day for all LIGHT Project participants who are able to attend.
“We are most excited about the “Adopt-a-Tree display!” adds Marketing Assistant, Brandi Spille. “For a sponsorship fee of as little as $50, local businesses, families, schools, and organizations will be able to decorate a tree that we provide them with for the weekend. It’s a great opportunity for them to spread the word about their business or passion while doing something fun and impactful for their community. And we love competition around here,” she jokes, “so attendees will have a chance to vote on their favorite decorated tree -- and the sponsor with the most votes will receive a custom-built trophy made by Glenn Rehmert.”
The Light Foundation is also giving away six-foot artificial pre-lit trees to the first ten people each night that come to the event and donate $50 or more at the entrance and to five lucky winners each night that vote on their favorite “Adopt-a-Tree.”
The funds raised at the Winter Wonderland event will go directly to the Light Foundation to help the nonprofit carry out its hands-on, outdoor programs that include Camp Vohokase, Matt Light Youth Football Camp, Timber Frame Leadership Camp, the LIGHT Project, and a Youth Wild Turkey Hunt for area youth.
“With all of the uncertainty in the world right now, young people need guidance and mentorship more than ever,” concludes Brubaker. “Being able to offer our community at large the chance to give back, celebrate the holidays, and provide opportunities for our youth to advance on their leadership journey perfectly represents the spirit of the season.”
If you are interested in volunteering at the event, baking cookies, or donating please call 937-316-6352 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The location of the event is at Chenoweth Trails, 440 Greenville Nashville Road, Greenville, OH 45331.
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 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.