Matt Light All-Conference Football Camp hosts 300 campers

You have a natural disaster, and you have to shuffle things, but Coach Shaffer has done an incredible job ... Matt Light

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Matt Light All-Conference Football Camp 2024 campers, staff and coaches. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

GREENVILLE – The free annual Matt Light All-Conference Football Camp continues to max out almost immediately, with 250 campers registering along with 50 Light Leaders and an impressive large coaching staff lineup.

“Thirty years ago, Larry Masters had a dream and a vision to do something for this community to keep the sport of football alive,” said Matt Light. “Here we are, the recipients of all his hard work.”

Matt Light (L) gives closing comments to Matt Light All-Conference Football Camp campers while camp director Aaron Shaffer (R) looks on. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

A Greenville Senior High School graduate, Matt Light spent his entire 11-year career pro career (2002-2011) with the New England Patriots. He played a major role in leading the Patriots to 11 consecutive winning seasons, including nine division championships, five conference titles, and three Super Bowl titles.

The former Patriots offensive lineman, a three-time Pro Bowler and three-time Super Bowl champion, was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2018.

Greenville City Schools’ athletic director, Aaron Shaffer, directs the camp with assistance from the Light Foundation staff.

Light and Shaffer were football teammates playing for the Greenville Green Wave. Light went on to play for the Purdue Boilermakers and the Patriots, while Coach Shaffer was an All-American who played for the Wittenberg University Tigers football program.

Light Bowl 2024 Championship team and coaches. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

“It starts with Matt’s group, with Brandy, Troy, Brian, and Matt helping,” said Shaffer. “They’re great about getting all of the behind-the-scenes things done, the sponsorships and some of the organizational things and the supplies here. From my perspective, I get the coaches out here and help organize our group teams, but we’re blessed to have a great group of people willing to come out and give their time for the kids interested in being a part of this camp.”

“We have a wide array of coaches. We get guys like Ryan Jones from Versailles, who is a state champion coach, Matt Macy, Adam Hall, TJ Powers, Sean Ford, and many more. We have some young guys who are just getting their feet wet in the coaching world and are jumping on board, and we love having those guys. It’s good to get them around some older experienced guys they can talk to.”

Butch Caldwell, Iowa Hawkeyes starting quarterback (1972, 1973, 1975, 1976) coaches Matt Light All-Conference campers on passing techniques. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

“We have a couple of college kids who have their summer workouts and all that is going on, but they’re out here giving their time back with AJ Shaffer at Marion University and Brock Short at Indiana Wesleyan University, two Greenville kids coming back that were at one time campers in this camp,” Shaffer added. “We have guys like Butch Caldwell (Iowa Hawkeyes quarterback) who have been here forever, so our coaching staff for a free camp that serves 250 campers and 50 Light Leaders – our coaching staff is second to none.”

The 2024 edition of the local football camp had to be moved from the artificial turf at the Greenville football stadium to the natural turf at the Jennings Center Track and Field Complex due to the recent tornado that destroyed the stadium press box, lights, and turf field.

Matt Light All-Conference Football camper loses his hat making a reception. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

“It’s interesting – you have a natural disaster, and you have to shuffle things, but Coach Shaffer has done an incredible job,” Light stated. “He’s tasked with a lot as the athletic director, and to be able to continue to host this camp, this is year 30, and he knew how important it was – is it going to tear up his field he is probably going to end up playing on – yes, but it was interesting listening to him talk to these coaches. He said we’ve been doing this for a long time. Just move your drills around a little bit if we have to, but we’re not, not going to do what we do for these kids in this community, and I thought that is a testament to what Larry Masters started.”

“It’s very hot, we’re on a different surface, but people pull together to do extraordinary things,” Light continued. “That is what this camp represents for me – all these coaches that come in from all over to spend time with these young kids. These kids are the beneficiaries, and seeing these parents come out and support this as well is pretty big.”

Campers battle for the ball at Matt Light All-Conference Football camp. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

“It’s hot, but we are taking all precautions we can,” said Brandy Turner, Light Foundation Program and Marketing Manager. “We loaded up on water, and then WIN Nutrition donated their refresher this year, so we had those each morning and throughout the day as well.”

Light took a moment to talk about the Light Foundation.

“This foundation has never had a first name put on it,” Light said. “It’s the Light Foundation. If you never knew anyone with the last name Light, you could maybe come up with a few ideas on why Light would be part of a foundation. It’s what we wake up to every day; it’s what sheds light on things in our world, and for me, the Light Foundation represents countless individuals, family members, friends, our staff, supporters, and people who have jumped alongside a vision and then they’ve run with it.”

Matt Light All-Conference camper makes a move for a gain in Light Bowl matchup. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

“We’ve been able to run with great ideas that center around spending time with young people and doing the next right thing,” Light added. It’s been a lot of fun, many years of watching kids have a great time.”

Light is appreciative and thankful not only for his staff, Coach Shaffer, and the entire coaching staff but also for the many sponsors who helped make the camp a huge success.

A camper makes a reception in Light Bowl game. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

“Our sponsors are incredible,” Light noted. “We have banners up around here, we have people who have stepped up in major ways, and there are other people who support what they can in kind. It is important that you look at the people who really support and not just this camp but go around town and look at the number of different activities there are for this community, look for the people who support it, and that’s what makes this place special.”

Matt Light All-Conference Football Camp sponsors. (Gaylen Blosser photo)