For nearly three years, Chief Matt Dight has been a fixture in the Cherokee cottage at White Oak. He has helped mold this group into a well-organized and structured cottage that many people desire to be a part of. Matt has a strong work ethic and goes out of his way to take care of the needs to the children that he works with. He shows that “feelings should be nurtured” and “trust is essential”. Matt is a flexible staff member who always puts the needs to the children before his own. Matt has become a well-recognized staff across campus as he frequently steps up to help campus in difficult times to respond to crises or arrive on his days off do whatever it takes for kids to thrive without question. He is comfortable in crisis situations and when dealing with them he is empathetic, validates feelings and supports them through the crisis at hand. Matt maintains a calm demeanor even when he is upset which helps to calm down and maintain group and children even in the most hectic/chaotic situations. Many of the kids that Chief Matt works with feel as if he has their best interest at heart and they are comfortable coming to him when they are upset as they know that he will deal with their problems in a tactful and respectful manner.
Matt considers himself to be a “Country Boy”. He is an avid hunter, fisher and nature enthusiast. He volunteers for every camping trip and loves to teach and educate the kids that he works with about the outdoors. Matt is a firm believer in the old Chinese Proverb “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. Matt utilizes teachable moments to show kids how to fish, tie lures and survive in nature. Matt feels that he does his best work in an outdoor environment and enjoys having his kids outdoors as a way to maintain and keep order with them. Matt constantly talks about the healing effects of nature and would keep the kids outside and on camping trips every day if he could as he has found that these experiences help lead to success with the kids as well as lifelong experiences that they will share with others for a lifetime.