Nearly 400 community leaders, including students and teachers, came together in celebration of community at the Lighthouse Project’s Vision 2009 Community Summit at the Performing Arts Center last night. The focus of the evening was “Ohana”–which is Hawaiian for family, or extended family–a term introduced to our common vernacular when Kauai-based Tyler Durman spoke to Big Bear High School students at last year’s rededication of “Our House.” The Lighthouse Project brought Durman back to Big Bear to serve as the keynote speaker during the Lighthouse Summit, which honored our children and inspired those in attendance, including representatives from over 20 local, child-honoring agencies who participated in a post-summit trade show. Opening remarks at last night’s ceremony included those from San Bernardino County Supervisor Neil Derry and Big Bear Lake Mayor Rick Herrick, who challenged attendees to “get involved, honor our children, and be a great example.” Highlights of the evening included an onstage hula to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by 30 or so little girls, a videotaped message from Ryan Hall, and Durman’s rousing speech on “Ohana.” Olympian Hall, who refered to himself as “a proud supporter of the Lighthouse Project and a recipient of so much love,” thanked the community, saying, “One of my most special memories from the Olympics was the send-off party you gave me. That transformed my life.” Hall’s father, Mickey, was honored as one of Big Bear’s special lighthouses, given accomplishments of the BBHS Cross-County Team since established by Coach Hall in 1999—among those honors are three CIF championships, three state championships, eight league titles and 99 straight league wins. When Durman took to the stage at the PAC, he kicked off his shoes, gave a shout-out to his friends from the high school ASB and noted, “There’s obviously so much going right in this community. It is so unique in my experience.” Durman, who is also an author and former high school teacher, reminded parents in the audience to say “I’m proud of you” to their children. “Life is for love,” he went on, “that’s what Ohana is all about. It’s usually the littlest things in life that make the biggest difference—and that’s why we need you to get involved. It all comes down to the small things. The question is this: Are we living as though what we say matters really does?” Lighthouse Director Beth Gardner added, “What we can do is give a little bit more of our time, and a little bit more of our love.” Some of those opportunities will come when, in 2009, the Lighthouse Project hosts Run Ryan’s Run (around Big Bear Lake) on May 16 and tree planting in burned areas through Forest Aid.
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