How We Got Started

Our founder, Bekah TenBrink, and her husband Gerald moved to Suttons Bay in 2014, after traveling the US with their pup Lilley. Without knowing a single soul, Gerald saw some teens playing ice hockey at the local rink down the road from their house. As a hockey player himself, he decided to gear up and ask if they needed an extra player. After a few hours on the ice, he asked the teens what kinds of things they did for fun. “This is a small town, dude. There isn’t much to do,” was the response he got. Gerald invited the hockey players back to his house for some pizza and NFL drafting. To Bekah's surprise, she greeted five sweaty and hungry teens and heated up the oven for some pizza. Before long, these give teens brought friends each weekend and the TenBrink household filled up. It became the house for movie nights, game nights, and bonfires. The gathering place.

After having a son of their own, hosting in their home became less realistic. However, the need for a safe, fun environment for the youth community was still a great. LIFT was born out of that need, and has morphed into the dynamic programming it is today through community support, committed volunteers and staff, and guidance from the teens' needs.