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Enhancing the lives of adults with developmental disabilities through recreation, socialization and life skills education.


Plenty Of Smiles And Fun Fill Sunny Day Of Camp Camp Blue Skies hosted a day of fun Nov. 13 at YMCA Camp Thunderbird for many of the campers who missed NC Session 1. Due to wind and rain from Hurricane Joaquin, the Oct. 3-7 camp was cancelled for the safety of our campers, volunteers and staff. “That was

one of the hardest decisions we’ve ever had to make,” said founder Dick Sesler. With the help of board member and avid supporter Andy Kane and incredible teamwork, 31 campers were able to enjoy “camp for a day” close to Charlotte. Plus, several long-time

volunteers and program instructors joined us. “We really tried to squeeze in as much fun as we could with a nature walk, a drum circle, Balance Your Body class, arts & crafts and, of course, dancing to ‘The World’s Greatest,’” Dick said.

Core Team Gets Job Done With Heart,Vision Message from Dick Sesler Camp Blue Skies is fortunate to have a core team of four individuals who took a risk on an unproven idea and made it happen. Without Volunteer Director Alison Barry, Assistant Camp Director Rebecca Hilinski, Program Director Liz Rumbaugh and Health Services Director Kit Sluder, Camp Blue Skies would not be what it is today. Every successful enterprise has a core group who “makes stuff happen” smoothly, efficiently and thoughtfully. Ours stays focused on our mission and puts campers and their caregivers first.

My colleagues are creative, curious and flexible. If there’s an opportunity or a challenge, they work as a unit and get the job done. I often hear “I’m on it,” “I’ll do that,” or “It’s taken care of.” They are truly a dream team. Over Dick Sesler with our Core Team (from left): Volunteer the years while our Camp Blue Skies Director Alison Barry, Health Services Director family has expanded, the core team Kit Sluder, Program Director Liz Rumbaugh and has remained steadfast and true. And Assistant Camp Director Rebecca Hilinski. they make it look easy… living in different cities, working from home, with a Thank you, Kit, Liz, Rebecca and Alison for dedication and work ethic I respect and all that you do. admire.

 Engage, Encourage, Enjoy!

Brooks Runkle catches a big one during Hooked On Camp 2015.

Hoops for Camp 2016 Scores Challenge Grant How can you help The Leon Levine Foundation give Camp Blue Skies $10,000 in 2016? Field a team or complete a bracket in our Hoops For Camp NCAA Bracket Challenge.

Hooked On Camp 2015 Tops the Scales Twenty anglers caught over 200 fish during the 2015 Hooked On Camp Fishing Derby in September on YMCA Camp Harrison’s Lake Broyhill. The annual fundraiser generated more than $23,000 for the Camp Blue Skies Foundation. Big thanks to everyone who made the 2015 Hooked On Camp Fishing Derby such a success: Derby Sponsor – Dynamic Health and Pain Management, Dr. Peter and Heidi Cox; Largemouth Bass Sponsor – Curtis Johnson; Bluegill Sponsor – REDLINE Design Group, Brooks Runkle; Derby Captain – Gene Vaughan; Corporate Sponsors – Bonitz Flooring Group, Dragonfly Studios, Harker Doerre, and Poly-Tech Industrial; Individual Sponsors – Jon Beall, John & Coletta Lenhart, and Tom & Chris O’Boyle; In-Kind Donors – Bass Pro Shops, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Great Outdoor Provision Company, Mark Santo Photography, T-N-T BBQ, YMCA Camp Harrison; and the 10 fishing guides who generously donated their time, boats and expertise.

2016 Hooked on Camp Fishing Derby Sept. 29-30, 2016 (Thursday-Friday)

Want to cast your line with us in 2016? SAVE THE DATE: Sept. 29-30 and email for information on boat sponsorships and angler registration.

For the fifth year, Hoops For Camp combines the joy of giving – just a $10 minimum donation – with friendly competition during March Madness. The Leon Levine Foundation will match all new, lapsed and increased gifts up to $10,000.  Get in on the action! Field a team of your friends and expand your impact on Camp Blue Skies! Email for more information on how to get started.

WEARING THEIR LOVE OF CAMP BLUE SKIES Abbey LaMee and Madison Monk, Recreational Therapy students at Georgia Southern University, both agree their first experience as volunteers was life changing. “Camp Blue Skies felt like home to me,” said Madison. “I've always been a very shy person but being around the amazing individuals I worked with that week really pushed me out of my comfort zone and taught me it's okay to be goofy and to be yourself.” They wanted to do something to remind them of their time with the World’s Greatest. For years, folks have joked about getting a Camp Blue Skies tattoo of some type.


Abbey LaMee and Madison Monk with their Camp Blue Skies tattoos.

Over the summer, they both got tattoos of our logo near their ankles. Abbey shared hers on Instagram. “When I’m not having a great day, it’s a little piece of sunshine,” says Abbey. “It makes me remember that I have so much to be thankful for and to look back and smile.” In December, when Abbey celebrated her birthday, she asked family and friends to make donations to Camp Blue Skies instead of buying her gifts. “I couldn’t think of anything I wanted more than for more campers to enjoy Camp Blue Skies.”

Circle of Love - Our Volunteers Our Circle of Love comprises the dedicated persons who have recently given their time, love and support - all priceless gifts. CBS-NC 2 Zachary Allen Beth Bacon Brittany Balduf Josh Bishop Greg Blinn Katie Brooks Joshua Brown John Bullins Russ Case Dede Caughman Patti Collins Mike Coulter Millie Cox Tom Cox Michelle DeGeeter John Detwiler Tammie Dischner Fe Egas Rebecca English Neville Fearing Alexa Ferrie Amy Firth Adam Fishman Anna Fong Jo Fox Alice Gavigan Tom Gavigan Tammy Goodman Brent Gribble Jim Guimond Becky Harris Nicole Howie Scott Hundertmark Paul Ingle Tomekia Johnson-Faulkner Jackie Keeter Jessie Lehmann John Lenhart

April Lewis Evan Moffitt Darren Monsanto Becky Moore Emily Moore Cindy Pagano Aubrey Parker Emily Peedin Allison Presnell Myia Ragland Debby Rea Michael Robinson Shari Rognstad James Rumbaugh Kim Sauls Jeremy Smith Andy Spafford Christie Sproles Wayne St. Aubin Dan Sturzenbecker Sandy Tackett Shawn Taylor Kenny Turner Gene Vaughan Ashley Ward Bill Wood Yamo Yamanashi Mari Yuan Weimin Yuan CBS-NC Day Camp Rick Abrams Adria Appleby Jon Beall Joshua Brown Casey Carver Bryan Chambers Tom Cox Gail Dawkins

Brock Fankhauser Nicole Fankhauser Jim Guimond Steve Huntley Sean Illgen Bevin Jett Andy Kane Jessie Lehmann John Lenhart Amanda McCollister Tom O'Boyle Chris Pawlyk Cathy Phillips Dean Plunkert Myia Ragland Debby Rea Jeremy Smith Dan Sturzenbecker Chris Treadaway Kenny Turner Jacqueline Wabler Collin Wade Christy Wade CBS-Ohio Olumami Amaye Michelle Bagley Alton Ball Jackie Blake Jeff Blake Lauren Bluhm Chris Book Lori Bracale Marilyn Campbell Mike Coulter Eriq Curtis Sogbety Diomande Amber Dzodan Andrea Enterline

During NC Session 2, volunteers from Barry, Evans, Joseph & Snipes (BEJS) spent a day with our campers. From left: April Lewis, Tammy Goodman, Camp Blue Skies Volunteer Director Alison Barry, Camp Blue Skies Founder Dick Sesler, Kim Sauls, Jo Fox, Ashley Ward. BEJS, long-time supporters of Camp Blue Skies, are insurance specialists in Charlotte. BEJS President John Barry served on our board. Matt Fate William Fletcher Tim Flossie Jill Flossie-Ammerman Thad Franz Joyce Geary Susie Gafford Les Harmeyer Kim Hedrick Stephany Hepner Colleen Hindes Ashley Holcomb Jeff Hudson Catsy Johnston Anita Jones Michael Jones Bonnie Kirkpatrick Maria LaPoire Elizabeth Ledbetter Bennett Lowery Rob Lowery Caleb Lyman

Susan May Ric McConnell Cheryl Osborne Sally Rechner Ray Record Tim Rick Tobie Sasser Mindy Saunders Sabian Shedi Doug Sheffield Paige Sinclair Daniel Teynor Michael Tharp Marty Walker Carol Wallace Peggy Williams Michelle Witherspoon Bethany Woerth Greg Woerth

WEDDINGS, CAMP BLUE SKIES-STYLE When we found out some of our long-time volunteers and supporters were getting married, we couldn’t wait to have them renew their vows, Camp Blue Skies-style. At NC Session 2, we planned a “camp wedding” for Kenny Turner and Myia Ragland. Neither of them knew what we had up our sleeves. Liz Rumbaugh officiated as Kenny and Myia pledged, among other things, to always tell the other that they’re the World’s Greatest. During our Day Camp at Camp Thunderbird in November, Jon Beall got a camp wedding ceremony too. Unfortunately, his bride Drew Leonard couldn’t make it to camp so Dick Sesler stood in for Drew while Kit, Alison and Rebecca served as bridesmaids! Videos of both ceremonies are on Facebook (

Thank You to Our Recent Donors Many thanks to all organizations and individuals who provide financial and in kind support for the work of Camp Blue Skies. This list reflects donations from June 16, 2015, through Jan. 7, 2016. Blue Skies ($5,000+) Shippen and Bridget Browne Domtar Industries Dynamic Health and Pain Management The Leon Levine Foundation Art Lund Larry and Sharon Malcolmson Matesich Distributing Co. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company Zipliners ($1,000 - $4,999) Allstate Foundation Anonymous Dale and Janet Armstrong Darren and Kathryn Ash John and Anne Barry Mary Barry Kelly A. Bergstrom John and Mary Ann Boorn BB&T Mike Carroll Bobby C. Carver Dan Cedrone Chip and Darlene Conrad Cox and Company Dragonfly Studios Farmer's New World Life Insurance Tom and Gina Lawrence Pat and Anne Gallagher Riley and Alice Grier Harker Doerre LLC Richard Hyman Nora Jaffe Jeff and Karen Johnson Bill and Patti Kramer

David and Shannon McGahren Donald A. Miller Phil and Marianne Norwood Redline Design Group Simon and Nancy Rich Robert B. Taylor Foundation Stanley Russell Steve and Tobie Sasser Beverly and Ira J. Schulman Nelson Schwab III Carl and Linda Stude Ubuntu KDCE Foundation Jane Webb Wells Fargo Bank OH Foundation William H. Williamson, III Robert and Anne Zerbst Dude Ranchers ($500 - $999) Jill Ammerman Anonymous Buena Vista Lodge No. 21 Dede Caughman Jerry and Elizabeth Clark Community Foundation of Western North Carolina Charles Dannis Matthew and Lolly Dominski Doug Faris Charitable Fund Ronnie Fairclough Brian and Laurie Fitzpatrick James Freeman Shof Alison Scott Hundertmark Peter James John and Shelly Kacergis

Through its Hands & Feet Community Service Program, HF Financial collected photo booth props, bingo prizes, hand sanitizers, puzzles, coloring books, crayons, bandanas, Nerf footballs and Frisbees for sessions at YMCA Camp Harrison. WOW! Campers, volunteers and staff were thrilled with their generosity. Thanks to the HF Financial team, who are based in Charlotte and are a general agency of MassMutual.

Andrew Yavorski of The Leon Levine Foundation visited North Carolina Session 2 at YMCA Camp Harrison! The Leon Levine Foundation, based in Charlotte, generously supports programming for our North Carolina sessions. Andrew got to see firsthand our programs in action, have lunch and learn the steps to “World’s Greatest.” Joe and Jerri Kropp Liberty Mutual Bob and Jan McGrath Morgan Stanley Phillip and Sydney Nichols Don Pesta Eric Reed Ivon and Blair Rohrer John and Kathy Schreiber Trey and Marianna Sheridan Franklin F Spence Harry Swimmer Brent and Claire Trexler John Whitt Cabin Mates ($250 - $499) Larry and Tony Adcock Woody and Adria Appleby Bank of America Foundation Trey and Melissa Barry Russ and Bonnie Case Dave and Wendy Castagna Smithy and Monta Curry Jeffrey Echt Martha Enzmann Steve and Janice Ezzo John and Karen Faison Blake and Ashley Graeber Rick and Marsha Gross Carrie Guerrette Cory and Katherine Hohnbaum Andy and Florence Kane Cortland LaMee Fran Lucci Ken and Stacy Malcolmson Neill and Margaret McBryde Jeff and Deborah Mundy Bobby and Colby Murphy Pat Murphy Cristy Nine Jack and Deborah Shaw

Kirk and Liz Ward Andy Warnock Sarah Warren Wayne County Community Foundation Mike and Chris Wiggins Tommy and Velva Woollen Fletcher and Anne Wright Helping Hands (up to $249) Mike and Helen Ruth Almond American Adventure Inc. Anonymous Bruce and Alex Bacon Edward Basanese Kent and Maria-Jose Baum Jon and Brenda Beall Robbie Bernstein Peter Billington Sharon Jeanne Appleby Bolton Charles and Mary Bowman David and Trudy Brower Bryan Chambers Clifton and Deborah Pease David and Edith Collie Gertha Crumpler Bob and Sally Cunningham Betsy Daniels Ward and Kristy Davis Larry and Paula Delzell Paul C. Denckla Diamond Hill Capital Management, Inc Annie Dixon Melissa Evans Alexandra Falzon Sara Finan Susan Fisher Joe Fountain Henry and Molly Froelich Nick and Jo Anne Gaede Jim and Diane Geocaris Mary Gerakitis Andy Gitelson Brian and Tammy Goodman Steve and Nicole Goodwill Elizabeth Greenberg Brian Gribble Paul Haddock Kathryn Hammack Becky Harris

Domtar's generous donation to Camp Blue Skies-Ohio provided scholarships for campers and quality programming. A big bonus was the incredible enthusiasm of employees Scott Fletcher, Cheryl Osborne, Ray Record and Tim Rick who volunteered their time. They jumped in and fully engaged with the campers. Great examples are Ray and Tim, who signed up to volunteer Monday and Wednesday. They came back Tuesday after work because they missed the campers. On Thursday, Ray and Tim brought their families back for the final dance. Richard and Diane Henley Charles and Barbara Jones Chris Jones Robert Jones Phillip and Kenna Jordan KeyBanc Capital Markets Donna Knowlton Natalie LeBlanc Debra Leist John and Coletta Lenhart April Lewis Jayson Mamaclay Ned Martin Edward and Lynne McAdams Gary McAvoy Bill and Sally McNitt MaryLou Millhauser Bill and Amy Millikan Isabella Molinari Chase and Jennifer Monroe Sean Mullaney Hendrik and Brittany Nollens Tom and Amy Okel Katherine Owens Aubrey Leigh Parker Mary Pennington Kirsten Pittman

Nathan and Mary Rantala Don and Sara Regan Stephen H. Rhyne Kerry Rose Donna Scott Lawrence J. Short Joe and Janice Shrader Social Venture Partners Julian Spratt Lisa Smith Ten Eyck Scott and Louann Vaughn Carol Walker Liz Walker Mary Walker Larry Wallace Edie Waterer Sandy Weaver Michael Wellman Cami Winarchick Grant Winrich Robert Wise Eric Wolski Women's Service Club Stuart and Debbie Woodhouse Weimin and Mari Yuan Marilyn Zilka Daniel and Alicia Zink

After The Charlotte Observer published a story about Camp Blue Skies, an email arrived from the Southern Correctional Center in Troy with news of a donation from the Women’s Service Club. “It is an honor for the population to give back to such a great cause,” said Jamie Williams-Canty, a case manager. “The Women’s Service Club strives to give back to the community as much as possible.” Members of the club include (sitting, from left) Jackie Alexander, President; Mary Jackson, Vice President; (standing, from left) Sandra McMillian, Public Relations; April Barber, Treasurer; Sarah Chavis, Secretary; Carita Revels, Photo Chairman.

1101 Queens Road West Charlotte, NC 28207



KEY 2016 DATES Hoops For Camp: March 13 Georgia: March 14-18 Hooked On Camp: Sept. 29-30 NC Session 1: Oct. 1-5 NC Session 2: Oct. 8-12

CONTACT INFO 704-266-2267 •

Profile for Camp Blue Skies Foundation

Camp Blue Skies 2016 winter newsletter  

On The Ground is the bi-annual newsletter for Camp Blue Skies, a nonprofit providing traditional camp experience for adults with development...

Camp Blue Skies 2016 winter newsletter  

On The Ground is the bi-annual newsletter for Camp Blue Skies, a nonprofit providing traditional camp experience for adults with development...