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Our Mission: To offer camps to adults with developmental disabilities, enhancing their lives through recreation, socialization and life skills education.


THE TRUE BUILDING BLOCKS OF CAMP BLUE SKIES’ SUCCESS A note from founder Dick Sesler Friends. Partners. Connections. Those words represent a defining aspect of the continued growth of Camp Blue Skies. Along with a steadfast core team and hard work, our achievements are a result of human connections to volunteers, campers, parents/caregivers, organizations, colleges, foundations, and businesses. This newsletter is full of examples of the power of friendship. A few deserve special notice: Domtar returns as Camp Partner We were thrilled last year when Domtar became our first ever Camp Partner. A dozen employees volunteered and experienced firsthand the impact of their company’s donation. Domtar CEO/President John Williams also joined our Board of Directors. This year, the Fort Mill-based company will again sponsor a session of camp in North

Carolina. Not only does this make camp possible, Domtar employees get the opportunity to learn more about adults with developmental disabilities while providing more role models for our campers. Connections grow with Georgia colleges When we decided to offer a session for adults with Williams syndrome, we hoped to find educators and colleges as strong as Dr. Jerri Kropp and Dr. Brent Wolfe at Georgia Southern University and Dr. Trina von Waldner of the University of Georgia School of Pharmacy. We struck gold at Clemson University. Under the leadership of Dr. Gwynn Powell and doctorate student Lisa Olsen, Clemson students were critical to the successful launch of our Camp Blue Skies-Williams Syndrome. On Page 3, you’ll also read about the contributions of students from West Georgia Technical College’s nursing program and Mercer University College of Pharmacy.

Our supporters Along with dedicated volunteers and support from foundations and businesses, Camp Blue Skies relies on individuals who generously donate or participate in Hoops For Camp NCAA Bracket Challenge and Hooked On Camp Fishing Derby. The Blue Skies Boosters group in Charlotte added a Cornhole For Camp fundraiser this year to benefit our Send A Camper To Camp Campaign. Find out how many campers will have their expenses covered from this fundraiser on Page 2. Inside, you’ll also learn about a Charlotte teen who made 30 walking sticks for our nature hikes and the expected — and unexpected — connections we made with Pi Kappa Phi’s The Ability Experience in North Carolina and Georgia. We thank all of you for your gifts and your time. We count you among the “World’s Greatest!”

NCAA Bracket Challenge fundraiser shoots, scores! In March, 362 people filled out more than 500 brackets in our annual Hoops For Camp NCAA Bracket Challenge fundraiser. All those brackets added up to $16,000 to help Camp Blue Skies accomplish its mission of providing camps for adults with developmental disabilities. The winners in the overall field and the corporate teams were awarded luxury vacations donated by Elite Island Resorts. Winners from overall participants:

 Michelle Gassaway  Brandon Finch  Britten Mathews Winners from Top 3 corporate teams:

 Cushman & Wakefield Charlotte Office – Steve Gassaway  Piedmont Office Realty Trust – Bob Wiberg  JLL – Jaime Boast Thanks to the corporations that participated this year:

 Beacon Partners  Cushman & Wakefield – Atlanta office  Cushman & Wakefield – Charlotte office  Davis Moore Capital  Flagship Healthcare Properties  Foundry Commercial  JLL  Piedmont Office Realty Trust  PwC Carolinas Advisory  PwC Financial Services People & Organization  Troutman Sanders Atlanta  Troutman Sanders Charlotte

Cornhole For Camp scores big for Boosters The Blue Skies Boosters hosted the first ever Cornhole For Camp Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 25, at The Unknown Brewing Company in Charlotte. The money raised at the event will cover six camperships. Out of a full field of 32 teams, Danny Blanks and Trent Andrews won the $1,000 grand prize! More than 100 people attended the fundraiser. The Boosters is a group of volunteers and supporters of Camp Blue Skies Foundation who help raise awareness about our mission through events and fundraisers.

Sponsors included:

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Fairfield Chair Company Andrew Roby General Contractors Caped Crusaders 4 Cures Centerlane Capital Champion Concrete Cutting, Inc. Garrett P. Nelson Studio Harkey Tile Kiger Law, P.C. RED Partners Savills Studley

Stay tuned for details on the Boosters' next Cornhole For Camp tournament in early 2018.

Want to cast your line for Hooked On Camp? Attention anglers! The Hooked On Camp Fishing Derby returns Sept. 28-29 to Lake Broyhill at YMCA Camp Harrison. And as an added bonus, it’s just before the start of NC session #1. Lake Broyhill offers 140 private acres of unparalleled bass and bream fishing. Our fundraiser is one of only two public derbies permitted each year. The Derby is limited to 20 anglers. Professional guides take two anglers per boat. The guides donate their time, boat, gas and tackle. If you’ve never been and you love to go fishing, sign up as soon as possible. Spots are going quickly.

Interested in signing up for a boat for yourself and friends or for your company? Email Amy Millikan:

Campers come from ALL over for Camp Blue Skies-Williams Syndrome! Terry Monkaba, executive director of Williams Syndrome Association, told us we could count on adults with Williams syndrome to travel from all over the country to attend camp. Terry wasn’t kidding. Imagine our surprise when we got applications from 17 different states and a camper who traveled from

Dubai to attend Camp Blue Skies-Williams Syndrome Camp at Camp Twin Lakes in Rutledge, Georgia. We’ll do it again in 2018!

Two new GA schools aid in health services During the 2017 sessions in Georgia, Camp Blue Skies partnered with two new colleges to provide quality health services. West Georgia Technical College nursing students and students from the Mercer University College of Pharmacy joined the students and

faculty from the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy, our long-standing partner, to help care for our campers, volunteers and staff. Nursing students from West Georgia Tech attended both the Georgia and Williams Syndrome sessions. "It was an experience well beyond any clinical experience they would ever receive," said nursing instructor Christina Brazier. "The students not only were able to observe and assist the nurses, but they were also blessed to get to know and work with campers with Williams syndrome and other developmental disabilities." For Camp Blue Skies-Williams Syndrome, Mercer University College of Pharmacy students, with oversight from faculty,

checked in campers' medications on Opening Day. Students then organized meds into daily dose packs. "Our students and faculty thoroughly enjoyed meeting the campers and helping make sure they had a safe and healthy camp experience," said Dr. Johnathan Hamrick of Mercer University College of Pharmacy.

Eagle Scout makes 30 walking sticks for campers “I hope that the hiking sticks that I made will give the campers that participate in hiking at Camp Blue Skies a chance to explore nature.” Andrew Phillips of Charlotte hiked nearly 100 miles over rugged terrain for 12 days during his Boy Scout troop’s trip to New Mexico last year. “It wasn’t easy, but I felt stronger and made memories that will last a lifetime,” he said. Remembering the accomplishments of that trip and hearing Camp Blue Skies needed walking sticks for its nature hikes inspired his Eagle Scout project. Andrew, a member of Boy Scout Troop 116 at St. John’s Episcopal, made 30 colorful walking sticks for use at camp.

Pi Kappa Phi helps campers in NC and GA Pi Kappa Phi fraternity members, alumni and community volunteers helped Camp Blue Skies this spring at both YMCA Camp Harrison in North Carolina and Camp Twin Lakes-Rutledge in Georgia.

“It’s an incredible feeling of accomplishment to reach the top of the mountain and be able to look out over the landscape,” said Andrew, 16. “I hope that the hiking sticks that I made will give the campers that participate in hiking at Camp Blue Skies a chance to explore nature.” Andrew visited three stores to find the hardwood dowels. He opted to use poplar dowels because he thought that it would be difficult to find enough natural wood sticks in the right size and condition. “I wanted to add a paracord handle and researched how to tie it on,” Andrew said. “I found that using a clove hitch knot over and over created the perfect handle tie.” He coordinated paracord with the paint colors, drilled a hole through the top and added a paracord loop. “I glued a rubber stopper on the end of each stick for safety.” The project took place over two weekends with the help of friends, which re-

flected showing leadership by involving others, a requirement of Eagle Scout projects. You may see Andrew at Camp Blue Skies this fall. “I would love to go hiking with the campers at Camp Blue Skies! I’ll look forward to seeing you on the trails!”

CALLING ALL CYCLISTS! Oct. 15, in Rutledge. The family-friendly event helps Camp Blue Skies offset the cost of camp. Plus, you can choose from multiple routes through rural Georgia for riders of all skill levels.

Looking for a way to support Camp Blue Skies in Georgia? Camp Blue Skies is putting a team together for Camp Twin Lakes Spin for Kids fundraiser on Sunday,

Interested in being on the Camp Blue Skies team? Send an email to and put “Spin For Kids team” in the subject line. For more information, check out

Camp Blue Skies and Camp Harrison jointly applied for a grant from The Ability Experience, Pi Kappa Phi’s philanthropic program that serves people with disabilities. The Ability Experience approved the project and provided volunteers to build steps from the dining hall to the health center. The work took place March 1012 in Boomer. Meanwhile, several Pi Kappa Phi brothers worked on projects at Camp Twin Lakes in Rutledge during our Georgia session March 13-17. Fraternity members got to know our campers and ended up tagging along during activities. “The Georgia experience was a complete coincidence and a quite wonderful one at that,” said Camp Blue Skies founder Dick Sesler. “We hope that this is the beginning of a long relationship with Pi Kappa Phi and The Ability Experience.”

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. Camp Blue Skies-GA Haley Allmond Anna Battistello Sadie Binkley Lydia Bonnell Priscilla Brannen Adam Cobb Cay Collier Ben Crawford Kady Crump Roger Currier Claudia Dickman Paul Dossett Dillon Frazier Megan Frey Megan Fromme Carrie Goodfellow Carrie Guerrette Minna Hassan Andrea Holloway Sarah Holmes Nicole Howie Amber Irvin Kajal Jain Peter James Anjali Jarrett Mekia Johnson-Faulkner Sarah Kohrumel Laura Kowalski Jerri Kropp Abbey LaMee John Lenhart Tammy Lynn Harrison McCoy Sierra Miller Michael Molinari

Darren Monsanto Meagan Moss Pat Murphy Natalie Nguyen Chris Ondo Namita Patel Stephanie Pennington Hunter Reynolds Michael Robinson Johnny Roquemore Shannon Schnable Doug Sheffield Key Showman Kristi St. Clair Donya Stagner Erica Teilhaber Ann Truong Alexa Volpe Jacqueline Wabler Trina von Waldner Wade Walker Karlie Weaver Sandy Weaver Brent Wolfe Barbra Wood Bill Wood Maci Wood Ling Yang Camp Blue SkiesWSA Session Austin Andersen Lauren Barclay Haley Barnell Jon Beall Sara Becker

Blue Ridge Xpress Darian Bordon Karen Breth Thomas Carr Greg Clarke Millie Cox Tom Cox Rahima Deka Jennifer Eluku Maddie Ferrell Scott Fletcher Tommy Futch Johnathan Hamrick Becky Harris

Leslie Hornsby Bill Hughes Rachel Janson Christine Klein Lauren Leasure Annie Lee Gray Lee Kristin Lott Mike McIntosh Becca Messer Kaity Mitchell Terry Monkaba Sean Montgomery Jamie Moore Lisa Olsen Grace Outhous Casey Parks Aayush Patel Elizabeth Reed

Conner Robinson Brandon Savage Betsey Sesler Cameron Sizemore Ashley Tant Peter Zell Camp Blue SkiesGA and WSA Sessions Elizabeth Collins Michael Coulter Jim Guimond Larkin Kelly Jessie Lehman Debby Rea Alan Ross Dan Sturzenbecker Becca Taunton

Wearing their support! Check out the Camp Blue Skies spirit! These volunteers from Georgia Southern University have made their love for camp permanent with tattoos!

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 Feb. 1-July 5, 2017. Blue Skies ($5,000+) Charlotte Woman's Club Domtar Industries Bruce Jackson John and Mary Franklin Foundation The Merancas Foundation The Leon Levine Foundation John Williams Bill and Barbra Wood Zipliners ($1,000 - $4,999) Elizabeth Alexander Ken Bartels and Jane Condon Robert and Gwen Dalton Marc and Marty Eason Jeff and Karen Johnson Mary Gossett and Marsh King

Healthy Charlotte Alliance (Mecklenburg Medical Alliance & Endowment) Allan and Bonnie Sweet Tom and Gina Lawrence Dude Ranchers ($500 - $999) Mark Ayers Geoffrey Dohrmann Fairfield Chair Company Weprin Family Philanthropic Fund of the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation Cabin Mates ($250 - $499) James Blecke Greg and Betsy Blinn Richard Burrows Tom and Millie Cox

Healthy Charlotte Alliance grant will help provide for nurses at NC camps Thanks to a generous grant from Healthy Charlotte Alliance, Camp Blue Skies will be able to offer stipends to nurses. Healthy Charlotte Alliance, formerly Mecklenburg Medical Alliance and Endowment, awarded grants totaling $74,000 to 13 organizations at its annual meeting in June. Camp Blue Skies received $3,000 to compensate nurses at our North Carolina sessions. Since founding the Alliance's Endowment in 1982, over 100 different health projects and agencies have received grants.

Paul Devine Don and Jean Bass Tom and Alice Gavigan Rick and Marsha Gross Donald A. Miller Morgan Stanley Foundation Garrett Nelson Tim Newman Real Estate Development Partners Collin and Christy Wade Mike and Chris Wiggins Fletcher and Anne Wright Helping Hands (up to $249) Anonymous Corey Allen Lee Allen Taylor Allison Allstate Foundation Browning Altizer Jill Ammerman Ann Anderson Michael Anderson Meredith Russell Anglin Kelly Augustin Craig Aulebach Robert and Susan Aulebach Rand Ayer Bruce and Alex Bacon Wilson Bacon Barbara Balder Pat Barnhart Thomas Bauer Brian Baum Drew Beall John and Josephine Beall Jonathan Beall Tom Beaty Nora Beger Keith Bell Morgan Berg Kenlie Berry Ben Blank Danny Blanks Jane and Phillip Blount Jaime Boast Derek and Katie Bongard Greta Bostic Laura Bowden Mallie and Jason Bragg Stephen Bragg Conor Brennan MK Brennan Andrew and Christy Brock

Craig Brondyke Dennis Michael Brophy Allen Brown Angel Brown Ivan and Victoria Byrd Patrick Byrnes Lisa Campuzano Brian and Dea Canova John Cashion Gay Cass Lori Cauthen Bryan Chambers Caroline Cheek Matthew Cheek Brad Cherry John Christenbury Philip Ciccarello Maggie Clougherty Kevin Coats Lillie Cochran Jay Cohen Adrienne Comito John Connelly Tracy Connor Keith Cooke Rachel Cooley Cathey S Cooper John Core Mike Coulter Melissa and Jeff Cowan K Grant Cox Dalton and Ashley Cox National Christian Foundation Alabama Charles Craighill Katie Cumbee Jonathan Currier Sallie Daniel Will Daniell Shawn Darr Ward and Kristy Davis Elizabeth Deane Andrew DeLamielleure Cheryl Dennis Fermin Deoca Dawn Desmond Denise Dexter Jean Dietrich James Dillen Dan M Dillon Gina Dodson Dave Dougherty and Anita Blanchard Trey Dove Debra Duggan Robert Dulin Lisa Dunavin Jeffrey Echt Brannen Edge Trey Eiland Suzanne Elliott Freddy Emberger

Steve and Janice Ezzo Ronnie Fairclough Camille Farkas Brandon Finch Walter D. Fisher Tom FitzGerald Marc Folladori Kevin Fossum Matthew Fowler Eric Frederickson Murray and Frances Fugate Reggie Gaither Kelli Garca Zanne Garland Steve and Michelle Gassaway Richard and Lindsay Gerakitis Richard and Mary Gerakitis Paul Getchell Andy Gitelson Megan Golden Karen M Golembeski Thomas and Kathy Golembeski Brian and Tammy Goodman Mike Goodwin Christopher Gorman Lori Gougeon Wade Grace Angela Graham Ben Graves Brett Gray Patrick Grayson Scott Greig Brent Gribble Brian Gribble Rex and Nancy Gribble Clay and Deidre Grubb Hoyt and Alison Hackney Anne Haltiwanger Kathryn Hammack Brendan Hammeke T. Patrick Hammeke Josh Hammer David Hanna Janice Hardy Jimbo Harrell Becky Harris Fahn Harris James Harris Michael Harris Monica Harris Pam F Harrison John Hartnett John M and Mary Ann Haughton JJ Hay Whitney Hembree Chris Hicks Kelly High

Rebecca Hilinski Brian Hill Natasha Hillesheim Michael Hoffman Jon and Brenda Holcomb Travis Hollifield Sam Hollis Greta Holmes Casey Honeycutt Zachary Horowitz Brian Hosack Ellen Houpt Bob Howell Brett Hubler Jessamy Huckel Carin Hudson Jackson Hughes Mary Kate Hughes Scott Hundertmark Matt Icard Bridget Inklebarger Lorry Jensen Rachel Johnon Samuel Johnson Mona Jolly Charles Jonas Caroline Jureller Joanne Jurich Mike Kavanagh Sean Kehoe Don and Susan Kemp Jim Kenney Grant Keyes Katie Kidd Stratford Kiger Elizabeth Knapp John and Kathi Knier Peter J Koch Timothy Kohrumel Jan Kolker Gregg and Cathy Kowalski Rosalyn Lackey Eloise LaHorgue Andrew Laing Julia Lamm Pete Lash Denise Lawless Walter Leach Jr. Robert Lee Charles Leonard Boyd Lewis Liberty Mutual William Linginfelter CustomInk LLC Kyle Lorenz Kevin Lynch Steven Martinek Casey Masters Britten Mathews Olivia Matthews Christopher Mauth Sloane Mayberry Jon Mayeske

Angus McBryde Margaret McBryde Ruth Mcclymonds Mike McConnell Jim McDermott Dean McFadden Dana Mcguire Lisa McIntyre Shea Meddin Rory Melick Nick Mellott Callie Michael Jennifer Michels Jennifer Miles Rebecca Miles Damian Miller Monica S Miller Robert Miller Bill and Amy Millikan Joel and Bonnie Millikan Brad Minor Jay Mitchener Chase and Jennifer Monroe John and Lauren Monroe Jim and Diane Montgomery David Moore Mark Moore John Bruce Morrill Jon Morris James and Ann Mossberg Casey Mulhern Ken Mulrane Kevin Murphy Pat Murphy Carol Nash Karen G Neill Matt Newsom Cristy Nine Thomas Nisbet Caroline Nolen Phil and Marianne Norwood Brooke Nunley Chad Nusbaum Joe O'Connor Scott Oishi Ray Owens Claudia Pascual Emily Peedin Doug L Pennington Ashley Pfeifer-Aymar G Patrick Phillips Rebecca Piontek Brad Pittman Kelly Plott Chris Poppell Scarlet Powell Tom Prescott Kimberly Proshek Jordan Quinn Monica Quinn

Bo Reddic Eric Reed James and Kristen Reed Mark Reeder Brent Reel Seth and Susan Reicher Brian Richards Eric Ridlehoover John Rigsbee Faith Roberts Tim Robertson Marc Robinson Mary Jane Rodes Dean Rogers Nanci Rogers Caroline Rose Kerry Rose Joe Ross Kelly Ruiz Annette Salazar Darcie Saleh Gibran Saleh Eric Samuel Scott Sanfilippo Courtney Santos Steve and Tobie Sasser Holly Scheppegrell Rob Schmidt Sara Schmidt Chris Schmitt William Schmitt Nicholas Schreiber Rodney Scott Raj Shah Cathy Sheehan Doug and Tracy Sheffield Matthew Siverling Jake Sixour Bennett Skinner David Skinner Alex Smith Brent Smith David Smith Scott Smith Victoria Smith Billy Snowden Warren Snowdon

Carrie Sparks Dean Spaulding Alex Spira-Gutner Berton Spring Michael Springer Paul and Julia Steffens Wil Stone Brad Strathe Tom and KC Strohbehn John D Stubbs Karah Stumler Stephanie Sullan Charles and Leighann Swanson Chris Swart Jonathan Swope Peter Tanneberger Ashley Tant Tripp Tate Joe and Rosalind Taylor Myles Thomas Tami Thomas Blair Thompson Frances Thompson Steve Thompson J J Thrall Nicole Tobin Michael Tomlinson Chris Trainor Matt Treble Tommy Trimble Lisa Tyler UBack, Inc

UNC Charlotte VICE Lab Rob Vail Alex Valente Kristy Venning Sabina Vuolo Barry and Karen Wabler Marybeth Wade Wade Owen Walker Kellee Watson Sandy Weaver Will Weaver John Wehmeyer Michael Wellman John Wester Bob and Laura Wiberg Kurt Wilczek Keith Willby Joel Williamson Sonia Winfield Colton Witherspoon Jaysen and Ashley Witherspoon Dan Woodley Ida Wozniak Fran Wright Vikrant Yalavarti Elizabeth M Yancey Marilyn Zilka Rob and Susan Zink Lexee Zutz

Tributes In the first six months of 2017, donations were made in honor or in memory of the following special individuals: In Honor Of Abbey and Cort LaMee Jennifer Norman

In Memory Of Ruth Jackson


2820 Selwyn Ave., Box 767 Charlotte, NC 28209


Camp Blue Skies-GA Session

Camp Blue Skies-Williams Syndrome Session

Hooked On Camp Fishing Derby fundraiser Sept. 28-29, 2017

Hoops For Camp NCAA Bracket Challenge fundraiser March 11-15, 2018

Camp Blue Skies-NC #1 Sept. 30-Oct. 4, 2017

Camp Blue Skies-Georgia March 12-16, 2018

Camp Blue Skies-NC #2 Oct. 7-11, 2017

Camp Blue Skies-Williams Syndrome March 19-23, 2018

CONTACT INFO 704-266-2267

Profile for Camp Blue Skies Foundation

Camp Blue Skies 2017 summer 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 2017 summer newsletter  

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