Thursday, October 4, 2018 @ 8:57 pm | (0) Comments

2018 Hooked On Camp Fishing Derby: Plenty of fish, fun, cookies & socks

While the fish didn’t really bite until the final hour, anglers at the Hooked On Camp Fishing Derby enjoyed a great day on Lake Broyhill and got some special treats during Camp Blue Skies’ annual fundraiser Sept. 27-28 at YMCA Camp Harrison in Boomer, NC.

Here’s a look at the fishing highlights of the day (and be sure to watch the video):

  • Total fish caught: 217
  • Most fish caught by a single team: Keith Wall and Jeremy Diggs, 53
  • Largest Large Mouth Bass: Jake Runkle, 4lbs., 4oz.
  • Largest Blue Gill: Jimmy Warren, 1 lb, 2 oz.
  • Smallest Fish: Jake Runkle, 0.75 oz.

The annual event raised $20,000 to provide financial assistance for campers to bridge the gap between tuition rate and the true cost per camper. This year’s derby will help cover those costs for 25 adults with developmental disabilities.

Camper Carolyn Sampson welcomed fishermen with a smile as bright as the sun when they returned to the dock for the weigh-in. She shared her love of Camp Blue Skies at the awards luncheon. However, Carolyn and her mother Elise really stole the show by providing dessert: A yummy selection of gluten-free cookies from Reason To Bake, the Sampsons’ small-batch bakery in Pisgah Forest, NC. We highly recommend checking out the cookies at

A delicious barbecue lunch was generously donated by Tipton’s Bar-B-Que in Wilkesboro. We highly recommend Tipton’s, too.

The 2018 winners’ trophies were handcrafted by Darin White of HAVA Studios.

Anglers received a goodie bag with a lure, Camp Blue Skies swag, and fishing-themed socks from John’s Crazy Socks. John Cronin, a young man with Down syndrome who loves colorful socks, founded the company in 2016 with his father, Mark. (And yes, we hope John comes to camp someday as a camper!)

Special thanks to Brooks Runkle, Derby Chairman, and Gene Vaughan, Derby Captain!

Thank you to the following sponsors, donors, and guides for their support:


REDLINE Design Group
Barringer Construction
Bonitz Flooring Group, Inc.
Dynamic Health & Pain Management
ESP Associates, Inc.
FS2 Flooring
Garmon & Company Commercial Flooring
John Lenhart
Mannington Commercial
SEC General Contractors, Inc.
Warco Construction

Tipton Bar-B-Que
YMCA Camp Harrison

Kim Baker
Tom Hucks
Kevin Ingle
Todd Low
Todd Lynn
Jamie Morgan
John Morse
Johnathan Shew
Wayne Spencer
James Summers
Mark Vaughan

Mark your calendars for the 2019 Hooked On Camp Fishing Derby: Sept. 26-27! Want to reserve your boat now? Email email hidden; JavaScript is required


by Crystal Dempsey

Sunday, August 12, 2018 @ 2:42 pm | (0) Comments

Latest newsletter from Camp Blue Skies

by Crystal Dempsey

Monday, March 5, 2018 @ 3:12 pm | (0) Comments

Atlanta: Lilly Pulitzer Sip & Shop event benefits Camp Blue Skies

Atlanta 2018 Lilly Pulitzer Sip & Shop

by Crystal Dempsey

Friday, March 2, 2018 @ 12:00 pm | (0) Comments

Cornhole For Camp 2018 raises $5,000

Cornhole for Camp banner 2018
A record 36 teams and over 100 spectators raised $5,000 for our “Send A Camper To Camp” fund during the second annual Cornhole For Camp tournament Feb. 24 at Triple C Brewing Company in Charlotte.

Congratulations to tourney champs Matthew Ginther and Clinton Ingram! They won the $500 grand prize. It was a great day of fun for everyone and we think we recruited a few new campers and volunteers.

One highlight of the day was the impromptu auction for handcrafted cornhole boards made by Dave Rudel of Cut. Chop. Serve. Dave passed by Triple C while walking his dog and saw our banners and the cool cornhole boards provided by the Roby Family of CompaniesDave returned and donated the cornhole boards he made exclusively from locally sourced and sustainably harvested hardwoods. He told us to sell them if it would help our mission.

What started out as a silent auction ended up in a good-natured bidding war. Kevin Watson and Dylan Ellerbee, who were among the tourney finalists, came through with the winning bid of $360, which happens to be the fee a camper pays to attend a week of camp.

Thanks to Dave, Kevin, and Dylan for their incredible generosity! We hope you’ll see Dave, Kevin, and Dylan at camp someday to thank them in person.

Cornhole For Camp is an annual fundraiser hosted by the Blue Skies Boosters.

Camp Blue Skies Cornhole For Camp Board Auction

Photo on left (l-r): Jonathan Beall, Richard Sesler, Brent Sesler, and Dave Rudel. Photo on right (l-r): Kevin Watson and Dylan Ellerbee

by Crystal Dempsey

Thursday, March 1, 2018 @ 9:34 am | (0) Comments

Latest newsletter from Camp Blue Skies: Winter 2018

by Crystal Dempsey

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