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Anglers Help “ Camp New Hope Fun Day”
Barry Featheringill


It was a hot June Day when twenty-six teams of anglers took off from the ramp at Lake Mattoon in support of ‘ Camp New Hope ”. With water temperatures in the low 80’s the anglers went searching for limits of bass.

Camp New Hope is a privately funded non-profit organization that provides leisure and recreational activities for individuals with special needs such as autism, Down’s syndrome, or physical disabilities. The camp was founded by families of people who have developmental disabilities over thirty years ago giving parents chance to take a break from their taking care of their child with disabilities.

The kids were really excited seeing all the fish the anglers brought to the scales. Many got the chance to see the fish up close and personal.

Mike and Penny Black,(two on the left of picture below) husband/wife team from Toledo , IL won first place with five fish weighing 16.05 pounds. Mike also won big bass money with fish weighing 4.82 pounds.

The second place team of Eric Ballinger of Neoga , IL and Bob Beem of Toledo , IL (third and fourth from the left  in picture above) with five fish bag weighing 12.35 pounds.

Third place team of Chad Harminson of Sullivan, IL and  Kevin McGregor of Lovington (fifth and sixth from the left) with another five fish limit bag weighing 12.23 pounds.

The fourth place team of Donnie Dill of Effingham , IL and Bill Leasher of Neoga , IL (two on the left of photo above) also brought five fish to the scales weighing 11.02 pounds.

Mike Black the coordinator for the event presented Kim Carmack of Camp New Hope with a two hundred and sixty dollars (photo below)

Kim says that all funding for the camp comes from private donations and they service the entire state of Illinois along with having an occasional visit from out of state. The five county area surround Camp New Hope have campers coming at a very reduced rate because of the generosity of service organizations and private individuals along with funding from the Illinois Department of human Services There is a rustic program which is a camp for the weekend during the summer that allows parents to drop off the kids on Friday at dinner time and pick them up Sunday at noon.

Camp New Hope is located on Lake Mattoon just north of Neoga , Illinois .

Activities available include mini-golf, fishing dock, swimming pool, and a playground.