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HopeFest scheduled for May 25

March 5, 2013

HopeFest is a brand new “grass roots” event bringing together popular Christian musicians, churches, community businesses, and other friends to benefit the boys and girls living at Baptist Children’s Homes’ (BCH) Cameron Boys Camp and Camp Duncan. The catalyst for the festival, an event that is growing large in scope, was the simple re-connection of two friends.

Mike Chandler and Paula Sheets, like many longtime friends, lost touch over time. It had been at least 25 years since the duo had spoken until they recently reconnected on Facebook.

“Paula and I were catching up with each other on the phone, and she began to tell me the story of Camp Duncan,” explains Chandler, a Fayetteville resident and member of Carroll Memorial Baptist Church. “As she shared, she told me about her daughter, Kelsey. The things I heard broke my heart.”

Chandler was saddened to learn that Kelsey had been abused by a close family member. Sheets, a single mother who was also abused as a child, tried to comfort Kelsey, but her daughter’s pain was too great. Sheets and Kelsey found the help they desperately needed at Camp Duncan – an outdoor residential program for girls that helps families overcome difficult challenges. Camp Duncan and its counterpart Cameron Boys Camp are located in Moore County.

As he and Sheets talked, Chandler was fascinated by Camp Duncan and its life-changing ministry. “I made a visit to Camp and saw God doing His wonderful work. I met the staff and the girls. Once I saw how it was helping the families involved, I was completely sold.”

With a background in organizing successful events, Chandler wanted to use his expertise to help. He went to his pastor, James Baker of Carroll Memorial Baptist, to share the vision for an event to grow support for the camps. Chandler and Sheets also discussed the idea with Camp Duncan director Paul Daley and BCH southeastern area development director Danny Hawkins. From these discussions, HopeFest was born.

HopeFest is slated for Saturday, May 25 at The Village Arboretum in Pinehurst. The Moore County community event will feature a day of live music and family fun that includes performances from Christian artists 33 Miles, Gold City, The Anchormen, Rapture Road, Jason Bullock, and Larry Chason. A silent auction and a BBQ cook-off – where church groups cook and compete against each other – round out the event. The proceeds that the group raises will go to help the two wilderness camps provide for the needs of the children and families served.

“It’s going to be a big deal,” says Chandler. “There’s great energy coming from the people of Moore County to make this event happen.”

HopeFest is produced by a committee of residents from the Moore County area and chaired by Carolyn Helms. Helms serves on the board of Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst and is married to David M. Helms, pastor of First Baptist Church in Southern Pines.

“There’s no way one or two people can make HopeFest happen,” Helms explains. “God blesses each of us with different skills and abilities. It takes a lot of people coming together and saying, ‘Yes, we’re in!’ Whatever it takes to bring God glory.”

HopeFest committee members are busy making sure their event will be a great success.

“My hope is that the event will bring greater awareness of BCH’s two wilderness camps to the churches and citizens of Moore County and bring new support for the children and families being served,” says Danny Hawkins who is BCH’s liaison to the committee.

Please help! The HopeFest committee is looking for sponsors, volunteers, silent auction donors, and church groups to participate in the BBQ cook-off. To learn more, contact HopeFest committee chair Carolyn Helms at 910.692.2632. You may also call HopeFest sponsorship chair Karen Wood at 919.718.6812.


Learn more about BCH’s residential wilderness ministries at and