Skip to main content

Headed in the Right Direction

Edgar Morales can't stop smiling as he holds his prize fish he caught with PGA TOUR player Boo Weekley.

December 3, 2010

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM Chief of Correspondents

Boo Weekley loves to see the excitement on the faces of the kids as they reel their first fish out of the Gulf of Mexico.

Most of those kids have never been outside Allentown, Pa., an industrial city that is located in the Lehigh Valley about an hour from Philadelphia. But they are learning about conservation and outdoor activities like hunting and fishing at the Camp Compass Academy.

“What’s cool about it is when you get them out there and they see the ocean and you hope they don’t get seasick because we’re on a 70-foot boat,” Weekley chuckled and said in that deep Southern drawl of his.

“...But it is amazing, especially when they get out there and they start fishing. And they ain’t never held a fishing pole and all of a sudden you drop it down and you feel something go ch-ch-ch-ch-ch and it’s trying to drag them in the water and you’re standing there trying to help them reel it up.

“It’s awesome; an awesome feeling.”

Weekley helps make moments like that happen through his continuing support of Camp Compass. For the past eight years, the two-time PGA TOUR champ has held a two-day golf tournament—this edition complete with performances by comedian Larry the Cable Guy and Hank Williams Jr.’s Bama Band—to raise money for the unique non-profit.

The annual Boo’s Camp Compass Scramble has donated more than $400,000 to the organization. “It fit my mold,” the avid outdoorsman said simply when asked about his decision to become involved.


Actually, Camp Compass is not unlike The First Tee. Camp Compass uses outdoor pursuits to help disadvantaged youngsters grow and learn appropriate life skills just as The First Tee uses golf. The students get to do things like hunting, fishing and river rafting as a reward for social and academic accomplishments.

Weekley first met John Annoni, the founder of Camp Compass, in the mid-1990s at a pro-am hosted by Mossy Oak, one of his sponsors. The money that Weekley’s scramble raises helps fund the various outings for the youngsters.

“Think it was over 30 kids last year who got to go out and take a deer, a duck, a turkey and go fishing,” Weekley said. “So it was pretty neat.”

In some cases, the PGA TOUR veteran explained, various hunting companies might need to thin their herd of deer. So in most cases, the outfitters charge Camp Compass a nominal fee or sometimes let the non-profit bring the youngsters to hunt for free.

“They’ll say, we’ll bring in five kids, and we’ll shoot five does and they take all that meat and they’ll get it processed and they’ll give it to the food bank,” Weekley said. “It’ll be all processed, so it’s been certified and they’ll cook it for the homeless people. It benefits everything.”

Weekley’s pro-am this year was held in late July in Brewton, Ala., just across the border along the Florida panhandle. A private sponsor’s reception was held on Thursday at an Irish pub called McGuire’s that is known for the dollar bills stapled to the ceiling.

The party continued later that night with dinner at Weekley’s house. Some of his friends who work at the Nationwide Tour event in Lafayette, La., came over and put their Cajun cooking skills to work. Other friends who own a barbecue restaurant brought their finest pork. They boiled peanuts and swam, too.

An auction featuring hunting trips and golf equipment is held Friday night, while the Calcutta and concert takes center stage Saturday. The actual golf tournament at the Country Club of Brewton attracted 180 players who were divided into two-man teams.

 “We stayed up a little too late every night, I think, but it was fun,” Weekley grinned.

Weekley played with Larry the Cable Guy, whose real name is Daniel Whitney.. More than 600 tickets at $75 each were sold for the concert. The comedian had to fly home Sunday, but the two reunited at Larry’s charity event in September.

In the past, some of the kids from Camp Compass have taken a fishing trip with the tournament sponsors. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico prevented that from happening this year, but the time he spends with the children is clearly some of Weekley’s favorite time. 

“I would love to go up and hunt with them one time,” Weekley said. “That’s what I would like to do is figure out a hunting trip where I can get up there with ‘em and sit down and just tell them stories about what’s happened in my past and what I’ve seen and what I’ve done in the woods growing up while they’re just now learning how to do it. I ain’t saying I’d teach ‘em any good or teach ‘em any bad. It’s just different stories might stick with you.

“Same thing with fishing ’cause we’ll get out there and we’ll get to talking with them and try to tell them, hey, look, when you start pulling this fish up and the water, blood gets off in the water, sharks, they really do show up. They don’t believe that sharks show up. They’re cleaning them, and they cook them and they start throwing the fish overboard and the next thing you know you see sharks swimming all around us. They’re like, holy cow. It is awesome. It’s an awesome feeling.” 


Powered by Blackbaud
nonprofit software