In 2008 Tristy Bittikofer started the first beach instructional clinics in the area. Long time AVP player and national team member Erin Byrd reached out to Tristy and asked if she could get a group of girls together interested in learning how to play beach and if so she would come and bring her camp series to North Carolina. The first “Mission Beach Volleyball Camp” was held that summer at North Cary Park. Erin and Tristy spent four days teaching 14 girls the fundamentals and rules to play beach.
The following summer list of participants grew and the need for more coaches was evident. Linda Lang joined forces to coach with Tristy and Erin in 2009. Over the course of the next three years the enrollment for “mission beach volleyball camp” grew so aggressively that it filled and had a waiting list. Girls and boys ages 12-18 were getting solid fundamental instruction, learning the rules and having the chance to compete during the sessions. Most importantly student athletes were having a blast and falling in love with beach volleyball. Tristy, Linda and Erin all love the game and loved sharing their passion with eager student athletes.
From this Tristy started giving small group lessons to those really wanting to take their beach game to another level. Most notable student athletes that took advantage of this training:
Katja Elhers (5 time qualifier to USAV junior nationals, NCHSSA Sand State Champion and USA high performance participant),Genna Simpkins and Kyle Grandy. Together Genna and Kyle became a dominate force winning the Carolina Region 4 straight years and most notably winning the 16 open AAU National Championship in 2014.
Steve Scanga recognized the need for local sand tournaments. Popularity for beach volleyball was skyrocketing with both juniors and adults. Steve had been successfully running tournaments throughout the Southeast since the mid 90’s. His ability to organize players of all levels and create an event that focused on the maximum amount of play in an efficient manner made his tournaments an obvious choice.
In 2012 Blue Sky was formed as a collaboration between Steve, Tristy and Linda. Focused and specific training has remained the hallmark of the club. Blue Sky has been running weekly clinics during the spring and summer for years. The list of current Blue Sky alumni playing division I sand volleyball is unprecedented. In 2016 Blue Sky will offer its first year round training groups.