I grew up in a camping family. When we broke camp, my mom had us boys patrol the campsite for trash. The truth was our family didn’t litter. We were picking up other people’s trash – a fact that wasn’t lost on three boys who would rather be playing. We weren’t above complaining about our assignment.
“That’s okay,” mom would say. “We want to leave this place better than we found it.”
With an adult’s perspective, I realize that we were being good stewards of public lands. Leaving places better than we found them. I can’t think of a better definition of stewardship.
There are myriad ways you can leave UUCC better than you found it. Showing up and offering your energy and talents are a great start!
But the truth is that stewardship also requires your treasure. Most of the potential improvements to our UUCC encampment require cash. Many of our members and friends already get it. I am encouraged by recent healthy increases in key indicators:
- The number of pledge units (317, up 10% over the previous year)
- Average annual pledge ($2,417, up over $200 from the years 2013-2016)
I am hesitant to ask the good stewards among us for significantly more money. I prefer to acknowledge and thank them for doing their part. I am aware that some folks who give modest amounts are being just as generous with their limited funds as some of the members who give a lot of money. And I am grateful for and inspired by their generosity.
I asked Maureen Harris for an anonymized spreadsheet that showed our pledges distributed by deciles. It showed that nearly half of our pledge units gave less than half of the average pledge amount. Some folks gave less than one tenth of the mean pledge. Yes, some families can’t (and shouldn’t!) pledge any more. But many could. Getting pledges from the $1,200 range up to the $2,500 range would quickly alleviate a lot of our chronic fiscal worries. If you are in a position to increase your gift to $2,500 per year, please consider doing so.
When we Hazzard boys finished cleaning up campsites and turned around to take in pristine landscapes, we felt proud of our accomplishments. We also felt more ownership of the places we visited. By contributing we became invested. We felt the satisfaction that comes from Stewardship. Mom probably knew that would happen.