One does not need to look past CAMP Rehoboth’s membership logo to recognize that it personifies the theme of this year’s membership campaign: Welcome Home—Home is where the heart is.
The logo shows the heart inside the outline of a house with swirling colors that represent the LGBTQIA+ rainbow, and “Welcome Home” conveys the sentiment that supporters share when talking about their connection with CAMP Rehoboth.
In my brief time here at CAMP Rehoboth, I have been lucky to meet many of you in person and listen to your stories of how you first discovered CAMP Rehoboth. You fondly shared memories of your first visit and reminisced how CAMP Rehoboth felt like home. And that thanks to the tireless work of founders Steve Elkins and Murray Archibald, CAMP is truly the heart of Rehoboth Beach.
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to meet Judy Jesiolowski when she reached out to me to volunteer on the Women’s FEST sponsorship committee. I was thrilled because not many people volunteer to work on a committee that requires them to ask people for money. Judy shared that in her work life, she spent many hours conducting sales/business over the phone.
At the first committee meeting, I handed her a list of potential sponsors. “Wow!” is all I can say. As a volunteer, she secured 10 sponsors and single-handedly raised the most sponsorship dollars for Women’s FEST.
In addition to volunteering her time at CAMP Rehoboth, I knew she and her wife Carole were ardent supporters who also support CAMP through their membership. So, when it was time to write my article, I reached out to them to learn about how they connected with CAMP Rehoboth.
Judy and Carole are transplants (as so many of us are) by way of Syracuse, New York, and when they decided to retire and live near the beach, they considered many locations. But they settled on the Rehoboth Beach area because of its temperate climate, its close location to the beach, and its proximity to many major cities. They also knew that thanks to the CAMP Rehoboth LGBTQIA+ community center, it would be easier for them to build community in the place they decided to call home.
Like they had in Syracuse, Judy and Carole recognized how important it was to support the community they lived in and understood that by giving back, they made the community a better place for everyone. Knowing it was important to support CAMP Rehoboth through membership, soon after moving to the area they hopped in their car and drove to CAMP and joined in-person as purple-level members.
When asked what they like about CAMP Rehoboth, Judy and Carole shared that they love the art exhibits and cultural events. Carole also shared that she supports CAMP because of our youth programs and that youth are our future and it is vital that CAMP Rehoboth continues to be here for the next generation.
Judy and Carole are just one example of the more than 1,100 members that annually support CAMP Rehoboth. While there are many ways to support CAMP, I would argue that membership is probably the most important because it serves as a predictable source of annual revenue. Gifts through membership enable CAMP to offer health and wellness programming, arts and cultural events, advocacy and education, and outreach and community engagement.
This year, CAMP Rehoboth is in the process of hiring a new Executive Director as well as working on the final stages of our strategic plan. The new strategic plan will determine where we focus our energy and resources. Support from this community will be crucial in carrying out the strategic vision for CAMP Rehoboth’s future.
Driving to CAMP Rehoboth—as Judy and Carole did—is one option when considering a membership but, thanks to technology, you also have the option to join online. Just visit CAMP Rehoboth’s web page at camprehoboth.com and click on “Membership.” We offer seven levels ranging in support from $2,400 to $50 per year. This year, we are introducing a new young adult (ages 18-25) level membership at $25 a year so that young people can show their support at a level that may be more affordable for them.
Welcome Home is the theme of our May membership campaign. On behalf of CAMP Rehoboth’s Board of Directors and staff, we welcome you home whether it is your first or 100th visit to CAMP Rehoboth. If you value the work we do to serve the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community, we ask you to consider joining or upgrading your membership. Help us ensure that CAMP Rehoboth is here to Welcome Home all who are searching for a safe space to call home.▼
Laurie Thompson is CAMP Rehoboth’s Development Manager, overseeing all development, fundraising, and donor relations. She can be reached via email at email@example.com or call 302-227-5620.