Tag Archives: Skip Stolley


Resale shop supports Beautiful U Ministries

Photo: Bill and Liz Hough opened the Beautiful U Resale Shop in the Elburn and Countryside Community Center in late 2013 to support Beautiful U Ministries and provide a place to work for girls enrolled in the program. The grand opening for the resale shop’s new location at 112 N. Main St., Elburn, will take place on Saturday, April 5, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pictured are Bill Hough (left to right), Kami Hammond, Jamie Scroggs, Diane Mitzelfeld, Liz Hough and Skip Stolley. Photo by Lynn Logan

ELBURN—Bill Hough’s mom was 16 years old when she gave birth to him. Although others around her were encouraging her to have an abortion, she resisted that path.

“Luckily, she chose life,” said Liz Hough, Bill’s wife.

Thus began the seed of a ministry that would call the couple years later to provide support to teens like Bill’s mom.

Four years ago, Liz and Bill were taking a break from fostering children so they could reconnect with their own three offspring when they felt the call to begin mentoring teen mothers.

The Houghs were matched up with a teenager who was five months pregnant. They invited her to come and stay with them on weekends and holidays, and she gradually became a part of their family.

The plan was for Liz and Bill to provide a secure environment for the mom and her baby, as she learned how to parent her child on her own. Her healthy baby boy was born in December 2009.

It did not work out as the Houghs had hoped, and ten days after Jaden was born, she left.

“Now, even though she is no longer in touch with us, we have a daily reminder of our impact in one another’s lives, as we were honored with the opportunity to adopt the boy she carried,” Liz said. “We continue to pray that the loving seeds we planted will take root in her life.”

Soon after the Hough’s experience with Jaden and his mom, they began to get calls looking for homes for teens who were expecting a child. Since then, they have welcomed six additional girls into their home.

Liz said that these experiences opened her eyes to the crisis that pregnant teens face in our surrounding communities. She said that homeless teen moms are the fastest-growing population demographic in this country.

“Across the U.S., nearly 800,000 teenagers get pregnant every year, and depending on their environment, many of these young girls must choose between aborting their babies or being kicked out of their homes,” she said.

Six of the seven teens Liz and her family have hosted were in that situation. She found that there was not much help out there for girls who found themselves pregnant at 15 or 16 years old.

She said that the programs that did exist were mainly for girls 18 years of age and older, and those had waiting lists of two to three years. Needless to say, that would not work for a young girl about to have a baby.

That was when Liz and her husband made the decision to start a ministry for teen moms.
“The common thread was that none of the girls had ever sat down as a family for dinner,” Liz said. “That spoke volumes to me.”

By inviting them to become a part of their family, Liz said she saw them begin to bloom. She said that just like a flower that hasn’t been watered for some time, these girls responded to the love that she and Bill showed them.

“Once we became aware of this great need for pregnant teens and teen moms, our goal was to never turn away a pregnant teen or a teen mother in need of a safe, supportive home,” she said. “However, we quickly realized that we’d need more resources than our family alone could provide.”

The Houghs in 2010 founded Beautiful U Ministries as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit Christian organization to serve the needs of at-risk pregnant teens and teen mothers.

At the end of 2013, they opened the Beautiful U Resale Shop in the Elburn and Countryside Community Center in Elburn.

The purpose of the shop is two-fold, Liz explained. First of all, it provides the funding needed to support their ministry. Secondly, the girls in the program are required to work in the shop as part of their participation in the program.

The first 10 hours they work each month are volunteer hours. Above that, they’re paid, and the money goes into a savings account. When the girls are ready to be on their own, the money will be there for a security deposit or a down-payment on a car.

Working in the shop also gives the girls much-needed job skills training for them to be successful in supporting themselves and their baby.

The shop offers gently-used clothing, housewares, toys and more at reasonable prices. Hough said she started out small, not knowing what to expect. However, donations to the store have been so plentiful that Hough said they will soon be moving to a larger space.

“God has far exceeded anything that we could ever have imagined,” she said. “The community has embraced our ministry.”

There are 14 regular volunteers to help out in the store, which is currently open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The volunteers range from stay-at-home moms with children, families, Bible study groups and individuals.

The new location will be five times the size of the current space and will have extended hours.

Beautiful U Ministries Director Jaimie Scroggs knows what these girls are going through. Twenty years ago, she was a pregnant teen herself. She was living with her father and her other siblings at the time.

Although her father was trying to be supportive, his solution was for her to have an abortion.

“’Everybody makes mistakes,’ he told me,” she said.

Scroggs said that, with the help of several friends and some very supportive people, she made the decision to have her baby. Her son will be 19 years old this May. They have lived in Elburn for the past 10 years.

“I always had people looking out for me,” she said. “You have to make tough choices when you’re so young, and you sometimes end up making poor choices because you don’t know about other options.”

She is happy to be involved with Beautiful U Ministries, where she said that what they provide is someone to show the girls they serve that things can be different.

“Beautiful U Ministries is not just about food and shelter and a place to lay your head,” she said. “It’s about becoming part of a family and seeing there’s another way to do life.”


Staying on track

Renowned track coach hopes area can become a hub for big meets
by Mike Sandrolini
ELBURN—One of the most successful and innovative cross country/track and field coaches in the country just might be your next door neighbor.

Skip Stolley, whose resume includes stints as an Illinois prep and college coach—he’s also coached more than 60 athletes over the years who’ve qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials—has been living in Elburn for less than a year.

Stolley moved to Elburn from St. Charles last August.

“It’s worked out well for me,” he said.

Last November, the Aurora native was named chairman of the USA Track and Field’s Illinois Long Distance Running Committee, and he quickly set the pace for the organization. Stolley created a nine-race USATF Illinois Road Race Championship Series for 2013, which began in January with the Warm Your Heart Indoor 5K at Chicago’s McCormick Place—an event that featured around 2,100 runners—and wraps up with the Evanston Flying Turkey 5K Nov. 28.

The series also includes the Fox Valley Marathon, to be held on Sept. 22 in St. Charles, and the Sycamore 10K Pumpkin Run Oct. 27.

“There hasn’t been an Illinois USTAF road championship at any distance for more than 20 years,” Stolley said, “and within 60 days we put that plan together.”

But Stolley is hoping the Fox Valley area can become a regional and national competitive running hub over the next few years.

Just before retiring as head track coach at North Park University in Chicago, Stolley founded the Chicago Area Track and Organizing Committee, a volunteer-based coalition of coaches, running enthusiasts, community and business leaders that are interested in bringing major regional and national running events to the area.

Stolley has started working with the Kane County Board on the possibility of developing a permanent cross country course on 780 acres of the Settler’s Hill property. The course would be 10 meters wide and located north of Settler’s Hill Golf Club, bordered by prairie grass with a wide start-finish area.

If development of the course comes to fruition, Stolley hopes it would be completed by the fall of 2015. He said there would be enough parking for 5,000 vehicles, along with permanent rest rooms and concession facilities.

A master plan, he said, would include a permanent finish chute, a press box, a scoreboard, a Jumbotron and underground timing pads. He envisions this course hosting events such as the NCAA, USA, open and world cross country championships.

“It’s really a tragedy that there’s no major meets in the Chicago area,” he said. “This is such a hotbed for track and field and cross country, and high school and college track is just booming.”

Stolley is clearly well plugged into the national cross country and track circuit. In addition to his current roles, he’s been a member of the USATF Men’s Track and Field executive committee, and chairman of the USATF National Club Council. He’s also been the meet director for the 1999 USA National Cross Country Championships in Long Beach, Calif., the 2004 Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and the 2006 USATF National Club Championships at Mt. San Antonio College.

In 1983, Stolley served as assistant meet director for the U.S. championships that were being held in Indianapolis. While working the meet, he had conversations with Bob Seagren, the 1968 Olympic pole vault gold medalist who at the time was the head of the PUMA Energizer track club in California. Seagren asked Stolley—who was still the men’s and women’s cross country and track coach at Indiana State University—if he would be interested in becoming the club’s executive director. With the Olympics being held in Los Angeles the next year, Stolley left Indiana State to join the club and moved out to Southern California.

“I thought this would be a great opportunity,” he said.

Stolley later started Track West, a USATF club that catered to developing post-collegiate men and women distances runners. During his tenure with Track West, Stolley helped produce more than 60 qualifiers for the USA Outdoor Championships and 24 athletes who took part in the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.

“One of the things that I’m most proud of from that club is that the vast majority of those kids were not NCAA champions or medalists,” Stolley said. “They were people who wanted to continue their running careers after college and really developed with us to the point where they were national qualifiers and contending for places on USA teams.”

In 2006, Stolley then formed the VS Athletics Track Club, which supported developing men and women athletes over a broad spectrum of events such as distances, sprints, hurdles, jumps and throws. VSA became a USATF-designated Elite Development Club and produced 10 qualifiers for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in just its third year of existence.

“VS was a great marriage,” he said. “It’s extremely difficult to continue in our sport after college. While most people think that our Olympic teams are made up of the best college athletes, the truth is that the average age of our track and field Olympians is 29.2 years old. That means our best athletes have to find a way to stay in the sport for five, six, seven years after college and continue their development up to the international level.”

Stolley left the VSA for North Park in 2009, moving back to the Chicago area to be closer to his mother, who just turned 90, and his three brothers.

Outside of his affiliations with the Chicago Area Track and Organizing Committee and the USATF’s Illinois Long Distance Running Committee, Stolley hasn’t made a final decision as to what he would like to do in the future. But he did express interest in starting a track club in Illinois similar to Track West or the VS Athletics Track Club.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I would definitely use the VS Athletics model. What clubs there are (in Illinois) are mostly (for) distance running. There’s a real need for an organization like this.”

The road to the State Championships begins

by Skip Stolley,
Chairman, Chicago Area Track & Field Organizing Committee, Inc.

ELBURN—This Saturday, Kaneland High School will host the Class AA IHSA Regional Championship at Elburn Woods.

The girls’ three-mile race will start at 10 a.m., and the boys’ race will step off at 11 a.m. It will be one of 45 qualifying meets for the 2012 Illinois State Cross Country Championships being held statewide this weekend at the A, AA, and AAA divisions.

In each division, the top seven teams, and top five individual finishers from non-qualifying teams, will advance from the regional to the sectional championships next weekend, Oct. 27. The top five teams and top 10 individual finishers from non-qualifying teams from the state’s five AA sectional meets will advance to the State Championships at Peoria’s Detweiler Park on Nov. 3.

The Kaneland boys are led by junior Kyle Carter, who has been a top 10 finisher individually in every meet this fall, including those dominated by ranked 3A teams. Behind him, their chase pack has been led by senior Conor Johnson, who has had a breakthrough season in leading the Knights’ pack to running closer to Carter meet by meet, week by week.

On the girls side, another underclassman, sophomore Victoria Clinton, has led the Lady Knights this season. She has won five races this fall and placed no worse than third in invitational meets featuring as many as 23 teams, earning her designation as a “National Elite” runner by ESPN.com. Behind Clinton, freshman Briana Bower has emerged as the Lady Knights’ No. 2 runner and seniors Amanda Lesak, Abby Dodis and Maggie Brundige have been running within an arm’s length of one another as their No. 3, 4 and 5 finishers.

Competing with Kaneland in the Elburn Woods Regional this Saturday will be Burlington Central, Crystal Lake Central, Prairie Ridge, Hampshire, Rochelle, Sycamore and Woodstock high schools. Advancing from the eight-team regional on their home course should be no problem for either Kaneland team. However, at the Belvidere North Sectional Meet, to which they will advance the following weekend, both the boys’ and girls’ 21-team fields will showcase five of the state’s top 11 ranked 2A teams, and seven of the top 23, all vying for one of just five state-qualifying births.

Elburn Woods has only enough parking to accommodate participating teams and the meet staff, so spectators are to park at Kaneland High School, where three free shuttle buses will ferry them every 10 minutes to the Forest Preserve, which is only about five minutes away.