The Circle of (Camp) Life

camp horse
This summer – in addition to the chaplains, nurses, and Sunday Welcome Team – 26 volunteers contributed 21 weeks of counseling and over six weeks of program support. They could be found all over camp – including at the barn, the craft grotto, and the office. Many of these volunteers are former campers, staff from the past decade, or both! This cycle of camper-volunteer-staff-volunteer helps to keep fun traditions alive as new traditions develop.
Paired with ideas from new members of DuBois Center’s family, we create a camping experience that is uniquely organic and uniquely DuBois.
Our volunteer counselors and program folks also help to inject fresh energy and ideas even in the most mind-numbing heat. THANK YOU for all the wonderful things you do for our campers – we love seeing old friends and making new ones!

Connections

Connections

This summer, our staff got a blast from the past – postcards from a former international summer staffer! Beth sent an envelope full of postcards all the way from Melbourne, Australia. The note she wrote to the staff as a whole reads: “Hi, my name is ConnectionsBeth. I was a counselor during summer 2004 & 2005. DuBois Center has many amazing memories that have stayed with me ever since. I hope you all keep in touch and have had an amazing summer. The Lord will use all you have sown and sacrificed these last few months. Thank you and please know that lives will be changed and kids’ lives will have become better by spending time with you this summer. God bless and have a safe trip home. Love, Beth Shanks (Reitenbach)”

The personalized postcards were a perfect pick-me-up for the end of the summer! Thanks Beth!

Summer Staff Farewell

2018 Counselors

As we close the books on another season of summer camp at DuBois Center, we reflect fondly on the group of young adults that made up the 2018 Summer Staff. They came from near and far in hopes of sharing wonderful, life-changing experiences with their campers. Whether they drove to camp from right here in southern Illinois or journeyed from the other side of the country and globe, first-timers or veterans, they all added their own unique threads to the DuBois Center tapestry. We wish them luck as they return to school, “big kid jobs”, or other grand adventures!

Not pictured: Twig (Laura Renken)

Sunday Welcome Team – Thank You!

Welcome Team
Each Sunday of our summer camp season, DuBois Center buzzes with scores of excited campers and their families, all energized and ready for their time at camp. Ensuring a smooth check-in process with as few delays as possible is a tall order – one made possible ONLY with the help of 12-15 volunteers each week. Our Sunday Welcome Team braves the sweaty summer temperatures with smiles on their faces as they direct parking, greet families, check heads for critters, screen health forms, catch and drive pontoon boats, operate the camp store.. and direct the flow of traffic through the check-in process.
This summer, more than 40 different volunteers – many serving on multiple Sundays – made a HUGE difference! On behalf of DuBois Center staff, parents and campers, we would like to extend a hearty and heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who assisted this summer: Donna Asbridge; Rev. Kris, Nicole, & Casey Avise-Rouse; Mark & Debbie Beckmeyer; Norma Borgmann; Craig & Rev. Katie Jo Beilke; Joan Daab; Sue Davis; Rev. Christy Eckert; Aaron, Harmon & Susan Fuchs; Audrey Hicks; Rev. John Holst; David Jackson; Leah & Wendy Juenger; Don Kaiser; Kim Karn; Sandy & Scott Kuether; Lisa & Rev. RJ Morgan; Rev. Todd Mushaney; Jessica Nave; Braden & Kelly Neighbors; Anne & Jason Petry; Leigh Poole; Kathy & Rick Porter; Alaina, Ava & Ian Scherle; Leslie Sopp; Joe & Kara Schmid; Laura & Melissa Van Echten; Nancy Wagner; and Darline Weihl.
Sunday Welcome Team Rock Stars: Donna Asbridge, Norma Borgmann and Scott Kuether assisted with all six Sunday check-in days; Audrey Hicks recruited “head check teams” for five weeks of the summer. A special thanks for your hard work and dedication!

Rainbow Camp Celebrates Diversity

rainbow camp
Campers ages 2 to seventy came to Rainbow Camp this year, and all had a great time. The fourth incarnation of this annual event set a new record for participants and included all the classic camp activities, like canoeing, fishing, archery and horseback riding. There was a special presentation by Master Naturalist Kathleen Gaare-Wiese on amphibians and reptiles, which was followed by making toad houses during craft time. Another special activity this year was a nature hike led by Marty Kemper, DuBois volunteer and also a Master Naturalist. Marty shared his vast knowledge of the plant and animal life at camp during the hike, including finding a tiny, rare orchid.
It’s hard to capture what Rainbow Camp means to participants, but one high school camper put it this way, “You often think you have to be OR. You’re either LGBT or you’re Christian. Here you can be AND. You can be both.”
When participants spoke at the closing circle about what they got from the day, words like community, love, authentic, family, understanding, and peace all freely bubbled up. This camp is a special place where everyone can be their authentic selves and all are seen as children of God.
Rainbow Camp is for LGBTQ singles, couples and families, as well as straight allies. It will be held again next August at DuBois Center.

Hats Off to Our Volunteer Camp Nurses

nurse hat

Health care professionals are a key component of our ministry, but rather than starched “whites,” you are more likely to find them dressed in tie-dye and shorts, and maybe even toting a guitar.

Camp nurses deal with a variety of ailments – everything from ticks to homesickness, fevers to sprains. They provide special attention when a camper needs a little extra TLC or just a break from the action. Their’s is a ministry of compassion, presence and healing.

This past summer, we were blessed by the ministry of two volunteer camp nurses. A very special thanks to Donna Asbridge of St. Paul’s UCC in Freeburg and Jessica Nave, former DuBois Center staff member. This year, Nurse Bandit (Donna’s camp name) went above and beyond, as is often the case. In addition to her nursing duties, she studied our curriculum and helped the summer staff understand and engage with it. She has also started a guitar and ukulele revival at camp – playing herself and teaching others. Sumac (Jessica’s camp name) volunteered for 24-72 hour stints throughout July, in between her ER shifts. It was great to have this former camp counselor back at DuBois Center.

If you are an RN, please consider serving with us next summer. For more information, contact Shirley at shirley.director@DuBoisCenter.org or 618-787-2202.

Chaplains – Thank You!

Chalains

Our last group of ISC summer campers departed last Wednesday with memories that will last a lifetime. There are so many individuals who make summer adventures at DuBois Center possible. Chaplain - HolstAmong these are the chaplains. They help pass the light and love of God from one generation to the next. They help make the curriculum come alive for our campers. They lead BLAST (Bible Learning and Spirit Time), prepare worship, and embody an amazing ministry of presence – walking with our campers and staff throughout a week of camp.

Our chaplains are a fun, inspiring, eclectic bunch. Some are ordained ministers; some are Christian educators. Some are teachers, and some are parents and/or former staff members who want to stay involved and give back. A special thanks to our 2018 summer camp chaplains:

  • ChaplainNicole Avise-Rouse – St. Paul UCC, Columbia
  • Craig and Rev. Katie Jo Bielke – St. John Evangelical UCC, Collinsville
  • Joan Daab – St. Paul UCC, Columbia
  • Rev. Christy Eckert – St. John UCC, Trenton
  • Audrey Hicks – St. Paul UCC, Waterloo
  • Rev. John Holst – Zion UCC, Marion
  • David Jackson – St. Paul UCC, Columbia
  • Rev. R.J. Morgan – Zoar UCC, New Hanover
  • Rev. Todd Mushaney – Christ UCC, Dupo
  • Alaina Scherle – St. Paul UCC, Waterloo

Thanks, also, to the churches that supported their time at camp and sharing their gifts with ISC church family.

ChaplainChaplains3

 

 

 

HOT DOG it’s been a Great Summer!

Cook out

You’d be hard-pressed to name a more quintessential “summer camp” activity than cooking hot dogs (or pie irons or foil stew) over a campfire. Though it might not seem like much more than fixing dinner, each cookout is an almost sacred time. Through the smoke and sizzle, conversations often turn to faith and where we’ve seen God throughout the week. Cooking around the fire in community is a distillation of the unplugged relationship-building that forms the core of DuBois Center’s ministry. As we pack up another summer full of friendships, we take scores of warm campfire memories with us into the colder months ahead.

Cookout

Thanks for Making Camp Memories Possible!

camp 3

As DuBois Center’s summer camp season draws to a close, we would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your support. Without the multitude of prayers, volunteer hours and financial support, the life-changing experience of a week at camp simply would not be possible for the hundreds of DuBois Center campers. Friendships built and renewed, faith nurtured, self-confidence bolstered, nature discovered – these experiences shape lives and develop healthier happier children. THANK YOU for being part of the ministry of DuBois Center!

camp 1

Like Father, Like Son

Like father like son
“We always hear preachers preaching about love…” Last summer Kalaba Kapundu, an international student at Eden Theological Seminary, served on the summer staff at DuBois Center. This year his son Ian was able to attend camp – thanks to our wider faith community. Ian’s fee was paid by St. Mark’s UCC in DuBois. The church also provided money for a stop at the camp store for Ian and his younger brothers. Rev. Carol Shanks provided transportation to and from camp for the family, playing tour guide along the way. The kids were amazed by the cornfields and grain silos, and even stopped for photos with the stalks. Jill Schantz from the seminary helped with paper work, gathering supplies and moral support. It was definitely a community effort!
Last week, we received an email from Kalaba. An excerpt is included below:
“Greetings in the name of Jesus.
Shirley, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for helping Ian to experience Camp DuBois. Ian is in love with DuBois and I think he did connect with DuBois the same way I did and DuBois Center will always have a special place in my family. My life had changed a lot from my experience at DuBois Center. We always hear preachers preaching about love, at DuBois Center love is not preaching but experienced. For me, DuBois Center is the expression of the love of God for humanity… I lack word to express my gratitude, may God continue to strengthen you in your ministry of making disciples for the transformation of the world. Thank you, Boss. J
Peace and Grace, Kalaba Kapundu”