Fall Festival Postponed

As announced in early August, the annual DuBois Center Fall Festival has been postponed until the first Sunday in October 2021. This decision was made after careful and deliberate consideration. Our first priority is the health and safety of our campers, guests and staff. As COVID-19 cases rise steadily throughout Washington county, our region and across the nation, it is clear that to proceed with this event would not be the cautious or sensible approach. The amount of nearly constant disinfecting, crowd control and monitoring that would be required for a “safe” event, is not feasible.

THANKS to everyone who has already invested time and energy into this project. We are looking forward to celebrating together again in 2021.

St. Jacob UCC – Stack, Paint & Haul!

On Sunday, a small but mighty crew from St. Jacob UCC headed to DuBois Center for a day of service. They unloaded and stacked 350-400 bales of hay, primed 43 boards and painted a number of posts, and moved and stacked wood. The hay is for the horses – obviously – but this year we had more than ever, and the team filled the hayloft in the barn and the hay shed. The boards and posts are for fencing – 300 feet of old fence was removed for the spillway renovation. The wood came from two precariously placed trees on the lake side of Coveside cottage which were removed earlier. All three projects were on our priority list, and the efforts of this group saved our staff many hours of work and speeded up the fence project significantly. It’s amazing what five people can do!

THANKS to the crew from St. Jacob for your hard work! It truly does make a difference. They also did a great job wearing face coverings and physical distancing when appropriate! There is always lots to be done to help maintain your outdoor ministry facilities and grounds and you can help! For more information, contact us at 618-787-2202 or dcinfo@DuBoisCenter.org.


Your Trash, Our Treasure

Before storing your yard tools at the end of the summer gardening season, it might be good to take stock of just what has accumulated over the years – 4 trowels, 7 kneeling pads, 3 hoes, etc. Amazing – isn’t it?! Are there extras that are no longer needed to care for your garden? If yes, please consider donating them to DuBois Center. We have a random hand tool or two, but not enough to accommodate work projects for family groups, confirmation classes, scout troops, or other willing volunteers. We do have lots of full-sized rakes and shovels, but more tools specifically for garden work – planting, weeding and pruning – are needed. Think trowels, cultivators, hand weeders, hoes, small pruners and shrub rakes.

Contact DuBois Center for more information at dcinfo@DuBoisCenter.org or 618-787-2202, or consider a leisurely drive to DuBois, Illinois. Tools can be left on the front porch of the office. Thank you!

With a Little Help From Our Friends

The last two weeks have been hot and busy at DuBois Center. Trees damaged by the storm in early August are slowly being cleared away and the deadfall removed. Wood to replace the fence near the new spill pipe area is being painted. Our bees are being tended. The new power washer is being put to the test. Storage areas are being cleared out and cleaned. Our electric company has been working on line issues. And hay is being baled and stored.

SPECIAL THANKS to Andrew & Val Davis, Bob Goddard, John Pawloski, John Schettler, Carol & David Shanks, Tri-County Electric, and Josh and Tom our part-time caretakers! Your hard work and extra effort are greatly appreciated and truly do make a difference.

There is always lots to be done to maintain our outdoor ministry facilities and grounds and especially during these challenging times. Currently, there are more boards to be painted, storm damage to be cleared, hay to be stacked and areas to be cleaned. DuBois Center is a great place for physically distanced service projects in the outdoors. For more information, contact us at dcinfo@DuBoisCenter.org or 618-787-2202.

Joy and Sadness – A Letter from Shirley Asmussen

September 9, 2020

Dear Friends and Partners in Ministry,

It is with great joy and great sadness that I announce my resignation as the Director of Outdoor Ministries, effective December 1, 2020. This decision has been percolating for the last 12-18 months. I turn 65 at the end of October and it’s time for new adventures and new challenges, as well as a little less stress and responsibility. I love working at DuBois Center and enjoy living at camp, but the last months have taken their toll. I am looking forward to spending quality time with friends and family, traveling and working on my bucket list – all with good safety precautions in place.

It has been a blessing and an honor to serve with you and to serve on your behalf. Thank you all so much for your support of the ministry of DuBois Center and my efforts. Over the past ten years, I have had the opportunity to work with, to be in community with, so many amazing people – our campers, guests and students, their families, our donors, and all the incredible staff and volunteers. I am sad that I won’t see one more Mother-Daughter Retreat, one more Summer Camp season or one more Father-Son Retreat. It’s been a rough year for all of us – but I will leave with so many great memories.

Despite the pandemic, there is still much to celebrate! DuBois Center truly is sacred ground – a place to be cherished. It is a wonderful space where people of all ages grow in their faith, live and work together in Christian community, learn about respect – respect for themselves and for others, and show God’s love by truly caring for all of creation. Together, we have been good stewards of the programs, grounds and facilities. The number of committed volunteers has grown significantly, and their efforts can be seen in every facet of life at DuBois Center. We have solid partnerships with Hoyleton Youth & Family Services and the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. With the support of donors and volunteers, we have made a huge dent in the deferred maintenance list – the docks, the spillway, the tractor, the upgrades in Hickory Lodge… the list goes on.

While there is much to celebrate, there are also many challenges to be addressed. In my opinion, to move boldly through this decade, even more committed volunteers are needed. Capacity needs to be addressed; this is a critical piece for financial viability. Despite the work on deferred maintenance, there is still much more to be done. New partnerships need to be developed. And last, but not least, to advance and sustain these efforts, an effective staffing and support structure needs to be put into place. I have given my best effort, now it is time for fresh eyes and new energy at DuBois Center.

I wish all of you the very best as your ministry continues in this conference, your local church, at DuBois Center and with your neighbors – near and far. I close with two of my favorite quotes which encompass my hopes for you and the Illinois South Conference.

“We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly embracing one another.” Unknown

“Look Up, and Laugh, and Love and Lift.” adapted from Howard Walter

May God Bless and Keep You and Yours,

Shirley Asmussen, Director of Outdoor Ministries

Embrace a Space

Join us to Embrace a Space! Is there a special spot at DuBois Center that you really enjoy or that brings back great memories? Are there specific work tasks that you especially enjoy? Individuals, families and groups are invited to make a commitment to a space at camp and return throughout the length of the commitment to work on that plot of earth, building or area.

The possibilities are nearly endless. Consider weeding and pruning the Rustic Chapel, painting the little hidden deck near Oak Lodge, or cleaning the Craft Grotto. Thinking bigger? Take on a building (a cottage) or a series of them (the cabins in Fish Ridge). All our buildings would appreciate some extra TLC! Over the decades, volunteers have been a significant piece of the ministry of DuBois Center.

With limited maintenance hours in general, and especially during the COVID-19 shut-down, there is a significant need for willing and able workers. Currently we have projects for individuals, family groups and small teams who agree to follow camp rules related to wearing masks and practicing good physical distancing. For more information, contact us at dcinfo@DuBoisCenter.org or 618- 787-2202.

Embrace a Space 2Embrace a Space 3

The Great Escape

The horses at DuBois Center are the most memorable part of camp for many. Some past campers, who are now in their 40s and 50s, can remember the names of their favorites and even which ones they rode each year. We love them, but just like children, they can be mischievous.

Last Sunday morning, a neighbor called to alert us of “The Great Escape.” The herd was found enjoying a leisurely Sunday morning brunch in our north fields. The fields, which had been freshly cut and baled, presented a smorgasbord too tempting to resist. Calls were made to semi-local camp staff and volunteers, and the horses were soon back inside the safety of our fences.

THANKS to Josh, Ryan and Tom for their extra effort!

Rustic Playing Field: Volunteers Making a Difference

You may recall that in November, a strange sink hole was discovered in the Rustic Village. That sink hole was actually the old septic tank caving in on itself. In early July, a new septic tank, connecting pipes and drain field were installed. The work left a large portion of the playing field unusable… at least for playing.

Rustic Playing FieldLast week property committee member and volunteer Mark Beckmeyer loaded up his tiller, some seed and fertilizer and spent a steamy day at DuBois Center. Knowing the critical need for a good, flat playing surface, he did most of the work in twos. First, he fertilized the ground in one direction and then in the other. Next, he tilled the area; then harrowed it – again going in one direction and then the other. Two passes with the push seeder came next and then another two full rounds of harrowing. The field looks amazing. Now we wait for gentle rains.

THANKS to Mark and all our volunteers and donors! We couldn’t do it without you!

Fall Programming – The Decision

Last week, with a heavy heart, we announced the postponement of our fall programming to 2021. On Monday August 17, the ISC Conference Council, with full support of the Outdoor Ministries Team, voted unanimously to postpone all in-person retreats and events sponsored by DuBois Center and/or the Illinois South Conference through the end of 2020. This includes the ISC Confirmation Retreats, Nature’s Classroom, Mother-Daughter Retreat and Wrangle & Ride.

Our first priority is the health and safety of our campers, guests and staff. As COVID-19 cases rise steadily throughout our region and a number of schools are reacting and adapting to cases among students and teachers, it is clear that to proceed would not be the cautious or sensible approach. We will continue to welcome small groups and families to camp for overnights, select activities and work projects, as long as they are willing to follow strict safety protocols related to the COVID virus.

For more information contact us at 618-787-2202 or dcinfo@DuBoisCenter.org.