DuBois Center Awakens

Girl Scouts

On Saturday, March 27, DuBois Center sponsored their first events since March of last year. The Girls Scouts of Southern Illinois, under the leadership of Anne Townsend, brought small groups out to the camp for their “My Brownie, My Pony and Me” and “Mommy and Me Paint a Pony” day programs. They have had these programs on their calendar for a year, hoping we might be able to accommodate them this spring. Thanks to the amazing work of the Outdoor Ministry Team in creating good safety protocols and procedures, to the Horse Team who generously volunteered their time and leadership, and to amazing DuBois staff members, the day was a big success.

Anne shared some of the comments she heard from the event:

  • “This was one of the best-organized events I have ever gone to. My girls had a blast!”
  • “My girls had so much fun they don’t want to leave. Do you want to keep them here?”
  • “My daughter has autism and ADHD. She has a hard time interacting in a group setting and sometimes is disconnected, but not today and while she was around the horse. She and I would love to come back and do more programs like this. Today was one of the few days where I got to see my daughter shine.”

While this past year has been a difficult year for DuBois Center with countless hours the Conference leaders have spent in designing several contingency plans for programming and creating best practices in order that groups might be able to enjoy DuBois Center this spring and summer, it has been completely worth it!!

Please continue to hold your camp, DuBois Center, in your thoughts and prayers. With your support, we know we can bounce back from this past year even stronger and ready to give everyone who experiences DuBois Center a sense of the special, sacred space it is.

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Welcome Back!

Welcome sign

The Executive Committee has voted to officially reopen the DuBois Center grounds on April 19, 2021. Visitors, work groups and individual volunteers can call to get on the calendar after this date. Safety measures will still be in place, including masks and social distancing.

We’ve come this far through the pandemic, and we’re rounding the last turn toward the finish line. Stay tuned for more summer plans at DuBois Center.

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Join us for Open Houses! We’d love to see you!

Welcome!

We have scheduled our first open house for April 25th from 1-6pm!  This would be a great way to visit camp for a while and see what we are doing to prepare for the summer! We will have volunteers on hand to show you around and to explain our evolving procedures for our summer programs.  Feel free to bring a picnic along as we will have designated areas to lounge and relax with your family!

We are asking for reservations, so please let us know if you will be there! Email to DCInfo@duboiscenter.org to get on the list! If we fill up, we have a back-up day scheduled in May.

We’re Looking for a Few Good Horses

Horses

As we prepare for Summer Camp, we want to add two or three horses to our herd. We’re hoping someone out there knows of a horse or two that might be a good fit for camp that could be donated or purchased at a reasonable cost.

Here’s what we are looking for:

  • Reliable kid-safe trail horses – walk, trot and canter with good brakes.
  • Not too young and not too old – our preference is for horses between 5 and 15 years old.
  • Large and sturdy – at least 15 hands tall and well built. They will often be carrying children, but they also need to be able to carry large adults.
  • Healthy, easy keepers – our herd spends much of their time living naturally in our pastures and woods. No horses with special dietary or health needs.
  • Good temperament – they will be working with kids much of the time and need to be patient and easy-going.
  • No bad habits – no bucking, rearing or cribbing

If you know a horse that is available and might be a good camp horse, contact Scott Kuether at sekuether21@gmail.com.

Exciting News

Hayley Elliot

The Search Committee and the Executive Committee are pleased to announce the Illinois South Conference has extended a two-year contract with Hayley Elliott for the position of Acting Director of Outdoor Ministry. After an extensive search process which included: Zoom interviews; submissions of candidates’ faith journeys and personal theology; a strategic plan of staffing, programming, finances, and partnerships for the coming year at DuBois Center; checking candidates’ professional references; and an onsite tour of DuBois, the Search Committee unanimously recommended Hayley to serve as the Acting Director of Outdoor Ministry.

Hayley Elliott was born and raised in West Virginia, where love of nature and earth were instilled in her from a young age. She spent most of her formative summers at church camp and has fond memories of learning to swim, making friends, playing games, and learning the importance of faith formation in this setting. As she grew up, she began volunteering at camp and eventually became a camp counselor.

Hayley received a B.S. in Business Administration from Mars Hill University. Her undergraduate capstone project was related to the digital and social marketing of camps and how to reach new audiences and form new partnerships. After completing undergraduate studies, Hayley entered Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville, where she completed an MTS (Master of Theological Studies) degree. While in divinity school, Hayley furthered her commitment to youth education by working at a local elementary and middle school as the lead counselor in their afterschool and summer programs.

After graduating from Vanderbilt Divinity School, Hayley and her wife, Rachel, moved to Denver, Colorado so that Rachel could complete a yearlong CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) residency. During this time, Hayley worked full time as an anti-money laundering analyst while maintaining an additional role as a co-director for youth and children at Sixth Avenue UCC and sharing her gifts at LaForet Conference and Retreat Center, the Rocky Mountain Conference’s camp.

Hayley is very passionate about outdoor ministry within the United Church of Christ and excited about the future of caring for God’s creation and extending God’s extravagant welcome at DuBois Center!

Hayley will begin her new ministry with us on Monday, April 5, 2021. In the meantime, the Outdoor Ministry Team has done a phenomenal job creating staffing-, programming-, and safety-contingency plans to hold programming this summer in some form at DuBois Center with summer staff onsite to welcome children, youth, and adults to experience what makes DuBois Center such a special and sacred space.

The Illinois South Conference sincerely thanks the Search Committee for the time and energy they spent in prayerful and Spirit-led discussions, deliberations, and decisions.

Its members were:

  • Craig Bielke, Illinois South Conference member at large and leader of Conference-wide youth retreats held at DuBois Center
  • Hank Henderson, representative of the Personnel Committee of the Conference and member of St. John UCC, Trenton, Illinois
  • Rachel Kinzinger, representative of the Outdoor Ministry Team of the Conference and former staff member of DuBois Center
  • Nancy Wagner, current chairperson of the Outdoor Ministry Team of the Conference and member of St. Paul UCC, Lebanon, IL
  • Dr. Jill Baker, ex-officio member and Moderator of the Illinois South Conference
  • Rev. Shana Johnson, ex-officio member and Conference Minister of the Illinois South Conference

We can’t wait for you to meet Hayley soon!!