An Excellent Start – Volunteers Still Needed

Already it has been a fabulous summer at DuBois Center. After a complete shutdown last summer, we all pulled together to be able to give over 200 children and youth the “DuBois experience” through summer camps. This would not have been possible without the extra networking support we received from you in regards to staffing for the summer season. While we have had enough staff to cover all of the responsibilities thus far, as we look to the remaining camps and retreats we will offer in the weeks ahead, we are still in need of additional volunteers to enhance the experience of our campers and guests.

Specifically, we would like to have some more volunteer counselors (both male and female) for July 11th through July 17th. We would also like to have a few more lifeguards for July 23rd through July 31st. Extra volunteers would allow certain staff and counselors to get more breaks than they have had. It would also alleviate the incredible workload of our new Director, Hayley Elliott, who has jumped in and moved mountains to make sure we were able to open the camp this summer and offer the life-changing camp experience to so many. Please help us share the word that these volunteers are still needed. All persons must be at least 18 years old for these positions.

For all who are interested in helping DuBois Center continue to be a place of extravagant welcome for all of God’s children, please reach out directly to Hayley Elliot at or call or text Hayley on her direct line at 828-707-4022.

Again thank you for your continued support of DuBois Center.
Rev. Shana Johnson, ISC Conference Minister

The Magic of DuBois Center

by Becky Harrison, Secretary at St. Paul UCC, Lebanon

It was scheduled for Sunday, May 2, 2021. A Jr/Sr High Youth outing to DuBois Center. Lot’s of planning and effort went in to picking a date (no small task), coordinating with DuBois Center staff, deciding on a mission project (thank you, Nancy Wagner), gathering supplies, and coordinating a worship and communion service with Pastor Don. Kids and parents alike were so looking forward to getting back to DuBois, or going for the first time. Weather forecasters predicted a comfortable, sunny day, so all was right with the world . . . until a few days later. The forecast changed dramatically from warm and sunny to cool, overcast and rainy. All the planning in the world couldn’t keep the weather from changing. Then, a couple of people had to cancel. Drat!

When the day finally came, I felt excited, but anxious. Had I remembered everything? Were we going to get all the way down there and get rained out? Were the kids going to bored? Were the adults going to be bored? Could the weather have cooperated—at the very least? Was any of this worth the effort? Should I just stay home and take a nap?

After a 1/2 hour delay getting started due to a miscommunication on my part (another sign, perhaps?) we pressed on, and forty-five minutes later we pulled into the entrance of DuBois Center and saw the sign above welcoming our group. We parked, unloaded our haul and made the short walk to Oak Lodge. Inside the lodge, we parked the wagon full of cleaning supplies, our coolers full of goodies for lunch, and I gave a brief rundown of the plans for the day, still wondering what important items I surely had forgotten. Everyone took a moment to get settled in and visit the facilities before we got ready for lunch and the rest of the day’s activities.

BubblesAfter taking a moment to let out a big sigh of relief, I walked through one of the back doors of the lodge leading out to the huge covered patio. As soon as that screen door “whapped” shut behind me and I had a moment to look out over the lake, it happened. With each step I took, it felt like 50 lb. weights fell off of my shoulders. The anxiety fell away, my aggravation at local weather forecasters fell away, if I forgot something—who cared? That, my friends, is the magic of DuBois Center—in the nutshell. No matter how stressed and anxious I am, no matter how irritating highway drivers were on the trip down, no matter all of the other unpleasant things going on in life, it all just melts away when I step on that back porch!

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Camp Schedule

Days at DuBois Center are filled with fun, laughter and a variety of activities. Our camp sessions have lots in common, including many classic camp activities. A number of these can be adapted for different age groups. Some however, such as archery and canoeing, are reserved for older campers.

Click here to see the schedule.

What Pride Month and Camp Have in Common

Every year in June, we celebrate Pride month, a special time to recognize the lives, achievements, and history of the LGBTQIA+ community. I first attended a pride event in 2014, when I was not quite “out of the closet” and was longing for a place to be included – a theme we explore in our summer camp curriculum “This is Our Prayer”. What I found at this event was shocking to me – I learned that I was part of a community that was celebrating their wholeness, accepting people wherever they were on their journeys, and telling the world that they would no longer be treated as second class citizens simply for being who they were created to be. For many years, I had struggled with a cognitive misperception of Pride, believing fully that “pride goes before the fall”. What I have learned in my continued journey as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community is that the Pride we celebrate has nothing to do with arrogance, but instead is about rejecting the shame that many of us were taught to feel about the people that we are. Pride is about celebrating our stories, and the immovability of our community.

At my first pride event, I realized that feeling of acceptance for being exactly who I am had been rare in my life up until that point, but that the first place I had ever felt it was summer camp. Camp allows kids the space to bring their goofy, whole selves to every activity, conversation, and cabin. In a world that can sometimes shame kids for their curiosity and behavior that does not conform to a societal “norm”, camp is a place where we celebrate each other’s quirkiness.

I am forever grateful that I stumbled into that first pride event in 2014, and that I found open and affirming churches shortly thereafter with whom to attend Pride events every year since. I am also grateful to spend Pride month in 2021 at DuBois Center, celebrating every camper that comes through our gate.

At DuBois Center, we are working each day to build a more comprehensively inclusive environment. From frank conversations including subjects from the way things have been named in the past that may create exclusion to planning for a busy Rainbow Camp on August 7, we are looking forward to leveling up our inclusive practices.

I am looking forward to joining you all in the journey toward celebrating the wholeness of God’s human creations!

Hayley Elliott, Acting Director.

Rainbow Camp 2021 registration is open!

Rainbow Camp will be Saturday, Aug 7 at DuBois Center, from 9 am-7 pm. It’s a full day, and you can be as active or as relaxed as you like. We’ve got everything from horseback riding and archery to pontoon rides and crafts in the craft grotto overlooking the lake.

Rainbow Camp was started for LGBTQ+ folks and straight allies. This year, we extend a special invitation to neurodivergent folks to join us, too. Everyone is welcomed as a whole child of God at DuBois Center.

Register now or later by going to and clicking the Register button.  Search for Rainbow Camp under Day Camps.

Secure the early bird rate by registering before July 18.

Rainbow Camp is a whole lot of fun in the sun – come join the party. Click here for a flyer.

Camp Names

When we are born, our parents give us the name that they see for us. Sometimes, those names are passed down through a family. Sometimes, it is the gut feeling they have. For my family, my parents workshopped the name “Hannah” for me throughout my parents’ pregnancy, and when I was born, they decided to go with “Hayley” instead, thinking that it fit a little better of who I was becoming before their eyes.

For some of us, the name and identity we were assigned at birth do not sit well as we begin to develop, so we choose a different name. For some of us, we choose to take or hyphenate our spouses’ name upon marriage. All in all, it is not very often that we engage in the practice of choosing our own names.

At camp, our staff go through a renaming process, where each gets to live into a chosen name. Some of them come from legends and jokes; some of them come from hobbies and interests; and some of them choose us. For example, I became “StingRey” as I was first stung by a bee at an open house event at DuBois Center. I think stingrays are cool animals, and Rey from Star Wars is one of my favorite movie characters of all time.

We welcome Fog, Nala, Kermit, Bubbles, Ringo, Thunder, Gizmo, and Lemon to our counselor team this summer, and welcome Sharkbait, Simba, Mango, and Kiwi to our leadership team!

Campers are here!

This week, we welcome Just You and Me, Horsin’ Around, and Quest to DuBois Center! Campers will engage in horse activities, Blast, fun on the water, archery, creek walks, and more while they spend their week here. We are actively working to make sure our campers enjoy a safe, fun summer!

We still have some slots available for campers to enjoy DuBois Center this summer, so register online today!

Simba and Mango

Reflections on New Things

If you had told me a few months ago that in the span of about seven weeks I would begin a new job and jump through what felt like one million hoops to re-open a camp that had been closed due to our global pandemic, I am quite certain I would not have believed you.

It is not that I shy away from hard work or that I do not see its value. It is that I am not often one to sacrifice what is safe and familiar for what is risky and difficult. In my life, I have been an example of what to do, and what not to do, when God calls you to a new thing. What I have learned in the last seven weeks, as I sprinted toward the “finish line” of being legally allowed to open camp this summer, has been that sometimes what we are called to do and be in our world does not come easily.

As we successfully transition into our new summer dynamic, I encourage all to ask what it is that God has called you out of your state of familiarity to do. I have personally always found the end goal to be worth the risk.

I hope to see you this summer at DuBois Center, and that you and your family enjoy God’s abundant love this summer! – Hayley Elliott, Acting Director of Outdoor Ministry

Summer staff has arrived!

On May 26, our summer staff began staff training at DuBois Center. We have been diligently cleaning the property, team building, readying the waterfront, and training on diversity, group development, and first aid scenarios. We can’t wait to welcome you back to DuBois Center starting Sunday, June 6! Camp names have been chosen, cabins assigned, and mattresses cleaned. We will see you this summer at DuBois Center!

Registration is open!

We still have room in many of our early camps for your campers of many ages to join us! While many of our camps are now full, we still have room for your campers in Settler, X-Plore, Splash, Trail Mix, Nature’s Lab, Saddle ‘Em Up, and other camps!

Scholarships are available on a first come, first served basis through our registrar’s office at 618-357-1809 or

We hope to see you this summer at DuBois Center!