Note: Project order will be determined by availability of materials and funds.
Contact United Church Funds at 212-729-2628 or email@example.com to learn how to donate IRA distributions and stock to DuBois 6.0. Dates and more information on the Taste of DuBois dinners will be coming in early 2022.
Many of you have known me my whole life, but allow me to introduce myself. I’m Rylee Hodges-Stone and I grew up at DuBois Center. I’m now serving as Program Director and I’ve spent the off-season months reevaluating, revamping and creating programs. We’re now offering updated versions of popular middle-school specialty camps for high school age campers, we’re bringing some beloved camp themes back out of retirement, and we’re finding every way we can to better utilize our magnificent site with every activity.
Here is a picture of me at DuBois Center as a brand-new half-week camper. I was granted special exception to attend camp a year earlier than my grade level would allow. I begged my pastor, the late Gretchen Sterrett of New Baden Zion UCC, to write a letter explaining that I was the oldest kid in my class, and that I was certainly “mature enough to go.” She cut a deal with me: if I would work the chili and fish dinners to earn my camp scholarship, she’d get me in. I kept up my end of the deal, serving lemonade and helping with dishes at what must have been ten thousand dinners, and she kept up her end and got me into my home, The DuBois Center, just in the nick of time.
From deal-cutting half-weeker to dedicated horse camper to barn assistant to coordinator and now to Program Director, I’ve never lost my drive to serve all the lemonade it takes to get the job done. In this new position of management, I’ve created a goal for my staff: to better utilize staff training time, with a clear focus on establishing relationships, creating a strong love for DuBois Center and learning how to work as a team. This time needs to be spent fully devoted to certifying our staff on the key skills that are required every day of summer session. It’s crucial that we spend this limited time facilitating our staff’s familiarization with the site, the equipment, the job and the team – and maintain the flexibility to adapt to our diverse staff’s needs.
Even after this densely packed training ends, for seven weeks straight our staff members spend an average of 130 of the 168 hours in a week at DuBois Center. This leaves less than 48 hours for all personal needs to be met between sessions – this is a huge ask of every summer staff member and we owe it to them to do all we can to set them up for success. Our staff deserves excellent support because they work hard to create excellent experiences for our campers: summer camp is often the best week of a camper’s entire year.
2020 was not only our first year out of operation in decades, it also marked the departure of Shirley Asmussen, the long-serving director I had known as a camper. With all the chaos, it’s no wonder that many tasks have piled up – and they have piled up higher than our staff can handle without your help. Our summer staff arrive ready to fully commit to facilitating a safe and fun experience for each and every DuBois Center camper – your assistance with these tasks in the coming months means directly supporting our staff’s ability to keep their attention focused on the campers. I am asking for your help. Volunteer assistance with site preparation is needed before we can open for the 2022 Summer Session.
I’ve scheduled a volunteer day and a volunteer retreat for the spring of 2022:
April 23rd – Volunteer Day
May 21st – 22nd – overnight Volunteer Retreat
All of the work can be done at an entry-level skill set, no special expertise or tools necessary – if you can push a broom, pull a weed, or dust a cobweb, we need your help! Ready to pitch in?
I love DuBois Center. I loved being a camper, and it means the world to me to be able to welcome new generations of campers, and even second and third generation campers back to our camp for fun, adventure, worship, and growth. We all need each other, and right now we need you. DuBois Center is so unique among area camp facilities for its strong legacy of families, communities and congregations working together to “pay it forward” and keep our doors and arms open.
I invite you to remind yourself why DuBois Center is a part of your life, to be in God’s place and help set up another generation of great camper experiences. Anyone that wants to help DuBois Center is welcome.
Best, DuBois Center Program Director, Rylee Hodges-Stone
If you receive an automatic IRA distribution that you don’t need for living expenses, perhaps from an inherited IRA, please consider donating it to the DuBois 6.0 capital campaign this year.
We have already received close to $39,000 of the $225,290 needed to complete the 17 projects included in this campaign. The Oak Lodge air conditioning project is almost finished, and three other projects are just waiting on some materials and volunteers to finish them. The second round of projects needs to start soon, some of which includes work on the Deer Run shower house and lodge, moving the archery range and building a new bouldering wall. These projects will add tent camping capacity and programming activities to the 2022 summer camp season. Your donations will make a big difference in getting these done in the first quarter of the year.
If you would like to donate an IRA distribution to DuBois 6.0, please contact Matt Wagner with United Church Funds at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
In this new year we pray that optimism and hope springs forth from winter’s quiet evenings.
We look forward to the laughter of children that is to come on our grounds this year. We look forward to fellowship, discipleship, simplicity, and community.
We pray for Your guidance as we endeavor on new efforts and navigate change.
We also understand the truth written by Meister Eckhart long ago: “God is not found in the soul by adding anything but by subtracting.” May we all find You in a distractible world by taking the time to subtract – distractions, egos, and all that stands in the way of knowing and loving You, and knowing and loving our neighbors on Your earth.
We seek to serve You and to serve others well.
And we pray for all those who come into contact with our ministry this year. May they see You in our work and in our hearts. Amen.
Because we affirm the value of all God’s people, the Illinois South Conference of the United Church of Christ does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, ability, national origin, religious background, sexual orientation, or gender identity. To the extent possible, we endeavor to accommodate those with a variety of physical, mental, emotional, medical, or dietary needs.