Welcome Back to your Camp and Retreat Center!


Excitement is in the air as DuBois Center is experiencing a re-awakening!

The Outdoor Ministry Team is hosting an OPEN HOUSE on Sunday, April 25th between the hours of 1pm – 6pm. You are cordially invited to come see what’s happening at YOUR camp!

Advanced reservations are required to attend by contacting 618-787-2202 or dcinfo@DuBoisCenter.org.

For your safety, temperatures will be taken upon arrival. Face masks and physical distancing will be required. Hand sanitizing and washing stations will be available.

Enjoy these possibilities:

  • Come meet Hayley Elliott, our new Acting Director of Outdoor Ministry, Illinois South Conference UCC
  • Take a hike out to Deer Run for a tour of the recent cabin renovations
  • Visit the barn to say hello to your favorite horses – they’ve missed you!
  • Take a peek inside one of our cottages
  • Drop by the 2021 Summer Camp information booth for a schedule and description of sessions
  • Take a selfie at one of the “Picture Yourself at DuBois” photo spots
  • Bring a lunch or a snack from home to enjoy at one of our physically-distanced picnic areas (no food or drinks will be available for purchasing on site)

Click here for a flier to share.

Hello and Greetings from DuBois Center!

Hayley Elliot

As I spent my first days on site at DuBois Center over the last weekend, I could not help but be reminded of one of my favorite poems by Wendell Berry, “The Peace of Wild Things”, which reads:

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

I remain encouraged that in this time of unrest and uncertainty that DuBois Center offers something to our slice of the world that is always needed: rest, and the peace of wild things.

If you are interested in becoming more involved with the ministry of DuBois Center, now is a great time! We have many ongoing projects as we prepare for a summer quite unlike any other, including ways to be involved as a volunteer, staff member, or as a financial donor. One ongoing project is the office remodel, details of which are located on our website.

Lastly, I hope that many of you will be able to come out for our open house on April 25 so that I can meet you and we can celebrate what God is doing at and through DuBois Center. Details for this event are on the website.  Register by emailing DCInfo@duboiscenter.org.

I pray you experience the abundant blessings of creation and Creator in the coming week!

Hayley Elliott, Acting Director of Outdoor Ministry.

Our New Acting Director of Outdoor Ministry Is Here!

Hayley arrival

On Friday, April 9, Hayley Elliott, our new Acting Director of Outdoor Ministry officially moved into the Director’s House at DuBois Center. She and her wife were greeted by members of OMT and the Property Committee when they arrived. When they began to get settled, they also discovered many hearts and hands had come together to make the house feel like home.

A big thank you to everyone who served as the welcoming team. A special thank you to Mueller Furniture in Belleville, Illinois, and Dave and Sue Hoffman for providing a new couch, a kitchen table with chairs, and two recliners for the Director’s House at DuBois Center.

CouchTable and chairs







Plan your Summer Camp Adventures now!

sc page collage

The wait is over. Start planning your DuBois summer camp adventures now. Just starting out? An introductory camp like Camp Quest or Discovery Camp is a great first summer camp experience. Ready for a full week of fun? Horsin’ Around or X-Plore might be right up your alley. Want to experience camp along with your kids? Just You and Me or Family Camp might be the perfect get-away this summer. Get all the details on our Summer Camp schedule.

Registration: If you were registered for Summer Camp last year, we will reach out to you by email next week with instructions on how to re-register for camp this year. Online registration will open for everyone on April 26th.

Early-bird Discounts: Register early to Save $30 on full-week sessions and Save $15 on part-week sessions. Registration and deposit must be submitted online by Monday, May 10th.

If you are unable to join us in person this summer, DuBois Delivered! will come to you.

Hayley Is Here!

Hayley Elliot

Hayley Elliott has officially begun her two-year contract as 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!

And from all of us at Illinois South Conference… Welcome aboard!

Space to Put Our Best Foot Forward


The DuBois Center office needs your help to replace the DuBois Center office flooring so that the new Acting Director, Hayley Elliott can “put her best foot forward” in her new position at DuBois Center.

An office update, started in late 2017, needs to be finished. The Conference Property Committee has undertaken the lead on this project and identified these necessary updates:

  • Prepare and paint all interior walls and ceilings
  • Replace all ceiling light fixtures
  • Remove carpeting in one office
  • Level all floors
  • Install all new baseboard trim
  • Cover all floors with new laminated flooring

Currently the office has four types of flooring, of which all are not level from room to room. Some small areas might be old asbestos tiles and some areas are down to the sub-floor, as you can see in these photos.

Volunteers have offered to provide the labor to do everything except lay the new flooring. Dave Hoffmann, Co-Chair of the Property Committee, has secured a price of just under $9,000 for the new flooring materials and installation. The Conference Council Executive Committee has given approval for this work; however, we lack a big portion of the funds to start with the floor replacement. That’s where you come in – your donations, your intent to donate, or your skill in laying flooring is needed soon to “put our best foot forward” in welcoming Haley to the Illinois South Conference and DuBois Center.

Donations are welcomed from individuals, churches and/or their organizations. Checks can be sent to the ISC office at 1312 Broadway, Highland IL 62249 or donate online. Designate your donations to the DuBois Office Flooring Project.

If your group plans to donate or raise money to donate to this, please contact Julie at 618-357-1809 or email jriechmann@iscucc.org.

If you or your group have experience with this type of work and want to volunteer to help, contact one of the ISC Property Co-Chairs: Priscilla Self at 618-318-0083 or pjj48@hotmail.com or Dave Hoffmann at 618-791-7002 or davehoff95@gmail.com.

Thank you very much for your support.


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.

Girl Scouts2Girl Scouts3

Girl Scouts4

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.

Pontoon boatSunset

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


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


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.