Mother-Daughter Retreat – October 15–17

Mother-Daughter Retreat

Our annual Mother-Daughter Retreat is planned for October 15 – 17, 2021. Come and enjoy quality time with your family. Activities include archery, canoeing, crafts, a hayride, campfire, hiking, pontoon boat rides, and horseback riding. Registration information is coming soon, so start making plans to attend now!

Many thanks to our Summer Camp Coordinator Team

Coordinator team

Thank you to our coordinator team – (first row left to right in photo) Olivia Cruthis, Bailey Avise-Rouse, Rylee Hodges-Stone, and Catie Goetter, and (second row left) Ryan Goetter for coming out to power wash, scrub, and move equipment. More importantly, we are grateful to them for making sure we could serve more than 350 campers this summer at DuBois Center! Without their hard work and dedication, this summer could not have been successful. Thank you for your many efforts!

Hayley Elliott (in photo second row right), Acting Director of Outdoor Ministry

Rainbow Camp and thoughts on marking a change in season

Canoes2

We were lucky to welcome the Sixth Rainbow Camp to DuBois Center on Saturday, August 7. From activities like horseback riding, archery, crafting and canoeing to conversations at a shared table, more than 40 of us enjoyed a day of fellowship, nature, the taste of the first honey from the DuBois Center bees, and camp fun. We look forward to welcoming even more people to Rainbow Camp in 2022 as we continue to draw the circle of God’s love ever wider.

HoneyTrail ride2

Rainbow Camp 2021

Our Rainbow Camp coincided with our coordinator wrap up of the season, where our summer leadership team comes to debrief and do the manual tasks associated with transitioning from summer to fall. These moments of transition are always bittersweet when you are a year-round camp director. On the one hand, you get to really sleep for the first time in almost three months. On the other, you are saying goodbye (for now) to people who have profoundly impacted you despite only knowing them for a short time. I’d like to share a brief excerpt from our closing circle at Rainbow Camp. While words fail to express my gratitude for your hospitality, I hope you hear it in the spaces between the words.

“One of my favorite things about outdoor ministry is that, over time as you move through a space, it begins to move through you. And so, Rainbow Camp is also the close of our summer season. It’s been 4 months and two days (but who is counting) since I started as Acting Director for Outdoor Ministry. I find it difficult to really put into words the way this space has moved through me this summer. In a large part, I find it difficult because in addition to the beautiful place, it is also these beautiful people who have had this profound impact on me. When you ask an individual to do all the things that are required to reopen a camp, the result is chaos and failure. But when you ask a team to do it? You experience a summer like the one we have had. Sure, things were often haywire; we were understaffed; things could’ve easily fallen apart at any moment; but instead, now we are here, in this beautiful moment, celebrating not only our camp community, but my community as well. I wasn’t sure as an out, loud, queer person what this job might be like, but with a staff like the one we have, who were endlessly supportive and adaptable, even the hardest moments felt joyful, peaceful, important. It is this sort of connectivity and love reflected in my staff that reminds me of the best experiences I have had as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. That moment when everything has fallen apart, but your chosen family picks up the pieces, that’s what camp, and being a queer person, is for me. So, I want to say thank you, whether you’ve shared this space with me for months, or you’ve just been here in this space today. I hope it moved you. I hope it changed you. And I hope you leave feeling a little better than you did when you got here.”

Hayley Elliott, Acting Director of Outdoor Ministry

More photos from the cabins at Deer Run

Deer Run Cabin 3

A few weeks ago, we reported how Tom Krueger chose DuBois Center to complete his Eagle Scout project on July 17-18.  Tom is part of the Troop 320 sponsored by Columbia St. Paul UCC, Scout Leader, Chris Neumann. Because of his efforts and 23 volunteers, the three cabins at Deer Run are now ADA compliant. Kudos Tom and friends. We thought you would like to see more photos of all the help needed to complete the project.

If you would like to volunteer time or resources to aid us in continuing to increase the accessibility of our property and program, please reach out or watch the Weekly Connection and the DuBois Center website/Facebook Page for information on how to volunteer in the future.

Deer Run Cabin 4Deer Run Cabin 6

Welcome to Camp Phoenix!

Camp Phoenix

We are excited to welcome Camp Phoenix at DuBois Center this week! Camp Phoenix is the camp of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. They have been a community partner for many years and have extended an extremely kind and heartfelt welcome to me as the new acting director! We are grateful to be the site for their excellent work in outdoor ministry for youth within their diocese.

Please join us in praying for their campers, leadership, and all involved in the fantastic ministry of Camp Phoenix!

Hayley Elliott, Acting Director of Outdoor Ministry.

Recognizing our Kitchen and Maintenance Staff

Kitchen staff

In the world of summer camps, there are often very public personalities, but it’s the behind-the-scenes jobs that keep us all afloat. We could not have had a successful summer season without our kitchen staff, led by Jason Pauley our Food Service Coordinator, and our maintenance team, Tom and Josh. We are so grateful for those that choose to serve our camp with their various talents and skills.

If you would like to send the kitchen staff or the maintenance team a thank you card, mail can be received for them at our camp address.

Eagle Scout Project Complete

Deer Run Cabin

Thanks to Tom Krueger for choosing to complete an Eagle Scout Project on site – building ADA ramps at the Deer Run Cabins! Continuing to increase the accessibility of our site is just one way we live out our call to welcome all people to enjoy God’s creation here at DuBois Center! Tom and a crew completed this project on Saturday, July 17. Thank you, Tom!

If you would like to volunteer time or resources to aid us in continuing to increase the accessibility of our property and program, please reach out or watch the Weekly Connection and the DuBois Center website/Facebook Page for information on how to volunteer in the future.
Deer Run Cabin

Thanks to our volunteers!

Volunteers

In a summer like no other, many folks stepped up to help us pull off the incredible camp programming we have accomplished this summer. Over 350 youth were able to come to camp this summer, many of whom did not get to go to a camp in 2020. So many folks have given one, two, three, and even four weeks of their time to support the mission of DuBois Center and support us in this unprecedented summer. It has truly been an honor to watch those who love this camp come through for our programs this year and choose to be here. From the bottom of my heart, thank you! Thank you for answering our calls.

If you or someone you know loves youth, nature, crafts, swimming, or horses, consider joining us as a volunteer or staff member in 2022!

Praise for Our Summer Staff’s Efforts

Sawdust

When you become a part of a new organization, it is often difficult to determine what the “backbone” of support for that organization is. Often, the backbone shifts depending on the situation. In an unprecedented time, a small but mighty team of 13 individuals said, “I’m in!” to making summer camp happen for our campers this year. Faced with the challenge of being about 7 staff members too short, and many other challenges that come with reopening a facility after almost two years, they have maintained incredible attitudes, displayed remarkable flexibility, and perhaps most importantly, displayed God’s Kindness, Love, and Inclusion to the youth of our churches and area.

Joined by many volunteers, they have served over 200 youth at our camps, helped secure new business by extending welcome and kindness to guest groups on site, and even done many manual labor tasks around the property as needed. They have done this all while following our guidelines to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread at our facility and helping keep our campers and their families safe. If you know someone who is on our 2021 summer staff or has given a week of their time to volunteer and assist us in pulling off this unprecedented summer, please send them your gratitude! They have taught me many lessons this summer in having grace under pressure and living into our most flexible natures. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

Photo shows counselors from left to right Kermit (aka Leah Hill), SharkBait (aka Ryan Goetter), and Minnow (aka Bailey Avise-Rouse). They are shoveling sawdust to replace dirty sawdust which had been removed from the barn stalls.

Blessings,

Hayley Elliott, Acting Director of Outdoor Ministries