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!!

Winter Greetings from DuBois Center!



While the temperatures are cold and Cabin Fever is starting to set in, you can rest assured that we are feverishly planning our summer possibilities with full expectations to be able to serve you this summer!

What does this mean?

We are currently making preliminary provisions to offer in-person summer camps complete with many, if not all, of your favorite activities! After having to take last summer off, we know that many of you are more than eager to get back to your camp!

After all, this is your camp. Since 1965, we have been here for you. Each and every one of us has memories deeply embedded in the fabric that ties DuBois Center together. Even when we weren’t able to be in person last year, we were still here for you.

For 2021, we have up to four, yes four, potential options that offer DuBois Center in different lights — all contingent on the needs of the people, state of the current health situations, and governing authorities.

Plan A

First and foremost, our Plan A includes in-person summer camp options! If all goes to plan, we could begin welcoming summer campers the week of June 6. Exciting, right? Of course, we will have additional plans and protocols in place for enhanced safety measures. While our mission is to see all of our campers again, we need to be sure we can do that safely and effectively.

While we do have Plans B, C, and D on paper, we wanted to share with you now that Plan A is what we are aiming for and Plan A is in person!

Final details will be a bit delayed as we are having to adjust with the ever-changing climate, but please continue to look for emailed updates like this. Our website is also being revamped as we speak to ensure it has the most helpful and up-to-date information as possible. If we ever have to ‘toggle’ our focus from Plan A to anything else, our website will have the details you need.

Check In With Us!

If you are anxiously waiting for a mailed brochure, or at least something brochure-like, you are in luck! While we will be mailing summer promotions and schedules a bit later than normal, you should still receive mailed postcards from us in early spring! These postcards will highlight what we hope to offer and to provide you with something to stick on your fridge to remember us by!

Please follow us online, at www.DuBoisCenter.org for the most current information we have. Also, our Facebook and Instagram feeds are continually going as well. If you need to contact us, our phone number is the same at 618-787-2202, you may also email to DCinfo@DuBoisCenter.org.



DuBois Property Policy during this transition time…


Please note: The Conference Council has closed the DuBois Center grounds to everyone except maintenance and animal care staff until such time as a new Acting Director is hired. While we have people on the grounds, they cannot supervise visitors or do the COVID-level of cleaning required to host guests of any kind right now. This reduces liability and safety issues for both people and property. We all know and enjoy the beautiful campgrounds, and we expect to open them again very soon.

Spring and Summer Programming…


Although we will likely not have programming in the winter months, Outdoor Ministry Team along with Executive Committee, and Conference Council will be working together to determine the programming for late Spring and Summer months of this year. Although much will depend upon when we find the right person for the Acting Director’s position, we are committing to creating a Plan A, B, C and a variety of contingency plans. We know much like what we have all experienced together in the past year, there are many unknowns, and so we covet your patience, prayers, and support. But please know, we will also do our best to keep you up to date and informed about what is happening at YOUR camp.

And if you have questions, please ask. You can connect with the chair of our Outdoor Ministry Team, Nancy Wagner at nancywagner1958@gmail.com, the chair of Property Committee, Priscilla Self at pjj48@hotmail.com, our Conference Moderator, Dr. Jill Baker at jabaker5@aol.com, or our Conference Minister, Rev. Shana Johnson at sjohnson@iscucc.org.

The Search Begins…

Sneak peek

The Search Committee for the Acting Director has been named, has met and will soon be conducting interviews for the position. We are working hard to get the word out about this wonderful opportunity, and we welcome your help. If you know someone who might be interested in applying please reach out directly to our Conference Minister, Rev. Shana Johnson at sjohnson@iscucc.org.

DuBois Center Gift Certificates



CloverLooking for a unique gift for someone special in your life? Not sure you want to shop in a crowded mall or store this year?  Consider giving a gift certificate for a future DuBois Center experience.

About 13 years ago, Don and I began the tradition of giving an annual DuBois Center camp experience to each of our grandchildren. We love the opportunity to give them the chance to unplug, connect with nature, make new friends, learn new skills, and grow in their faith. The excitement in their eyes as they make their personal camp choice, their anticipation of going to camp, and hearing their enthusiasm about their camp experience is priceless!
Pastor Don & Nancy Wagner



RoadsideDuBois Center Gift Certificates are available in any amount. Adding an item from the camp store, such as a hat, plush toy, or water bottle, along with your special personal message, would make an attractive package which can be available for pick up or mailed to the address of your choice. For more information and details, please call: (618) 787-2202 or visit our website.

The Outdoor Ministry Team is busy putting plans in place to offer safe in-person camping experiences in 2021. Hope to see YOU there!

A Visit From St. Nick – Covid style

Merry Chritsmas towels

T’was just weeks before Christmas, when all through the town, not a person was stirring, morale was quite down.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, but with shopping a challenge, we feared they’d stay bare.

Children are adjusting to new daily grinds, with so much technology occupying their minds.

While sitting, relaxing in flannel and fleece, we ponder the question, When will this all cease?

When suddenly outside we heard a strange noise, we’ve missed having visitors, one of our joys.

Away to the window we opened the blind, but weren’t quite sure just who we might find.

The moon put its glow on the leaves on the ground, which made us amazed by what we just found.

Squinting our eyes with all of our forces, what we began to see was DuBois Center’s horses.

With Sharon, Bre, Scott, Sandy, and Larry, showing that horses are friendly and not at all scary.

With saddles & bridles, and walking so tame, they whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

“Now Thunder, now, Zephyr, now Cocoa and Apache! On, Clover, on Phoenix, on Sunny, and Classy!

Around the arena, and past all the bales, they trotted and trotted through all of the trails.

But that wasn’t all we spied with our eyes, there were other camp things adding to our surprise!

There are counselors leading campers on fun nature walks, and chaplains on hand for devotions and talks.

The lifeguards are ready to make swimming safe, and plenty of opportunities to grow in one’s faith.

Kids making new friends, while enjoying the sun, and yummy s’mores ‘round a campfire when the day is done.

There’s archery with bows and targets to hit, and exercise a plenty in the lively gaga pit.

No Chromebook, or cell phone for children to pack, but they sure enjoy GORP, a famous camp snack.

New songs, a cute skit, or learning meal graces, puts plenty of smiles on all the kid’s faces.

So, no need to worry, and no need to fret, no shopping mall necessary, the perfect gift we can get.

What does all this mean – perhaps a sign from above? We can give a camp experience to those that we love!

So that’s what was meant by this evening’s surprise sight, So, Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

© Nancy Wagner

Fall Festival Challenge Update

Winter Horse

Thank you for your most generous support of the DuBois Center 2020 Fall Festival Challenge. Being a major fundraiser for DuBois Center, we knew that the necessary cancellation of the annual Fall Festival due to COVID-19 safety concerns would produce a financial hardship. The negative impact was reduced thanks to the extravagant gifts of those of you who responded. A portion of the proceeds from this challenge has been used to purchase much needed helmets and saddle blankets for the vital ministry of our equestrian program.

Nancy Wagner, Outdoor Ministry Team Chairperson

Matthew 6:21: For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.