Getting to Know You!

Noah McCarn

We are excited to provide two “Meet and Greet” opportunities so you all can meet Noah McCarn, the new Executive Director of DuBois Center (photo right) in person. The first opportunity will be Sunday, March 5 from 3 pm to 5 pm at St. Jacob United Church of Christ in St. Jacob. It is always good to have a face with a name. Here’s your chance to do that with Noah.

The second “Meet and Greet” for Noah McCarn happens on Sunday, April 23 from 3 pm to 5 pm at DuBois Center. It will be more spring-like weather for this opportunity. You may meet Noah and Rylee Bernhardt, Program Director, (photo right) for DuBois Center AND tour the facility. There have been so many improvements to the space through your generosity in donations to DuBois 6.0. This is your chance to see the space and its caretakers. We hope to see you at one of the events.

We’re Looking for a Few Good Horses

As we prepare for Summer Camp, we want to add a couple 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, please contact Scott Kuether at

Exciting News for DuBois Center and The Illinois South Conference of the United Church of Christ

Noah McCarn

The Search Committee for the Executive Director is pleased to announce that Noah McCarn has accepted the position of Executive Director for DuBois Center.

After an extensive search process which included: Zoom interviews; submissions of a case study of how they would envision staffing, programming, finances, and partnerships for DuBois Center; checking candidates’ professional references; and an onsite tour of DuBois, the Search Committee unanimously voted to hire Noah as the next Executive Director of DuBois Center.

As the committee continued to be engaged in interviews and conversations with Noah, as well as conversations with those who knew him through our intensive reference checks, we discovered that Noah possessed the qualities we were most looking for in a leader who could help us live into a vision he has of DuBois Center, to be “A gathering place to experience community, unlike other places. A place where people can experience the kin-dom of God, in large and small ways, that they can take back into their lives.”

Noah is a calm, non-anxious presence who brings a team approach to his leadership, as he highly values collaboration and the personal well-being and development of the staff he leads. Noah is a deep thinker and person of faith who is deeply invested in eco-justice and the work of dismantling oppressive systems which do not allow all of God’s beloveds to be seen, heard, valued, and believed. Noah is a get-it-done kind of person, taking the incentive to do the research on how to get things done so that personal and shared deadlines and goals can be met.

Here is what Noah has to say about beginning his ministry at DuBois Center:

“It is an exciting and humbling experience to serve as the next Executive Director of the DuBois Center. As I begin to learn about the camp and talk with people about their camp experiences, I am continually amazed by the passion and love folks have for the DuBois Center.

My love and passion for camp began at a young age in my home state of North Carolina. I attended summer camp at Johns River Valley Camp, the camp associated with the Southern Conference of the UCC, located in the mountains of North Carolina. There, I first felt God’s presence in the company of fellow campers and the wild beings, and it has served as an experience foundational to my being.

After graduating college with degrees in Math and Computer Science and working as a software developer, I decided that working in a cubicle was not for me, so I moved to St. Louis to attend Eden Theological Seminary. While in seminary, I remembered my own camp experiences and became curious about the intersections of faith, Earth, and justice.

In the spring of 2020, I graduated from Eden Seminary in the early days of the pandemic and found jobs as a handyman and then at Human Support Services in Waterloo, IL, at one of their residential mental health facilities serving clients with mental illness.

While I greatly appreciate those experiences, I am grateful to be able to return to the work I am most passionate about. I am committed to creating an inclusive community where we all may grow together in our faith and know God knows us and is connected to one another and all that is.”

The Illinois South Conference sincerely thanks the Executive Director Search Committee for their time and energy in prayerful and Spirit-led discussions, deliberations, and decisions.

Its members were:

  • Priscilla Self, an at-large member of the committee, served as a co-chair of the Search Committee
  • Nicole Avise-Rouse, the current chair of the Conference Outdoor Ministry Team, served as a co-chair of the Search Committee.
  • Rev. Joan Mier, a current member of the Conference Personnel Committee, served as the chaplain of the Search Committee.
  • Rev. Philip Barbier, a current member of the Conference Outdoor Ministry Team, served as the secretary of the Search Committee.
  • Dr. Jill Baker, the current Moderator of the Conference, served as an ex-officio member of the Search Committee.
  • Rev. Shana Johnson, the Conference Minister, also served as an ex-officio member of the Search Committee.

Noah will be moving on-site soon and will officially begin his ministry on Monday, January 23, 2023.

We hope you will join us in welcoming Noah McCarn, the new Executive Director of DuBois Center, to the Illinois South Conference.

ISC Property Team needs your help

Camp DuBois has no hay shed to keep their round hay bales dry. Wet hay bales are prone to mold and bacteria which pose a serious health risk to the camp’s horses. An ISC family has generously offered to donate their 43×68 metal pole building to the camp. Our challenge is to find a company that will dismantle the building, move it to Camp DuBois, and reassemble it at the camp. If you know of such a company please contact one of the Property Team’s co-chairs, Roger Harris ( or 618-631-4502) or Mark Beckmeyer ( or 618-335-9945).

For Lightening Fast Speed

In consideration of the holidays, the fastest way to receive a response from DuBois Center involves a new process for snail mail, email, and donations.

To reach DBC via email use this email address

To send snail mail regarding DuBois Center, send to DuBois Center, c/o St. Peter UCC, PO Box 96, Okawville, IL 62271. Julie Riechmann, the ISC/DuBois Registrar, is processing mail and email from her office inside Okawville St. Peter UCC. Or you may send it directly to the Highland Office at Illinois South Conference, 1312 Broadway, Highland, IL 62249. Either of those ways will give you the quickest response from us.

Thanks to all the Fall Festival horse volunteers!

The ticket count shows that we provided 450 arena rides for our guests this year. That’s 1,350 laps of the arena over the six hours of Fall Festival. It takes a lot of people to make this happen smoothly and successfully. Our volunteers took tickets, fitted helmets, helped riders mount the horses, and walked the horses. We also have a volunteer monitoring the arena at all times to make sure our riders, walkers and horses are safe. Another assists with any issues that come up in the arena and helps swap out horses as needed. Hours before the gates open, volunteers bring the horses in, feed them, groom them and get them ready for the day.

And we can’t forget the horses. This is a long, probably boring, day of work for them and they all handled it very well and without any issues.

Many thanks to everyone who helped in the barn and the arena this year.

Horse Retreat – November 5-6

Ask most of our summer campers about their favorite thing at camp…and quite a few will say, “Horses!” If this sounds like your child, this overnight weekend retreat is just for you! This weekend is just like our summer horse camp, but with more time with and on the horses! We also have activities like horse apple bobbing, campfire cookouts with your horse, making horse treats, a barn party, and more. Designed for participants ages 12 to 18 who love horses, this could very well be the highlight of your fall!

Registration for this fills up fast (we limit to 12 participants), so reserve today! Click here to register.

Women’s Retreat – October 28-30

We had so much fun with this in the spring, it’s back in the fall! Unlike Mother Daughter, you can come to this all by yourself or with some other adult friends! Spend the weekend doing anything but ‘adulting’! No cooking, no stress, just fun and relaxation! The programming is designed as an adult getaway, so we do ask that all registrants are 21 and over.

Click here to register.