Meet Our Summer Staff: Hayley

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Welcome, Hayley Bell to our 2018 summer staff team! Hayley is from Whakamarama, New Zealand and will be serving as a Counselor/Activity Specialist. Her experience working with children and youth is varied. She has assisted in primary school classrooms, babysat children of all ages, worked as a professional birthday party planner, and served as deputy house captain at school. In this last role, she organized and implemented activities for 50-100 students aged 12-18.

One of Hayley’s references wrote, “She has a genuine care for those around her and her warm disposition puts young people at ease. Hayley has a fun sense of humor and is full of enthusiasm.”

Hayley’s interests are as varied as her experience. She thoroughly enjoys acting and drama – one of her favorite subjects in school. Design, drawing, crafts and gardening are also at the top of her list. She is a self-proclaimed water baby and loves spending time “at waterholes or at the beach.” She also enjoys just spending time with her family and friends, and her favorite foods are Maltesers and Satay Noodles.

When asked why she wanted to spend the summer at a camp in the States, she explained that, after her first year at “Uni,” she realized that she should have taken a Gap year – as is the custom for many students in the UK (United Kingdom) and beyond. She wanted to find ways to give back and serve others for a year, before returning to school. She is also excited about traveling. When asked about one thing she would really like to see or experience in the USA, Hayley wrote, “The culture and landscape differences! Oh! and a large-sized meal where they give you the GIGANTIC cups for your drink!” Hopefully, when she returns home, Hayley will have so many amazing memories and new experiences that super-sized anything will be at the bottom of her list! Welcome, Hayley!

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Meet Our Summer Staff – Laura

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Welcome Laura Renken to our 2018 summer staff team! This will be Laura’s second summer on staff; she will again be serving as a Counselor/Activity Specialist and utilizing her skills as a seasoned lifeguard.

Laura hails from Hamel, Illinois and is an active member of Salem UCC in Alhambra. She is a student at Eastern Illinois University where she is studying elementary education. At school, she is active in a Bible study group that has helped her to grow in her ability to share and discuss her faith with others. They have also, “helped me a lot with being proud of my faith and not feeling like I needed to hide my faith in order to fit in. I can be proud of who I am and who God has made me to be.”

When asked about future plans, five years from now, Laura hopes to be teaching second or third grade. Not a surprise! Working with children has long been a priority for her. Before serving on our summer staff, Laura was a regular VBS volunteer. She also completed our Counselors in Training (CIT) Program and served as a camp volunteer.

Laura is returning this summer because, “Working with the campers was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.” Her favorite place at camp is Meditation Point. She loves seeing all the stars and the lake at night in a “very humbling place” where she feels “immersed in God’s presence.” In addition to starry nights, Laura loves swimming in the summer and biking whenever it’s warm outside. She likes to doodle, knit, crochet, sing and practice her ukulele and guitar. Her favorite foods are oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, watermelon and grapes – all staples at summer camp.

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Summer Staff – Laura

Laura

Welcome Laura Renken to the 2017 summer staff team! Laura hails from Hamel, Illinois and is a member of Salem UCC in Alhambra, where she sings in the praise team choir. She has also served as a Vacation Bible School volunteer for at least the last 5 years. Laura attended summer camp at DuBois Center for a number of years. She completed our Counselors in Training (CIT) Program in 2014 and last summer volunteered as a cabin counselor.

When not at camp, Laura is student at Eastern Illinois University where she is studying elementary education. She also works at the front desk of her dorm. Her favorites include: smell – spearmint, color – sky blue, food – tacos, and she loves to sing.

Her favorite childhood memories include summers swimming at her grandparents’ and coming to camp. “I loved coming to Camp DuBois growing up, and it was always a dream of mine to work here when I got older. I always felt that this was a place of love and acceptance where I could really be myself. I wanted to have the opportunity to make Camp DuBois that place for other people as well. I am excited to make memories with everyone and to be a part of such a loving community. I am excited to get to know my campers and to play games and sing songs. I am excited that God has granted me the opportunity to work in a place that means so much to me.”

Summer Staff – Olivia

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Welcome Olivia Cruthis to DuBois Center’s 2017 summer staff team! Olivia is an avid swimmer, lifeguard and horse lover – all helpful traits when serving as a Counselor /Activity Specialist. She is from Lebanon, Illinois and is a DuBois Center veteran, attending summer camp for nine years, including our CIT – Counselor in Training program in 2014. Last summer, Olivia returned to volunteer as a camp counselor.

A student at Illinois College, she is majoring in secondary English education, with a music and theatre minor. She is also on the swimming and diving teams there. Olivia loves gymnastics, reading, artistic endeavors and Mexican food. It’s not unusual to find her singing (perhaps even screaming) and dancing to Disney tunes in her dorm room.

An active member of St. John UCC in Mascoutah, Olivia credits Rachael Berth, Minister of Youth and Christian Education, with nurturing her on her faith journey. “[She] has inspired me since she walked into my life when I was a freshman in high school; we were in the church choir together. She has helped me strengthen my relationship with God as well as help me find who I truly am.”

Olivia can’t wait to spend the summer “praising God with all the kids and staff.” She applied for the position because she loved camp so much as a kid, and as she got older, she saw the impact that the DuBois staff had on the campers and she wanted “to be a part of this amazing group of people.”