Updates on DuBois Center’s COVID-19 mitigation strategy

As people of faith, we know intimately the importance of following the heart of the law. We were lucky this summer to have loose masking restrictions limited to inside our main buildings and when physical distancing could not be maintained. Our summer staff were truly commendable in their efforts to encourage their campers to mask up, and as such, no COVID-19 cases were reported involving our summer programming.

Our situation as the Delta Variant of COVID-19 spreads through the country is different than it was even just two months ago. As such, we plan to not only keep enforcing our indoor mask policy, we will also encourage a mask policy in our outdoor spaces at our larger fall events where physical distance can’t be maintained, such as Fall Festival. DuBois Center cannot guarantee that we will have extra masks on site when you arrive, so please bring a mask with you when you are planning to visit.

This very small step from our community partners helps reduce the risk to our wider community and helps us stay open for events.

Reconnecting, Rebuilding Relationships, and Centering Ourselves

I am, thankfully, lucky enough to have a sister who lives close to the beach in Florida. This last weekend, after more than a year of not being able to see each other due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, my whole family was able to be together to witness my sister’s graduation, celebrate my dad’s birthday and Mother’s Day, and my and my wife’s anniversary. This was made possible, of course, by all of our measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, vaccines, and commitment to ongoing prevention methods. As my family and I sat on the beach, soaking up the sun and each other’s presence, I no longer had to dwell on the absence we have felt in the last year. It was great to be reconnected in person and be able to enjoy one of God’s most magnificent creations together.

It dawned on me that this summer will be a lot like these precious moments – a time of reconnecting, rebuilding relationships, and centering ourselves in God’s love. I hope you can find a way to be a part of what is cooking up for this summer at DuBois Center! We are still hiring a number of positions, especially counselors/activity coordinators, without whom we cannot provide the programing we desperately want to provide this summer! Please consider if there is a way you can join us, and email the office at dcinfo@duboiscenter.org for more information on volunteering and/or applying!

I hope you and your family experience God’s abundant love this week!

Hayley Elliott, Acting Director of Outdoor Ministry

Fall Programming – The Decision

Last week, with a heavy heart, we announced the postponement of our fall programming to 2021. On Monday August 17, the ISC Conference Council, with full support of the Outdoor Ministries Team, voted unanimously to postpone all in-person retreats and events sponsored by DuBois Center and/or the Illinois South Conference through the end of 2020. This includes the ISC Confirmation Retreats, Nature’s Classroom, Mother-Daughter Retreat and Wrangle & Ride.

Our first priority is the health and safety of our campers, guests and staff. As COVID-19 cases rise steadily throughout our region and a number of schools are reacting and adapting to cases among students and teachers, it is clear that to proceed would not be the cautious or sensible approach. We will continue to welcome small groups and families to camp for overnights, select activities and work projects, as long as they are willing to follow strict safety protocols related to the COVID virus.

For more information contact us at 618-787-2202 or dcinfo@DuBoisCenter.org.

Fall Festival Postponed

Again, with a heavy heart, we announce that another major DuBois Center event is postponed. As you are hopefully aware, our priority is the health and safety of our campers, guests and staff. As COVID-19 cases rise steadily throughout Washington county, our region, and across the nation, it is clear that to proceed with this event would not be the cautious or sensible approach. As we examined the amount of nearly constant disinfecting, crowd control and monitoring that would be required, it became clear that to proceed was just not feasible.

THANKS to everyone who has already invested time and energy in this event. We are looking forward to celebrating together again in 2021.

The first Fall Open House was held in 1977; that was the beginning of our annual Fall Festival. This would have been year #43 for this important friend- and fund-raising event.

Our Decision – Fallow Ground

Here in the Midwest, fallow ground is a familiar concept. It refers to land that has been plowed but not seeded for one or more growing seasons. It is a ritual that helps restore the land’s fertility.

Leaders of the Illinois South Conference and DuBois Center have spent the last month planning and preparing with great hope, while simultaneously reviewing current data to determine if we can safely serve children at camp this summer. The favorites bar on my monitor is littered with links to the Illinois (IDHP) and Missouri Departments of Public Health, John’s Hopkins University, the American Camp Association, the CDC and others.

Latest projections and models show that COVID-19 may peak as late as the end of June in southern Illinois, although no one knows for certain what the current staged lifting of restrictions might bring. Our #1 priority at DuBois Center is the health and safety of our campers, guests and staff. After long and careful deliberations, leaders of the Conference and DuBois Center have come to accept that we cannot provide our summer camping programs as planned. Try as hard as we might, we just can’t envision being able to offer a safe experience for children and youth this season.

At a regularly called meeting of the Illinois South Conference Council, after prayerful and tearful consideration, it was decided that this summer will be a season of fallow ground for DuBois Center. The vote was unanimous, though made with heavy hearts. Currently scheduled programs for June – August 9, 2020 are being postponed until summer 2021. The ground was plowed and harrowed as brochures were sent to eager families, potential staff were interviewed, and plans were set in place. But the seeds, our blessed campers and leaders, will not be sown at DuBois Center this summer.

The situation in our state and region may change, but we felt it was important to be proactive and make a decision sooner rather than later. New protocols for groups related to distancing, cleaning, safety in sleeping areas, food service, life-guarding and participation in cherished activities are being established, but they need to be in place and practiced before camp can open. This is just not possible for DuBois Center by June or even July.

We are taking some time to grieve this decision and the loss of a summer of joy at camp. During the coming weeks, a team of creative volunteers will be exploring ways that our campers and their families can stay engaged with DuBois Center. Watch for news by the end of May.

We realize that finances are tight for many right now. That was one of our primary reasons for implementing a Register without Risk policy. However, before making a decision about the fees you have already paid, I hope you will consider all the options outlined in the attached document. Yes, you may still request a refund, transfer to a DuBois Center event in the fall, or donate the fees paid to camp. In addition, you may also transfer your payment to Summer Camp 2021. There is no rush to decide, so please take your time. No actual refunds will be made until early June. We want to ensure systems are in place and avoid wasting valuable staff time.

As you may be aware, our spring and summer programs take significant effort and resources to create, much of which is expended months before the first camper or guest arrives. Some of the expenses continue regardless – insurance, basic utilities, animal care, and critical maintenance and office work. The loss of this year’s spring and summer seasons is tough on our hearts, but it is also challenging financially.

DuBois Center is resilient, but we do need your prayers and support. If you are able to make a donation at this critical time, it will go a long way to help DuBois Center withstand the loss of spring and summer revenue. Links to online giving can also be found at ISCUCC.org or DuBoisCenter.org and the mailing address for DuBois Center is included below.

In 2020, DuBois Center and the Illinois South Conference celebrate 55 years of ministry and our work has only just begun. We believe in an Easter God, a God of joy and hope and peace. We enter this summer of fallow ground giving thanks to our loving Creator who truly does make all things new again.

Sending prayers to you, your families and communities.


Shirley Asmussen AKA Kayak,  Director of Outdoor Ministries

This letter is being sent with the full support of the Illinois South Conference Council.

Dr. Jill Baker, Conference Moderator
Rev. Christy Eckert, Conference Vice-Moderator
Mr. Dwight Asselmeier, Conference Treasurer
Rev. Ivan Horn, Conference Secretary
Rev. Shana Johnson, IL South Conference Minister
Rev. Rosemary Captain
Ms. Virginia Ilch
Rev. R.J. Morgan
Rev. Mike Southcombe
Ms. Barbara VanAusdall

For a printable copy of the letter and refund options, click here.

Summer 2020 Update

Dear Friends,

Like many camps across the country, DuBois Center has been adjusting to the uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic has created.

As you know, our facilities are currently closed to the public, but critical tasks are being addressed. Our horses and cats are checked and fed regularly. The grass is being cut, fences are being mending and other essential work around the grounds is being addressed. Office and management functions also continue, but with reduced hours.

We give thanks that currently our staff and key volunteers are heathy. They are doing their best to be good stewards of DuBois Center and the ministry it provides, as they work together to find the best path forward. Please know that you and your families are at the forefront of our thoughts as we consider the options.

As you are likely aware, our Governor has canceled in-person learning for students in Illinois for the balance of this school year. He has not yet, however, spoken definitively about summer school or the summer camping season.

In order to give you, your family and your congregation time to plan, our leadership is committed to making a decision about summer programming at DuBois Center by May 5th. We will be carefully reviewing guidance from the Governor and the Illinois Department of Public Health. Whatever decision is made, know that the health and safety of our campers, guests and staff is and will remain the most important factor in our decision-making process. Remember that our Register without Risk policy continues.

A special thanks to those families, individuals and churches whose financial support has continued or been newly added. These are challenging times for all, and your commitment is greatly appreciated!

We are sending prayers for inner peace and strength from DuBois Center to you and yours.


Shirley Asmussen, Director

Event Cancellations

Father-Son Retreat, April 24-26: If you are registered for this event, contact Julie our camp registrar regarding payments at register@DuBoisCenter.org or 618-357-1809.


Spring Thank You Party, April 28: This event will be rescheduled for late summer or fall. Watch for updates.


Nature Photography Retreat, May 1-2: If you are registered for this event, contact Julie our camp registrar regarding payments at register@DuBoisCenter.org or 618-357-1809.


Block Party, May 3: This event will be back next spring!

Register Without Risk

If DuBois Center is required to cancel any camp program due to the current circumstances, you will have the ability to:
–   Donate any/all of your deposit and event fee paid to support the ministry of DuBois Center or
–   Transfer any/all of your deposit and event fee paid to a future DuBois Center camp or retreat program, or
–   Receive a refund of any/all of your deposit and event fee paid.


In addition, if the federal government, the CDC, state or local authorities, or the written advice of a physician keep you from coming to a DuBois Center camp or event due to COVID-19, the same options listed above apply to your deposit and payments. These exceptions to our normal cancellation and refund policies only apply to circumstances related to COVID-19. For other situations, standard cancellation policies still apply.

A Note from DuBois Center

Dear Friends,

As many of you already know, we have curtailed operations through Monday, April 13 in support of state declarations related to COVID-19 and our sincere desire to be part of the solution. At this time, events in March and early April have been canceled. The need to cancel future events is being monitored and updated weekly by the Executive Committee of the ISC Conference Council. As we all are becoming increasing aware, we do not know what tomorrow might bring. We are hoping and planning for a full season of summer camp. Registration is open and some sessions are nearly full. (Please see related articles on cancellations.) Summer staff can’t wait to be back outdoors with campers – laughing, singing playing and praying together. Volunteers are being recruited and planning is in full swing. If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Shirley at dcinfo@DuBoisCenter.org or 618-787-2202. Thank you for your understanding and support. Our staff and volunteers are keeping you, your families and your churches in our thoughts and prayers.

God’s peace be with you!

Shirley Asmussen and DuBois Center Staff & Volunteers

EVENT CANCELLATIONS: Star Party, Wrangle & Ride, Lenten Work Day

The Star Party on March 20, and Wrangle & Ride and the Lenten Work Day both scheduled for Saturday, April 4 have been cancelled. Please contact Julie, our camp registrar, regarding refunds for Wrangle & Ride at register@DuBoisCenter.org or 618-357-1809.

This decision was not made lightly. Leadership of the Illinois South Conference agrees that stopping the spread of Covid-19 is a priority! We have great concern for our communities and especially for those with age or health considerations. WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!