While at Camp

summer camp activities collage

Awesome low-tech fun is the essence of camp. Some of our activities (swim time & horseback rides) are pre-scheduled to ensure that everyone gets a chance to enjoy them. On the first night of a full-week session, campers and leaders discuss and choose the rest of their adventures for the week. We offer a progression of activities based on the age group, program focus, and skill level of our campers. There are new challenges and experiences for the youngest of campers all the way to more adventurous older youth.

Camp Activities


Campers can try their hand at shooting a bullseye or play archery tic-tac-toe, after a thorough lesson on range safety led by qualified staff members. New skills can help build self-confidence! (completed grades 5+)


Bible Learning And Spirit Time is a daily hour of chaplain-led songs, crafts, games and reflections relating to the daily theme and Bible verse.

Candle Time

Many of the best conversations at camp happen as we wind down at the end of the day. Whether sitting around a small campfire with our family group or a single candle in the cabin, Candle Time is a moment for intentional and thoughtful reflection about the day and discussions about faith and life.


Campers grab PFDs (life jackets) and paddles, then gather for an interactive skills and safety orientation led by a trained instructor.  Then it’s time to explore the coves of DuBois Center’s lake with a certified lifeguard. Depending on the day, campers might enjoy just hanging out, a lively game of noodle tag, or even a “dinosaur egg” hunt. (completed grades 5+ and adult/child pairs)


Hot dogs, foil stews, pie iron pizzas, s’mores – sound delicious? Cookouts are an integral part of our group-building focus, especially for our older campers. Outlanders have the option to cook out twice!

Creek Walks

Get ready to get wet! Whether campers want to learn about stream ecology and erosion or just splash around, the creek is a great place to cool off.


Jump into the pit for this more humane version of dodgeball. Skill and luck play equal parts in this fast-paced game that anyone can win.

Group Games

Large and small groups play a variety of fun and engaging games. These activities focus on active participation as opposed to winning and losing. Elbow Tag, Scream & Run, Ninja, Everybody’s It and Captain Midnight are only a few of our favorites.

Horseback Riding

Campers attending week-long sessions have the option of riding twice during their stay; part-week campers have the option of riding once (weather permitting). The first ride includes time in the arena to get comfortable with the horses and practice basic skills. A short trail ride may also be included. The second ride is usually a longer trail ride.  Campers attending our Horse Camps spend significantly more time with the horses.

Nature Discoveries

Whether on a dedicated nature hike or just walking to breakfast, DuBois Center is a great place to explore creation – deer, owls and beautiful native wildflowers are common sights! Habitat, Bat & Moth and Hug-a-Tree are favorite games that help campers explore the natural world.

Night Hikes

Once the sun goes down and the lights go out, the world looks a lot different! Learning how our senses adapt to the darkness is just part of the adventure. It could be an evening of active games, or just quiet time soaking in the light of a starry night.

Nine Square in the Air

A mash-up between four square and volleyball that is played with a nine-square grid overhead – luck rules, and anyone can win!


Swim! Splash! Float! Play! Campers have the chance to hit the beach daily.  The sand is perfect for sandcastle building contests or a game of beach volleyball! Our waterfront, supervised by certified lifeguards during each activity, is split into shallow and deep ends to accommodate different skill levels.

Team Building

A series of engaging challenges that stress teamwork over individual achievement. Campers begin to recognize that when they think before acting, they can accomplish more together as a group. It’s simple cooperative games for younger campers, and more challenging initiatives for older campers.

Teams Course

Balancing on wires, swinging through the air, climbing and crawling – all with the integral support of cabinmates. Groups build on the cooperative skills developed during Team Building and take on greater challenges. A trained leader facilitates effective communication and teaches advanced techniques which enable groups to safely support one another on our low-ropes teams course.

Water Mat

WALK ON WATER… or at least the water mat. Our water mat is a camp favorite! Campers jump, play and dance across our floating mat – some of the most fun you’ll see on water! PFDs are required, so all campers are able to participate, regardless of swimming ability.


It’s not always fun and games.  Homesickness can be a typical reaction, especially for first-time campers and those with little experience being away from home overnight. Our staff is trained to handle these types of situations in loving and constructive ways.

You can help before your child’s camp session even begins. Please DO NOT SUGGEST to your child that he/she may call home or return home early if they are homesick. Many children never forget such a statement, and – in all honesty – it often leads to a child becoming more homesick, rather than less. It serves to keep them from fully engaging, which is key to a successful week at camp. This is one of many reasons campers are not allowed cell phones at camp.

It can be helpful to have a pre-camp conversation about homesickness, but it is important not to dwell on the subject. Encourage and support your child; let them know that you are CONFIDENT that they will do just fine. Send encouraging letters; ask about the activities and your camper’s new friends, without dwelling on how much you miss the camper. For example, avoid phrases such as, “We are SO SAD here without you.” or “Your cat misses you so much, she isn’t eating and just wanders the hallway all night.”

Campers who are able to work through a case of homesickness often develop a new sense of independence and self-confidence. We have received many calls and cards from parents thanking us for the patient nurturing that helped their child overcome this hurdle. On the other hand, we have also seen children who have left camp too soon, without having the opportunity to work through their homesickness. This can result in lower self-esteem and the camper feeling defeated.

Please know that in the case of an emergency or even significant homesickness, you will be contacted. If you have questions or concerns, please call DuBois Center at 618.787.2202.

Medical Care

We strive to provide a healthy environment and prevent the spread of contagious diseases. If, within the 24 hours prior to camp, the camper has an undiagnosed rash or open sores, a temperature at or above 101°, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, a persistent cough or cold, he/she must remain at home until healthy. An elevated temperature must be back to normal for 24 hours before a child comes or returns to camp. Transferring to another session may be a possibility.

A trained health care provider is in residence at camp and arrangements for emergency care have been made with local facilities and transportation units. The camper’s personal insurance provides primary coverage. The medical payment insurance provided by camp is an Excess (or secondary) Plan, which means any claims must first be filed through the camper’s primary insurance.

Ticks & Mosquitoes

Ticks are common in Illinois and, though rare, some may carry Lyme Disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. If your camper has unexplained symptoms such as a rash, sore throat, nausea, head or muscle aches, and you have reason to suspect a tick bite, please see your doctor. If treated early, serious issues can be avoided.

Ticks are easier to spot on light-colored clothing with solid colors or simple patterns. Bringing bug spray is recommended, but please send pump spray or lotions and not aerosols.

We ask campers not to remove their own ticks, unless they can “flick” them away. This ensures they are removed properly, the area is disinfected, and the bite is logged. We keep all “logged” ticks in our Health Center for 6-12 months, just in case they are needed for testing.

Current data on mosquito-borne West Nile virus indicates that healthy children and youth are at lower risk, and, if infected, show minor or no symptoms. If the mosquito-borne infection concerns you, send your child with non-aerosol insect repellent, and talk about its use beforehand, as well as when it might be appropriate to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. If you think the camper might be at higher risk, please indicate this on the Health Profile.

In Case of an Emergency

DuBois Center/Program 618.787.2202
Emergency Cell 618.314.6553

We check voice mail in the office on a regular basis, so if we are out, please leave a message.

Please do not ask your child to call home. Such calls often promote homesickness. In the case of an emergency or significant issue, we will contact you. If you have concerns, please contact DuBois Center.

Wrangle & Ride Early Bird Deadline is Sept. 21!


Love horses? If you are age 12 or older, join us on Saturday, Oct 12 from 9 am – 5 pm for a day of fun with the DuBois Center herd!

Designed for both beginner and intermediate riders, this is a horse-intensive day of instruction – grooming, tacking, riding and other horse-related activities. Beginners are introduced to basic skills, while riders with more experience work on refining theirs.

The cost for this event is $65 with lunch included. Adults and families are welcome. Register by the Early Bird Deadline – Saturday, Sept. 21 – and save $5 per person! Final registration deadline is Sept 28. Space is limited. Register online or click here to download a paper registration form.

Horse Camps – Ready to Ride?

Horse Camp 1
Do you love to ride horses? Want to learn more about them and how to care for these beautiful creatures? Consider coming to a Horse Camp at DuBois Center!
Horse Campers spend more time with the ponies, but still have time for other camp favorites like swimming, 9-Square, vespers and crafts. If the weather cooperates, they have the option to ride each day. Some mornings, these horse enthusiasts are up and at ’em long before breakfast to feed, groom and tack the herd. An early morning ride – in the cool of the day – is a great reward for early morning chores! Later in the day, the stalls need to be mucked out. Horse campers take turns, and have fun while learning about the responsibilities of caring for horses.
Younger campers can hop aboard the Pony Express for an introduction to horse camp. Older ones can choose from a variety of sessions.
PONY EXPRESS (completed grades 4-6)
            July 21-24
HORSIN’ AROUND (completed grades 5-7)
            June 9-14, July 14-19
SADDLE ‘EM UP (completed grades 7-9)
            June 7-12, July 14-19
WRANGLERS (completed grades 8-12)
            June 16-21
Ready to register online? Click here. For more information, pick up a camp brochure at your UCC church or check out the brochure online. Contact DuBois Center at 618-787-2202 or dcinfo@DuBoisCenter.org to have one mailed to you.
Horse Camp 2

Wrangle and Ride March 23 Registration Deadline

Wrangle & Ride
There are still a couple openings for the first Wrangle & Ride of the season on March 23, 2019. Join other horse enthusiasts (12 years to adult) for some quality time with our herd of 20 horses. Clover, Thunder and Zephyr are calling your name!
This event is limited to the first 12 who register – which means more time in the saddle for everyone! Just be sure to register by the deadline on Saturday, March 9.
Register online or by mail. For more details check out this flyer or contact DuBois Center at 618-787-2202 or dcinfo@DuBoisCenter.org.

Wrangle and Ride Registration Now Open

Wrangle & Ride
Spring is a great time to explore DuBois Center from horseback! Join our equestrian team on Saturday, March 23 and/or April 13 from 9am – 5pm for a full day of fun with the DuBois Center herd. Designed for both beginner and more experienced riders, these are horse-intensive days of grooming, tacking, riding, instruction and other horse-related activities. Beginners will be introduced to basic skills, while more experienced riders work on advanced options. Minimum age is 12. The cost is $65 per day with lunch included.
Online registration is now open, or complete and mail this form. Questions? Check out this flyer or contact DuBois Center at dcinfo@duboiscenter.org or 618-787-2202.

Wrangle & Ride – Now Two Dates in Spring!

Wrangle & Ride

Spring is a great time to explore DuBois Center from horseback! Join our equestrian team on Saturday, March 23 AND/OR April 13 from 9 am – 5 pm for a full day of fun with the DuBois Center herd.

Designed for both beginner and more experienced riders, these are horse-intensive days of grooming, tacking, riding, instruction and other horse-related activities. Beginners will be introduced to basic skills, while experienced riders work on more advanced options.

The minimum age to participate is 12 years old and the cost is $65 per person, per day with lunch included.

Online registration is now open, or you may complete and mail this form. Hurry! These days often fill up fast.

Questions? Contact DuBois Center 618-787-2202 or email.

Fuzzy Ponies!

fuzzy ponies

A question we get asked a lot at DuBois Center is, “What do you do with the horses in the winter?” The answer varies depending on the severity of the weather. Horses possess many adaptations to help them stay comfortable in even the most extreme conditions.

For instance, you might notice that our herd is fuzzier in the winter. Their thicker coats help insulate them from the cold, as well as retaining oil that repels moisture. Internally, their metabolism heats the horses from the inside out. As long as a horse has an adequate supply of hay and grain (which we provide) to fuel this “furnace,” it will not suffer from lower temperatures. Short bouts of physical exertion, such as bucking and running as well as shivering, also help to heat up muscles and stabilize internal temperatures.

During extreme conditions, like during the recent polar vortex, our horses come into the barn daily for an extra feeding. The barn is adapted as a wind shelter and left open on one end, allowing the horses to meander in and out at their leisure. In addition, there is a heated waterer outside the barn, providing the horses (and barn cats) with constant access to fresh water.

So, when the temperatures drop and wind speeds pick up, have no fear – a combination of horse anatomy and proactive care ensure the health of our herd.

Wrangle & Ride – Spring 2019

Horse 2

Join our equestrian team on Saturday, April 13, 2019 from 9 am – 5 pm for a full day of fun with the DuBois Center herd! Designed for both beginner and more experienced riders, this is a horse-intensive day of grooming, tacking, riding, instruction and other horse-related activities. Beginners will be introduced to basic skills, while experienced riders work on more advanced options. The cost for this event is $65 with lunch included. Online registration begins February 1. Questions? Contact DuBois Center at dcinfo@DuBoisCenter.orgor 618-787-2202.

Save the Date! Father-Son Retreat 2019

Father Son Retreat
Fathers, grandfathers and uncles – SAVE THE DATE for March 29 – 31, 2019! Plan now to bring your sons, grandsons, nephews or another significant young man in your life to DuBois Center for a weekend of quality guy time at our Father-Son Retreat!
Fish, hike, canoe and just hang out together. Make cool crafts, share in vespers and work on your archery skills. Hit the trails on horseback and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature (horseback riding available for an additional fee).
Lodging is in heated cottages and Hickory Lodge. All ages are welcome, though activities are geared for boys age 5 and older. Families participate together. Rev. RJ Morgan will be returning as our chaplain for the weekend.
Registration opens February 1. Watch for details for details coming soon! Questions? Contact us at dcinfo@DuBoisCenter.org or 618-787-2202.

Save the Date – Wrangle & Ride Fall 2018


Do you love horses? Do you want to spend an entire day riding and learning all about them? This fall, we are hosting another group ride day at DuBois Center – Wrangle & Ride!

More details will be available soon, but save the date for Saturday, November 3! The event will start at 9 a.m. and will wrap up at 5 p.m. We hope to see you cowboys and cowgirls there!