Spillway Update

Lowering the water level in the main lake at DuBois Center by 4-5 feet made us all a little nervous, but it had to be done. What if we had a dry winter? A dry spring? With the work on the new spillway, our swim area all but disappeared with the water… through the siphon pipe.

Good News! Recent rains have filled the lake! Even more good news – the new overflow pipe is doing its job and the waters are flowing! Next steps include adding more rock to the back side of the dam to prevent erosion, removing additional trees to preserve the integrity of the structure, seeding the hill, and replacing the fence. Watch for updates!

The project was made possible by generous donations to Operation Shimmer.

Spillway pipe without grate

Work Begins!

Work on the spillway at DuBois Center has begun! Last Thursday, heavy equipment rumbled into camp. To protect the existing dam, the water level needs to be about 5 feet below the current spillway pipe. This is to provide more than adequate room to dig out and replace the old pipe and spillway grate. To accomplish this, the road and dam were cut open and an 8-inch pipe temporarily installed. Using “siphon power” the pipe is drawing water out of the lake and depositing it in the creek below on the back side of the dam. The gouge in the road was temporarily refilled so that vehicles, people and horses can still cross from one side of camp to the other. There are groups at DuBois Center, riding horses and participating in other activities on the far side of lake through the end of November, so access is critical. If the weather holds and the siphon continues to do its job, actual installation of the new spillway grate and pipe could begin as early as this week or next. Watch Facebook and Instagram for updates!
THANKS to every church and individual who donated to Operation Shimmer! We reached our goal of raising $50,000 new money for this spillway project and the installation of air-conditioning in Oak Lodge just last month. Note: $10,000 had been donated previously for the Oak Lodge piece of the project, bringing the total to over $60,000.

THANKS to the Happy Quilters and St. John UCC in Mascoutah

The Happy Quilters of St. John UCC in Mascoutah have done it once again! Each year this group creates a beautiful kid-friendly quilt to celebrate and raise funds for DuBois Center. But that’s just the beginning! Teams of quilters then hit the road and visit churches throughout the conference on Sunday mornings bringing goodwill and selling quilt tickets. Ticket sales raised $1760. St. John UCC matched this amount dollar for dollar, bringing the total donation to $3520. This year, the proceeds are designated for the spillway and AC projects that comprise Operation Shimmer.

Thanks so much to the Happy Quilters (Kay, Beth, Nancy, Marion, Muriel, Treva, Dorothy, Lou Ann and Kim) for all their hard work and to all the members of St. John UCC in Mascoutah for their support. Thanks also to the following churches for hosting the traveling quilt: Christ UCC in Dupo, Grantfork UCC in Grantfork, St John UCC in Trenton, St. Paul UCC in Lebanon, St Peter’s UCC in Okawville and Zion UCC in New Baden. The quilters have been known to go to great lengths to sell tickets. In fact, this year the winning one was purchased – not at a church or the Quilt Fair – but at a family Easter meal at which one salesperson sold $60 worth of tickets. Congratulations to quilt winner Ronald Ostrom of Fairfax, Virginia!

Operation Shimmer

Have you ever marveled at the sun across the lake at DuBois Center? You’re not the only one. Whether from a canoe, pontoon, bridge or beach, you can’t help but appreciate the shimmer that comes across the lake from sunrise to sunset. In many ways, the lake is the heart of our camp. It supports camp activities, as well as wildlife and plants. Stand still and listen to the water lap, and feel the pulse of the camp.

Just as human hearts sometimes need a little extra care, our lake needs some extra care right now, with some pressing improvements. The spillway pipe has outlived its lifespan. Temporary repairs bought time, but some Muskrat Love (for those of you old enough to remember the song) has hastened the need to make a major repair before summer camp this year. This means cutting the dam, replacing the pipe, rebuilding the dirt, and resurfacing the road. The only week out of the year when this is logically feasible is Holy Week, when there are no groups in camp.

There’s one other improvement needing to happen before summer, and that’s air conditioning in Oak Lodge. Can we get an Amen? The shimmer of the lake in late July would look so much prettier if we all were shimmering a little less in the summer heat. It also will make the camp more attractive and accessible for campers and guests. Some dedicated AC funds are waiting to be used, and they will cover a portion of the cost.

So welcome to Operation Shimmer. These expenses are larger than our typical improvement, and they need to happen over the course of the next four months. Based on estimates for both projects, our goal is $60,000, with $10,000 already received. The first money in goes to repair the spillway so the work can happen in April. Air conditioning will go in second, but still before camp fills in June.  It’s a tall order in a short time, but these projects require immediate attention.

DuBois Center has tackled sudden expenses in the past with support from across the Conference. This time is no different. We need your donations, your Lenten fundraisers, your pop-up yard sales and trivia nights to meet the $60,000 goal by the end of May. These repairs just can’t wait. Help us keep our aquatic heart healthy and keep the shimmer on the lake.

Donations can be sent to the Illinois South Conference labeled Operation Shimmer, and they’ll go to this project. Thank you for your unwavering support of DuBois Center.

Click here for a flier or here for a bulletin insert.